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Applied Alternative Investments

Who is this programme for?

The Professional Diploma in Applied Alternative Investments provides an opportunity for professionals working in international financial services to develop their expertise in the growing alternative assets market.

Increasingly, alternative assets which includes hedge funds, commodities, private equity, structured products and real asset investments such as infrastructure investments are becoming mainstream investments which are predicted to grow.

The international investment fund industry faces the challenge of upskilling to meet this wave of new investment structures. Given the breadth of alternative assets the programme will appeal to professionals working in international financial services who want to develop expertise in alternative investments. It is critical for long term success that those who work in the industry understand how the move to alternatives demands a broader understanding of the investment landscape and the choice of asset type available to investors.

How you will benefit

The overall aim of the programme is to develop your technical knowledge and skills in alternative investments. It will:

•Advance your knowledge and understanding of valuation issues relevant to alternative investments and alternative investment funds.

•Progress your understanding of long-term trends in the demand for alternative investments.

•Deepen your knowledge and expertise in the range of alternative investment strategies.

•Introduce the relevance and importance of alternative investments to various types of investors.

•Develop your knowledge of legal and regulatory issues affecting alternative investment funds.

Analyse regulatory legislation relevant to the establishment, supervision + termination of an investment fund.

•Examine the investment selection process for building an alternative investment portfolio

•Evaluate the impact of different economic/general macro conditions on potential alternative investments.

•Assess the key drivers of asset movements of their impact on fund valuation.

•Examine the key economic variables feeding into market behaviour and in turn driving fund performance.

•Critically evaluate the low term risks associated with different alternative asset classes & the impact on investment decision making at fund level.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirements for the programme are:

a) An honours degree (second class honours grade 2 award or higher) in business or a related discipline etc. and have at least one year's experience in the funds industry


b) Admission may also be considered for experienced professionals who do not meet the admission requirements as set out in a) where they can demonstrate learning through work and training which makes them a suitable candidate for the programme (i.e. they will have significant experience in a senior funds role with responsibility for decision-making).

Professional Body Membership

You must be a current member of The Institute of Banking, or become a member, to register for this programme. Membership is currently €40 per calendar year.

Continuous Professional Development

If you hold an Institute designation or a designation managed by the Institute CPD hours may be awarded on successful completion of this programme.



Delivery is over two trimesters. One module in trimester 1 (October - December) and two modules in trimester 2 (February - May).

Lectures are delivered on a part-time basis, taking place on either one evening per week or on Saturdays.

Further enquiries

Edel Hayden- Programme Manager

Subjects taught

Modules and learning outcomes

01 Investment Valuation and Risk (NFQ level 9, 10 ECTS)

The module introduces the principles underpinning asset valuation and risk analysis to provide a foundation for exploring fund valuation drivers relevant to alternative investment funds. It presents a range of alternative investments available to investors and explains their drivers of market performance. It also explores the key economic variables impacting returns in conjunction with performance evaluation methodologies relevant to alternative investment funds. The module concludes with an analysis of the empirical evidence identifying trends for alternative investments and the structural drivers of the predicted increase in long-term demand.

02 Applied Alternative Investment Strategies (NFQ level 9, 10 ECTS)

This module builds upon investment valuation and risk to develop a deeper understanding of available alternative investments including private equity, hedge funds and managed funds, commodities, real assets and structured products. Next, it considers key issues in relation to asset allocation and portfolio management and develops an understanding of alternative fund management and issues of illiquidity risk which has important implications for endowment and foundation portfolios and pension fund portfolio management. This module concludes with an analysis of risk management, manager selection and due diligence.

03 Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Alternative Investments (NFQ level 9, 5 ECTS)

This module introduces the rationale and structure of regulatory regimes for investment funds domiciled and operation in Ireland, examining the basis for regulation and the institutions responsible for regulation at domestic and EU levels. It develops students' ability to critically analyse a piece of regulatory legislation and identify the legal and regulatory obligations imposed by the regulation. It will also examine the preparation of a memorandum in relation to a new piece of regulation, highlighting the obligations it imposes and the competencies necessary to discharge those obligations and the tools available to the regulator to enforce such regulation.



When you successfully complete the three modules of this programme, you will be awarded the Professional Diploma in Applied Alternative Investments from UCD (at postgraduate level 9).

Assessment method

Assessment is a combination of continuous assessment and written exams.

The pass mark is 40% in all modules in line with UCD academic policy.

Course fee


Investment Valuation and Risk;

•IFS Skillnet member: €950*

•Non-member: €1,300

Applied Alternative Investment Strategies;
•IFS Skillnet member: €950*
•Non-member: €1,300

Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Alternative Investments;
•IFS Skillnet member: €475*
•Non-member: €650

Fees will be reviewed annually.

*IFS Skillnet funding is available for the Professional Diploma in Applied Alternative Investments. IFS Skillnet is part of the Finuas Skillnet Programme. Its objective is to support Ireland's position as a leading international financial services centre through investment in the development of the skills and expertise of its work force.

2019 modules are eligible for IFS Skillnet funding for a limited number of places on a first come first served basis.

** The availability of funding for modules in future trimesters will be confirmed in advance of their commencement.

Tax relief may be available to candidates who are paying fees in a personal capacity. Further information is available from

Enrolment and start dates

Please contact the course provider for the next enrolment and start date.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!