Blended online course
MSc Financial Crime and Compliance in Digital Societies (top-up)
- Qualification: MSc
- Duration: 12 months, part-time
- Delivery: Online with 3 practical masterclasses (in-person or online)
- Workload: Approx 20 hours per week
- Next enrolment: February 2022
- Fees: £10,000 (UK/EU/International)
Gain the digital edge in financial crime compliance
As digital technologies and systems advance, so do the nature and organisation of financial crime and compliance risks for business. In the face of increasingly sophisticated financial crime concerns, such as illicit finance, corruption and fraud within digital societies and economies, it is crucial to be equipped with the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to understand and respond to these challenges.
We created our top-up MSc in Financial Crime and Compliance in Digital Societies with these issues firmly at the forefront. Our part-time, flexible, blended master’s was developed with the ICA, ensuring that you build on your expertise with the latest global standards to combat evolving digital threats.
Learn leading and up-to-date knowledge
Benefit from ICA's compliance expertise and the University's Department of Criminology reputation at the forefront of financial crime and fraud research.
Transform your business operations
Enhance your knowledge and turn science into practice to drive corporate strategy, policy and processes.
Build a global network
Meet your international peers, academics and ICA subject experts at our three-day practical masterclasses.
Developed in association with the International Compliance Association (ICA)
Benefits of our collaborative approach
- Be enriched by the joint expertise of our Department of Criminology’s leading financial crime research and ICA’s externally-verified qualifications, globally recognised as benchmarks of excellence within the industry.
- Study academic themes underpinned by real-world developments, empowering you to develop an understanding of contemporary, international frameworks and strategies.
- Boost your career by drawing on the latest specialist knowledge to sharpen your tools and open new opportunities professionally.
This course is currently pending approval and is subject to change. If you wish to be notified about any potential changes, please complete our contact us form.
A mix of online content with three-day practical masterclasses three times a year.
The practical masterclasses have been designed to enrich your study experience, deepen your applied knowledge and support the networking element. Held in week four of each unit, these three-day events will give you the unique chance to engage in workshops and network with peers, academics and ICA experts. The masterclasses will take place in Manchester, UK but will be streamed or recorded for those unable to attend.
MSc (top-up): 12 months, part-time.
February. The next intake starts in February 2022.
How to apply
For more information on how to apply and what documents to submit with your application, please visit our application and selection section.
Approx 20 hours per week.
Dr Nicholas Lord, Professor of Criminology, Criminology Research Director.
Fees and funding
The February 2022 academic year tuition fee is £10,000 (UK/EU/International).
We offer payment by instalments, so you can spread the cost of studying with us. Learn more about paying in instalments .
The advertised fee covers your tuition. It does not cover your accommodation, travel costs or any other expenses that you may incur when attending face-to-face conferences/workshops/masterclasses/field trips.
If you have successfully completed the
- ICA Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Crime Compliance , or
- ICA Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance , you can apply for this course.
Contact us today
Who this course is for
This MSc is designed for professionals with senior management functions in business with strategic and decision-making responsibilities for financial crime and compliance risks. This is an executive top-up course, so you’ll need an ICA Postgraduate Diploma in Governance Risk and Compliance or Financial Crime Compliance, and ideally have at least 10 years’ of experience in practice.
In this course, you’ll benefit from The University of Manchester Department of Criminology’s leading academic work around financial crime and fraud. Delivered flexibly online, you can seamlessly integrate your learning into your life and work schedule. With three practical masterclasses per year, you’ll have the opportunity to make professional connections and get involved in interactive workshops with ICA SMEs to deliver governance and compliance best practice.
Through this course, we’ll equip you with the knowledge, expertise and skills needed to refine your own professional and scientific development. By translating ‘science into practice’, you will directly contribute to the enhancement of your business organisation, informing corporate strategies, policies and decisions in relation to governance, compliance and financial crime risks.
This course is also a stepping stone for those considering to study for a PhD.
What you will learn
Develop a theoretical and conceptual toolkit for determining the most plausible explanations for risk, threats and transgressions inside and outside your business.
- Recognise the complexity and multiplex nature of the business world within which regulatory and governance problems, and financial crime risks occur.
- Gain knowledge of how to interact with regulators and enforcement authorities, including information sharing and self-reporting of internal failures.
- Acquire advanced level knowledge on business risks and opportunities related to digital trust and digital security.
- Obtain expertise on the range and nature of insider and outsider financial crime risks in relation to people, technologies, data and information, and be able to develop strategies for mitigation and development for specific cyber-security incidents.
How it will benefit your career
- Inform strategy creation and operational policies to make your organisation more efficient, robust and compliant, and in turn protect customers, investors and reputations more broadly.
- Recognise business vulnerabilities that emerge in relation to workplace and individual data security as new technologies are integrated into strategic decision-making and policy creation.
- Develop advanced skills for formulating original research questions and designing research projects that can feed into your strategic decision-making.
- Build on your confidence to interact with co-employees, advocacy organisations, governmental bodies, with regard to the foundations of your approaches and proposals to prevention, intervention and reduction in the sphere of financial crime and compliance risks.
Where and when you will study
You will study online and have the chance to attend three in-person practical masterclasses in Manchester, UK, lasting three days each. The masterclasses and workshops will be streamed or recorded for those unable to attend.
Online learning materials will consist of a mixture of video and audio files alongside written text and instructions accompanied by interactive engagement activities and tasks.
Enjoy the freedom to study flexibly and at your own pace. There are three units that last 10 weeks each and 20 weeks for the dissertation.
Unit 1 - Compliance and Financial Crime Risk – Analysis and Explanation (20 credits)
Learn about theories of compliance and regulation that can be applied to understand risks (what, why and how), victimisation (patterns and trends), and enforcement and governance (risk assessment vs. crime control vs. regulation vs. social justice).
The unit will provide you with a multi-layered, multi-level theoretical toolkit that can be used to understand:
- individual motivations and propensities for engaging in risky practices,
- how company cultures, structures and policies can inadvertently provide the opportunity, means, setting and rationale for problematic behaviour,
- how wider political-economic environments feed into individual decisions to engage in behaviours bad for business.
You will learn how to critically assess which theoretical perspectives provide the most plausible explanations for different risks within the business, both old and emerging. This high-level theoretical framing will provide you with the knowledge that can be integrated into business policy and practice with a view to reducing, preventing and responding to internal and external threats.
Unit 2 - Digital Technologies, Financial Crimes and Compliance (20 credits)
This unit provides advanced insights into issues that arise in business in relation to digital trust, digital security and digital vulnerabilities, with a particular focus on financial crime and compliance risks.
Gain research-led insights into digital vulnerabilities such as processes of misinformation and disinformation in an era of ‘fake news’ and the implications of this for business, the need to ensure workplace cyber/data-security with a view to protecting customer, client and other business sensitive data from breaches, as well as individual security of employees and the potential vulnerabilities that arise at the intersection of human and technical interdependencies, and new and emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies, FinTech and distributed ledger technologies that generate specific governance, compliance and financial crime risks and solutions. The unit also includes specific focus on cyber-enabled, dependent and/or assisted financial crime risks, such as money laundering, illicit finance, corruption, and more.
Unit 3 - Data, Evidence and Intelligence on Financial Crime and Compliance (20 credits)
Learn about the processes and approaches that underpin the production of evidence and intelligence on financial crime and compliance. Learn how to evaluate the reliability and robustness of financial crime and compliance data, and how these data can be used for informing your company policies and strategies.
In addition, the unit teaches you methods for evaluating whether policies on financial crime and compliance actually ‘work’ in practice, what the impacts of any given policy are, and how they can ascertain whether such insights are robust and reliable (i.e., evidence-based policies vs. policy-based evidence). Your organisations will benefit from having senior managers with knowledge and expertise to ensure company policies and strategies are problem-oriented, evidence-based and evaluated over time to ensure optimum efficiency and impact.
Those with senior management functions will benefit from learning how to ‘make sense’ of social scientific data and evidence, and to be critical in how you scrutinise research findings before evaluating whether you can form the basis of business strategies or feed into their decision-making responsibilities. In these terms, you will learn about the process of undertaking systematic and rigorous research that will enable you to design and direct the creation of evidence and intelligence for your business, as well as to interpret and assess the research findings of academics, NGOs and other social research outputs that may be of use to your business strategies and policies. This unit enables you to bridge the gap between practice and science, providing you with the concepts, knowledge and ideas for interacting with statistics and research findings in the area of governance, compliance and financial crime. In addition, you will systematically acquire and understand a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice.
The unit will provide the foundation for undertaking or understanding original empirical research (using quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies) that can form the basis of the (group) dissertation or for undertaking future independent research projects within your organisation. Such knowledge might also be useful for those looking to undertake a more advanced research degree (e.g., PhD).
Project (60 credits)
The MSc Financial Crime and Compliance in Digital Societies course has a mandatory dissertation component made up of three optional pathways. You can indicate which dissertation option you’d like to select during your Unit 3 studies.
Option A - Long Dissertation:
If you would like to take a more traditional route, you can choose to conduct original empirical research and submit a 12,000 – 15,000-word long dissertation.
You can use the research proposal that you develop in Unit 3 for the dissertation. When working on your dissertation, you will benefit from one-to-one supervision from an appropriate academic. This option requires approval from the Programme Director.
Option B - Short Dissertation:
You can also choose to submit a 6,000 – 8,000-word short dissertation. This option is similar to an extended essay and does not require any original empirical research. In this short dissertation, you can explore a particular issue in detail through a literature review and present your findings.
In addition, to the short dissertation, if you choose option B, you must also complete 3 x 10-credit units on:
- Critical Appraisal of the Literature
- Communicating Your Research; and
- Reflective Practice
All these units which will be available from your Virtual Learning Platform once you enrol. These shorter units supplement the short dissertation and take place over 4 weeks.
Option C - Group Dissertation:
If you do not wish to complete either type of dissertation on your own, you can choose a Group Dissertation. In this option, you will collaborate to develop a joint project in a group of three to five students, utilising shared data. You’ll work together, pooling your expertise to create alternative content such as an individual research report (ca. 3,000 words), a group/team report including evidence of contribution (ca. 5,000 words), an end of dissertation presentation (20 mins, equated to 3,000 words), and a personal reflection on the process (ca. 2,000 words). The total word limit of the combined elements of the Group Dissertation will equate to the contribution of those taking the individual dissertations (12,000-15,000).
This part-time, blended, top-up course is specifically designed for working professionals in the financial crime, governance and compliance fields keen to complete a practical course that will aid career development.
The flexibility of this course allows you to gain valuable insight into the real-world applications of your learning as you continue to work.
You take the units in a predetermined order at your own pace, tailoring the course to your interests and commitments. You can only complete one unit (10 weeks each and 20 weeks for the dissertation) at a time.
You will study the course material entirely online whilst benefiting from professional and academic support, plus the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with your international peers. There are also three practical masterclasses held each year in Manchester, UK to reinforce the topics covered and further support your development. These sessions will be streamed for those unable to attend in person.
You will enjoy a richer experience by seamlessly integrating work with study, and gain the unique opportunity to enhance your organisation with the latest best practice.
By the end of the programme, you will achieve the following learning outcomes:
- acquire a theoretical and conceptual tool-kit for determining the most plausible explanations for financial crime risks, threats and transgressions inside and outside your business,
- recognise the complexity and multiplex nature of the business world within which regulatory and governance problems, and financial crime risks occur,
- build on your professional knowledge and experience with theory and concepts to make sense of workplace deviance and inform strategy creation and operational policies to make your organisation more efficient, robust and compliant, and in turn protect customers, investors and reputations more broadly,
- gain knowledge of how to interact with regulators and enforcement authorities, including information sharing and self-reporting of internal failures,
- acquire advanced level knowledge on business risks and opportunities related to digital trust and digital securityrecognise business vulnerabilities that emerge in relation to workplace and individual data security as new technologies are integrated into strategic decision-making and policy creation,
- obtain expertise on the range and nature of insider and outsider financial crime risks in relation to people, technologies, data and information, and be able to develop strategies for mitigation and development for specific cyber-security incidentsacquire the vocabulary to interact with professionals and experts from the digital world, including computer and data scientists, programmers, and other technologists,
- enhance knowledge on producing evidence-based research on governance, compliance and financial crime risks within your business,
- develop advanced skills for formulating original research questions and designing research projects that can feed into your strategic decision-making,
- acquire systematic approaches for critically engaging with high level methodologies to enable you to evaluate data and findings from social research, policy and practice,
- have the confidence to interact with co-employees, advocacy organisations, governmental organisations, and so on, with regards to the foundations of your approaches and proposals to prevention, intervention and reduction in the sphere of financial crime and compliance risks.
This is a blended learning course with three practical masterclasses per year. The taught units are delivered via a virtual learning environment (VLE) where you can access all course materials, online reading lists, podcasts, and the University's extensive online library. You will receive an induction to the virtual learning environment at the start of your course.
The course material is highly engaging and includes video content, audio files and textual materials. You can also use the virtual learning environment to discuss issues raised in the course materials with your course tutor and fellow students. Throughout your studies, you will receive consistent support from a dedicated Student Support Advisor and the Manchester Academic Team.
Each course unit complements others, reinforcing key ideas and issues whilst introducing new materials. The teaching material is designed with working professionals in mind and will enable you to complete the programme part-time alongside your employment. You will be able to work at your own pace as you engage with the unit content.
The three practical masterclasses will take place in week four of each unit and will offer interactive, practical, case study based workshop activities. The sessions will also involve unique masterclasses from the ICA subject matter experts on related and topical issues. Attendance in-person is highly recommended but if you are unable to join us in Manchester, UK you can join the workshops and masterclasses online.
The assessments involve a mixture of written coursework (e.g., short essays or reflective contributions), recorded presentations (e.g., using PowerPoint), and online tasks (i.e., quizzes, short reflections and analyses on the content of the weekly session).
Feedback on formative and summative assessments will be provided in written form via Blackboard with optional one-to-one meetings with the teaching staff.
The project is extremely flexible, allowing you to choose between three 60-credit dissertation options. You can indicate which dissertation option you'd like to select during your Unit 3 studies.
- Option A - long dissertation (12,000-15,000-word independent thesis),
- Option B - short dissertation (6,000-8,000-word thesis alongside three 10-credit short modules on research and practice, available via the online learning environment), or
- Option C - group dissertation (submission of alternative content based on group data including an individual research report (ca. 3,000 words), a group/team report including evidence of contribution (ca. 5,000 words), an end of dissertation presentation (20 mins, equated to 3,000 words), and a personal reflection on the process (ca. 2,000 words)).
You will be allocated supervisors for your dissertation projects and will have an opportunity to have at least two one-to-one meetings.
From your initial expression of interest right through to graduation, you’ll receive all the support you need. We can support you with enrolment and subject assistance, administrative logistics and fee options, online learning skills, workload management and special circumstances.
Academic entry qualification overview
If you have successfully completed the ICA Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Crime Compliance or ICA Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance , you can apply for this course.
Please note: the maximum number of credits we can transfer from your ICA qualification is 60.
If you have a degree/qualification that was taught and assessed in English by an education provider, you may be exempt from submitting further evidence of English language proficiency.
English language test validity
How to apply
Please select MSc Financial Crime and Compliance in Digital Societies Online Learning - February intake from the dropdown list.
Advice to applicants
To speed up the application process, please submit the following documents with your online application form:
1. Copies of official degree certificates and transcripts of your previous study, showing the subjects taken and grades obtained. If these documents are in languages other than English, please provide official translations in addition to your official certificates and transcripts.
2. At least one reference, academic or professional, on official headed paper or stamped by the referee.
If you need any support with your application, please contact us at email@example.com .
Policy on additional costs
All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).
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