Skip to main content

Master's in International Shipping and Finance

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Duration 2 semesters
Entry level Bachelor
Cost £17,100 UK/EU, £24,500 international

At a glance

  • Experience a unique practice-centred learning approach including specialised Masterclasses, distinguished guest speakers, bespoke simulations and company visits
  • Gain access to work-placement and networking opportunities and benefit from our partnership with leading shipping recruitment specialists Spinnaker Global
  • Be granted professional exam exemptions from the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) and membership to the Baltic Exchange.
  • Gain international experience through a field trip to Greece, a country with a long-standing tradition in shipping and the largest merchant fleet in the world.
  • Receive a Dual Degree Award, with two full time MSc degrees in International Shipping and Finance from both the ICMA Centre and ALBA Graduate Business School, ranked in the top 100 Global Business Schools.

In today’s globalised world, maritime transport has become instrumental to international trade and the global economy – more than 85% of total merchandise trade volume is transported by the international shipping industry. Given the continuous expansion in the global economy and international trade flows, the wider transportation sector offers exciting and rewarding career opportunities.

MSc ISF is developed alongside senior industry professionals and is designed to equip participants with the skills and expertise sought after by major employers operating within key segments of the sector. A number of features differentiate this programme from other shipping oriented postgraduate Masters, aiming to offer participants a distinctive competitive edge. In the centre of it all is its hands-on, practice centred approach. You will benefit from bespoke simulations, specialist masterclasses, networking opportunities, distinguished industry guest speakers and visits to leading companies and ports. Thanks to our links with renowned companies in the shipping industry, you will gain access to work placement opportunities. A comprehensive careers development programme, which includes the support of the world leading shipping recruitment consultancy Spinnaker Global, is also an integral part of the programme. The focus of the programme on the participants’ career goals and aspirations has resulted in more than 90% of the programme’s graduates securing job offers within 6 months of graduation.

During the Master’s programme, you will specialise in International commodity trade and transport, shipping market economics and business, shipping strategy, shipping finance and investments, chartering and ship-broking, shipping-related risk management strategies and quantitative techniques, maritime logistics systems as well as legal aspects in shipping. You will also gain exposure to securities trading, investment strategies, valuation and corporate transactions. Increasingly the programme has turned its focus to issues that are central to the future of the maritime transportation sector, including shifts in strategic management and corporate governance, new financing sources, the regulatory environment, automation and consolidation.

Students on the MSc ISF programme also benefit from our partnership with Spinnaker Global as well as memberships of Maritime London and the Baltic Exchange .

Follow our International Shipping & Finance Facebook page for programme as well as shipping industry and education related news.

Structural components
Ship training
Practical/Field work

Application procedure

Apply online via the online application form of the University of Reading. This allows you to complete your application information, attach electronic copies of your academic transcripts, certificates and other supporting information and also provides a facility for an email request to be sent to your referees enabling them to send your supporting references (2 references required) directly to the University. There is a £30 application fee.

Grant opportunities

Loans of up to £10,000 are available to eligible students studying for postgraduate Master's courses from the 2019-2020 Academic year. To be eligible, students will need to be English domiciled. EU students, and individuals falling within certain specified categories, may also be eligible.

Full details of the loan, including how to apply, are due to be published this year. Read more at Introduction of loans for postgraduate students and Government response to the Consultation on Support for Postgraduate Study.

Learning outcomes

Careers in International Shipping and Finance

How can Henley Careers work with you?

Here at Henley we have an award-winning careers team here to support you through your time here and four years after graduating from us.

Here is how Henley Careers can help you:

  • Careers Consultant appointments - Our Careers Consultant are here to help and support you with any careers related concern that you might have. Whether it’s advice on your CV, practicing for an interview, looking at possible reasons why applications aren't being successful or support planning your career goals, we’re here to help empower you to progress in your career.
  • Events - Henley Careers organise numerous events aimed to help you build your confidence, develop the skills employers are looking for, network with employers and expand your industry knowledge.
  • Alumni support - You can continue to book one-to-one appointments with your Careers Consultant and use our online resources for up to four years after you graduate to get help and support in your career.
  • Career Smart - Get a head start in securing a graduate job by taking part in our online course, Career Smart. You can expect to learn about the graduate recruitment cycle in the UK, where to look and how to start applying to jobs, and the different types of roles available to you.

For more information please see our Careers page.

Continuing your career

On average, more than 90% of the programme’s graduates are in work or further education 6 months after graduation. Graduates take up salaried and internship opportunities across a range of employers, including: ship-owning and transportation companies, ship-broking firms, commodity, industrial and retail groups, shipping consulting and analysis companies, port operators, shipping divisions of investment banks, finance arrangers, leasing companies and shipping-related investment funds. The wide curriculum of the programme will also enable you to consider careers in the global investment banking and securities markets.

Our dedicated Career Development Unit will offer you a full range of career advisory and professional development services. From our Masters in International Shipping and Finance programme, you will also benefit from our partnership with Spinnaker Global, the leading shipping recruitment consultancy. Work placement opportunities with leading companies in the shipping industry are made available to outstanding graduates.

Some of our recent graduates have taken up full-time or internship opportunities at:

  • Allied Chartering
  • Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Braemar AMC
  • Clarksons Platou (LSE: CKN.L)
  • Credit Agricole (ACA: EN Paris)
  • Danaos Corporation
  • Danske Bank (DANSKE: DC)
  • Dynacom Tankers
  • Diana Shipping (DSX: NYSE)
  • Eastern Pacific
  • EDF Trading
  • Galbraiths
  • Golden Union Shipping
  • Gulf Marine Services (GMS: Lon)
  • Hav Chartering
  • Höegh Autoliners
  • Howe Robinson Partners
  • IHS Markit
  • Intermarine
  • Lomar Shipping
  • Lorentzen & Stemoco
  • Maersk Group
  • Marine Capital
  • McQuilling Partners
  • Navig8 Group
  • Navios Maritime Holdings (NYSE: NM)
  • Paragon Shipping (NYSE: PRGN)
  • PwC
  • Sinograin Oils Corporation
  • S&P Global Platts
  • Shih Wei Navigation (TW: 5608)
  • Thenamaris
  • Trafigura
  • Top Ships Inc (NASAQ:TOPS)
  • UK Chamber of Shipping
  • V-Group
  • Wisdom Marine Group


Internship opportunities with leading companies in the shipping, transport, and finance sectors are available to outstanding MSc ISF graduates. A number of companies have joined our work placement scheme and offer work experience placements to some of our excellent graduates (subject to successful interviews and work permits where applicable). Full-time opportunities are also made available to our students on an ad-hoc basis.


Career Advisory Partnership

Along with a full range of career advisory and professional development services available to our students from our dedicated Henley Careers team, students will also benefit from our partnership with Spinnaker Global, the leading shipping recruitment consultancy. As part of our collaboration Spinnaker provides career advice and support to our students and promotes their profiles internationally for internship and full-time opportunities.

Find out more about graduate destinations and career opportunities on our Henley Careers page


Professional Accreditation

Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS)

ICMA Centre’s MSc International Shipping and Finance course is accredited by ICS, and graduates are eligible for exemption from three ICS Professional Qualification modules:

  • Introduction to Shipping
  • Economics of Sea Transport and International Trade
  • Shipping Finance

Successful MSc ISF graduates have to take only 4 out of the 7 ICS exams to qualify for the ICS membership.


  • Undergraduate Degree – Minimum 2:1 or the equivalent from an overseas institution
  • Degree Discipline – Any discipline – no quantitative requirement
  • GMAT – No requirement

* Please note that due to increasing competition for places on our Masters programmes our entry requirements may change.

We operate a rolling admissions system and you are therefore advised to apply early in order to be sure of your place on our programmes. We experience high levels of demand, and it is possible we might have to close applications to some programmes once places are filled.

English requirements

If English is not your first language, you may be required to take the IELTS (British Council International English Language Test).

Following a review, and in response to English language testing disruption caused by Covid-19 in a number of countries, we have made some changes to our English language criteria for September 2020 entry for Henley Business School master’s applicants. For master's programmes that previously required an IELTS score of 7.0 overall, with scores of no less than 6.0 in each of the four sub-skills (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening), we have with immediate effect, set a revised requirement of 6.5 overall with scores of no less than 6.0 in each of the four sub-skills.

To confirm, for 2020 entry, Henley Business School requires a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (with no element below 6.0). Our International Study and Language Institute (ISLI) offers a comprehensive range of Pre-sessional English (PSE) courses. We encourage all students who have not lived or studied in an English-speaking country before to register for one. Students completing the above mentioned pre-sessional courses would be allowed entry onto their chosen programme after achieving an overall score of 6.5 with scores of no less than 5.5 in each of the four sub-skills.

This is a change to the previous half-band discount, which will not apply for 2020 entry.

Equivalent English Language Qualifications will also be accepted. If you require specific advice on your qualification please contact our admissions office directly either by e-mail at or by telephone on +44 118 378 5289.

Tier 4 visa pilot scheme

Find out more about the tier 4 visa pilot scheme on the University of Reading website.

ISCED Categories

Maritime economy
Policy and governance
Logistics and shipping management