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CFA Institute Program

09 December 2023

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) institute aims to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence. The CFA designation is the most respected and recognised investment management credential in the world. Learn more about our CFA Institute Program.


UC team ranking second in the CFA research challenge in 2015. Back from left: Alice Lee, Beini Echo Guo (Murray & Co), Robyn Nuttall. Front from left: Sung Park (Christchurch City Council), Dr Huong Dieu Dang, CFA, Dylan Beardsley (Brycharl Corporation)


The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute aims to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence. The CFA designation is the most respected and recognised investment management credential in the world.

About the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program

The University of Canterbury (UC)’s Bachelor of Commerce major in Finance and Master of Business major in Financial Management have been acknowledged as incorporating at least 70 percent of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) and as placing emphasis on the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice within the programme.  These programmes position students to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, which has become the most respected and recognised investment credential in the world.

The BCom, majoring in Finance, and MBus majoring in Financial Management, provide students with a strong foundation in corporate finance, financial markets and institutions, and investment analysis. These programmes cover a wide variety of challenging topics included in the CFA Exam Level I, Level II and Level III curricula. Students are well prepared and encouraged to sit for the CFA exam Level I by the time they graduate from UC.  Since 2011, most UC-sponsored students passed the CFA Exam Level I on the first try.

Entry into the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program signals to potential students, employers, and the marketplace that the University of Canterbury curriculum is closely tied to professional practice and is well-suited to preparing students to sit for the CFA examinations. Through participation in this programme, the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Canterbury is eligible to award a limited number of scholarships to UC students to take the CFA exams each year. A call for scholarship applications to take the CFA exam Level I will be circulated on Learn. Students will need to prepare for the exam before applying for a scholarship and before a decision can be made. For further information about the CFA exams, please visit the website.

Mapping guide for CFA Exam Level 1 topics

The following mapping guide includes the CFA Exam Level I topics covered within the Bachelor of Commerce major in Finance program.

  1. Time Value of Money: FINC201
  2. Probability: STAT101
  3. Probability Distributions and Descriptive Statistics: STAT101
  4. Sampling and Estimation: STAT101
  5. Hypothesis Testing: STAT101
  6. Correlation Analysis and Regression: STAT101

  1. Market Forces of Supply and Demand: ECON104ECON105
  2. The Firm and Industry Organization: ECON104ECON105
  3. Measuring National Income and Growth: ECON104ECON105
  4. Business Cycles: ECON104ECON105
  5. The Monetary System: ECON104ECON105
  6. Inflation: ECON104ECON105
  7. International Trade and Capital Flows: FINC344
  8. Currency Exchange Rates:  FINC344
  9. Monetary and Fiscal Policy: ECON105

  1. Financial Reporting System (IFRS and GAAP): ACCT102FINC308
  2. Principal Financial Statements: FINC308
  3. Financial Reporting Quality: FINC308
  4. Analysis of Debt: FINC308FINC316

  1. Corporate Governance: FINC301
  2. Dividend Policy: FINC301
  3. Capital Investment Decisions: FINC301FINC302
  4. Business and Financial Risk: FINC201
  5. Long-Term Financial Policy: FINC301
  6. Short-Term Financial Policy: FINC301
  7. Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring: FINC301

  1. Types of Equity Securities and their Characteristics: FINC311
  2. Equity Markets: Characteristics, Institutions, and Benchmarks: FINC203FINC311
  3. Fundamental Analysis (Sector, Industry, Company) and the Valuation of Individual Equity Securities: FINC311
  4. Equity Market Valuation and Return Analysis: FINC311
  5. Special Applications of Fundamental Analysis (Residual Earnings): FINC311FINC302

  1. Types of Fixed Income Securities and their Characteristics: FINC201FINC203FINC316
  2. Fixed Income Markets: Characteristics, Institutions, and Benchmarks: FINC203FINC316
  3. Fixed Income Valuation (Sector, Industry, Company) and Return Analysis: FINC306
  4. Term Structure Determination and Yield Spreads: FINC203FINC316FINC312
  5. Analysis of Interest Rate Risk: FINC203FINC316
  6. Analysis of Credit Risk: FINC316

  1. Types of Derivative Instruments and their Characteristics: FINC312
  2. Forward Markets and Instruments: FINC203FINC312
  3. Futures Markets and Instruments: FINC203FINC312
  4. Options Markets and Instruments: FINC203FINC312
  5. Swaps Markets and Instruments: FINC203FINC312
  6. Credit Derivatives Markets and Instruments: FINC316FINC312

  1. Types of Alternative Investments and their Characteristics: FINC101
  2. Real Estate: FINC101
  3. Private Equity/Venture Capital: FINC311
  4. Hedge Funds: FINC311
  5. Commodities: FINC312

  1. Portfolio Concepts: FINC311FINC331
  2. Management of Individual/Family Investor Portfolios: FINC311FINC331
CFA Examinations and Scholarships

In each U.S. academic year (ending on 31 August), the Department of Economics and Finance can nominate up to three students and Dr Huong Dieu Dang, CFA can nominate up to three students to receive scholarships to take the CFA Exams. There is a slight increase for CFA Program scholarships from US$350 to US$400. This aligns with an increase in CFA Program registration fees for exams administered in 2024.

To apply for a scholarship:

You need to submit a one-page cover letter and your CV on the CFA platform (see CFA Student Guide to Student Scholarships). If you do not submit any of these required documents, your application will be rejected.

Your cover letter should address the following two questions:
• How well have you prepared for the exam? You should include a specific study plan.
• How would the scholarship and the exam help you achieve your professional goals?
In your cover letter, you must indicate your planned exam time. You should include a one-page study plan at the end of your application. You must combine your documents in one (and only one) pdf file. If you submit more than one files, only the first one will be considered.

Scholarships cannot be transferred from one to another student so it is extremely important that you will only apply for a scholarship if you are fully committed to take the exam. If you are not sure, you should not apply.

If you have registered for a CFA exam, you will not be eligible to apply for a scholarship.

For frequently asked questions regarding Computer-based testing, download CBT Slides June 2020 and/ or click here:

CFA Program computer-based testing
  • Computer-based scheduling enables CFA Institute to retire single-day test administration in favor of more convenient, socially distant computer-based test administration. Doing this offers options for candidates around the globe by increasing the number of exam administrations for every level, providing multi-day exam windows to eliminate the practice of all candidates sitting in a single day, and a broader footprint of test areas to improve flexibility. 
  • Along with Level I, the Level II and Level III CFA exams will shift from paper-based to computer-based testing starting in 2021. This change allows CFA Institute to provide smaller group sizes, better social distancing, easier scheduling with more locations, and less uncertainty about planning for our candidates.
  • The Level I computer-based exam will be offered four times per year. The Level II and Level III computer-based exam will be offered two times per year.

The FAQ page includes more details about changes to the exam cycle, information on computer-based testing, and exam policies. This page will be updated regularly. 

Practical Skills Module

Beginning with the February 2024 exam, the CFA Program has been expanded to include practical, relevant skills training to provide candidates with on-the-job application of what you are learning in the curriculum, otherwise known as Practical Skills Modules (PSMs). In addition to completing the exam,  candidates will be required to complete one PSM at each level in order to receive your exam result. More information can be found on the Practical Skills Module page.

Available in 2024, the modules include:

  • Financial Modeling: Empower students to construct financial models in Excel, crucial for valuation and analysis.
  • Python Programming Fundamentals: Introduce Python's finance applications and data science tools.
  • Analyst Skills: Equip students with insights applicable in financial roles.
  • Python, Data Science & AI: Introduce data science, machine learning, and Python's financial data analysis.

When registration opens for the February 2024 exams this May, Level I candidates will have the opportunity to purchase the CFA Program Practice Pack, a new product that includes 1000 new practice questions and six additional Level I mock exams. Candidates are currently granted access to two mock exams at no additional charge eight weeks before their exam window.

Updates to Standards of Professional Conduct

The CFA Institute Board of Governors adopted the following changes to the Standards of Professional Conduct:

  • Within Standard I: Professionalism, the Board approved a new standard requiring members to act with and maintain the competence necessary to fulfill their professional responsibilities, so reinforcing the principle set forth in the Code of Ethics.
  • Within Standard V: Investment Analysis, Recommendations, and Actions, the Board revised Standard V(B) Communication with Clients and Prospective Clients, to require disclosures about the nature of the services provided by members and candidates and the costs to the client associated with those services.
  • Within Standard VI Conflicts of Interest, the Board renamed Standard VI(A) “Avoid or Disclose Conflicts” and revised the standard to require members and candidates to either avoid conflicts of interest or disclose those conflicts. Previously there was no mention of avoiding conflicts of interest in the standard.

These changes go into effect on 1 January 2024. New guidance and examples will be added to the Standards of Practice Handbook to fully explain these new requirements and a new 12th edition to the Handbook will be available 1 January 2024.

Specialised pathways

Specialised pathways will be introduced at Level III beginning in 2025. A common core of study will exist for all three pathways at Level III, and candidates will be able to choose one of three job-role focused pathways:

  1. Portfolio Management(the traditional version of Level III)
  2. Private Wealth
  3. Private Markets

All three pathways will be equally rigorous and in pursuit of one credential: the CFA charter.

For further information about updates to the CFA Program, click here:

Career Tools

CFA Institute launched a new Career Tools platform to help constituents achieve success in their careers. It includes a broad range of career assessments, a robust resume/CV builder and feedback tool, an interview simulator and pitch builder, and a deep library of learning assets to support career mobility/management and soft skills development. Access is available only for CFA Program candidates, individuals pending award of the CFA charter, and CFA Institute members using their CFA Institute account credentials.

The brand-new CFA Program Job Role Discovery Quiz provides an inside look at over 40 unique job roles. Each bubble in the graph is proportional to the number of the 200,000 CFA Charterholders who do each role (Portfolio Manager is the biggest). To use the tool, hover over each bubble to see descriptions of each role in finance. Select the job role then work through a 10-question multiple-choice quiz using real CFA Level I Exam questions that relate purely to the selected role. At the end of the quiz, you can check your score and view the answer explanations. Score 10 out of 10 and you are on the right path!

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