We use cookies on all our websites to gather anonymous information about your visit that helps us to make improvements and increase performance. By continuing you are consenting to these cookies.
If you would like more information or would like to change your cookie preferences, please visit our cookies page.
More pages...

ifs Level 3 Diploma in Financial Studies Details Page


The Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS) QN 600/8551/4 has been designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop and enhance the knowledge and skills gained by achieving the Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS), by applying them to the wider financial environment.

Download the qualification overview.

Qualification purpose statement

As an Applied General qualification, the Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS) is primarily designed for students aged 16-19 and provides an in-depth exploration of the key concepts of financial capability and how they are applied to achieve longer-term financial sustainability. Its purpose is to prepare students for further study through the development of the core skills of independent thinking, critical analysis and evaluation, synthesis, verbal communication (through classroom discussion) and written communication.

DipFS builds on the skills and knowledge acquired through successful completion of the Certificate in Financial Studies and extends this to include areas such as financial sustainability within the wider financial services system, and the long-term impact of debt. Within DipFS the student explores the political, economic, social, technological, ethical and legal impacts of personal finance in the short, medium and longer terms. Through this, a greater understanding of the impact that global events can have upon consumers and the wider financial services industry is developed. DipFS therefore enhances the ability to make informed financial decisions through effective planning to manage the risks and challenges involved in personal finance. Read the full Declared Purpose.

DipFS consists of four mandatory units:
Unit 1 – Financial Capability for the Immediate and Short Term
Unit 2 – Financial Capability for the Medium and Long Term
Unit 3 – Sustainability of an Individual's Finances
Unit 4 – Sustainability of the Financial Services System

DipFS Diploma in Financal Studies 140 UCAS points

DipFS will be included in the 16-19 Applied General Performance Tables from the summer 2016 and has been accredited by Ofqual at Level 3 and is part of the Regulated Qualifications Framework(RQF).

For more information contact one of our regional Customer Relationship Managers or read our testimonials.


DipFS consists of four mandatory units. The recommended learning hours (GLH) for an average student studying DipFS is 360 hours.

Unit 1 – Financial Capability for the Immediate and Short Term (FCIS)

FCIS highlights the importance of financial capability in meeting immediate and short-term financial needs. By studying FCIS students will gain an appreciation of why money is important through focusing on what money is; attitudes to it; and how it can affect life choices. The unit introduces students to the financial services industry by focusing on the interaction between money, personal finance and the financial services market place. They will gain an appreciation of the differentiation of financial products for savings and the key features of interest and charges on borrowing.

Unit 2 – Financial Capability for the Medium and Long Term (FCML)

FCML highlights the importance of planning for medium- and long-term financial needs, with particular reference to the importance of the need to budget for future aspirations and life events. By studying FCML students will consider the changing priorities attached to needs, wants and aspirations as individuals progress through the personal life cycle, and the role of financial services in assisting lifelong financial planning. Learners gain an understanding of the personal approaches that individuals take towards risk and rewards and the impact of foreseen and unforeseen influences on financial budgeting.

Unit 3 – Sustainability of an Individual's Finances (SIF)

SIF highlights the importance of financial sustainability for the individual; to enable the development of skills to make sure that an individual's financial capability is sustained over a period of time, taking into consideration the personal and external factors that lead to change.

When studying SIF students will explore how external factors affect the financial services industry's products and services and how these factors can impact upon consumer choice which will enable students to make informed financial judgements within given situations. Learners will gain an understanding of the impact of global events, developments and ethical considerations that impact on the financial services industry and the consumer.

Unit 4 – Sustainability of the Financial Services System (SFS)

SFS explores the financial services system and looks at how financial services providers work and compete with one another, their priorities and responses to external influences in maintaining financial sustainability.

By studying SFS students will analyse the impact of marketing techniques employed by financial services providers and the impact of changes in the financial services market and the effect this has on consumers. Learners will gain an understanding of how financial services providers use marketing methods and segmentation, and approaches to attract, retain and satisfy their customers.

Reference codes & learning hours

Reference Level Credit GLH Other hours TQT
DipFS 600 / 8551 / 4 3 60 374 226 600
FCIS T / 504 / 8100 3 15 93.5 56.5
FCML D / 504 / 8110 3 15 93.5 56.5
SIF L / 504 / 8166 3 15 93.5 56.5
SFS R / 504 / 8167 3 15 93.5 56.5

Total Qualification Time (TQT) is a prediction of the total time the typical student may need to complete the course. TQT consists of two elements, Guided Learning Hours (GLH) and all other hours:

  • GLH is time spent studying under the immediate guidance of supervision of a teacher.
  • All other hours include hours spent unsupervised in research, learning, e-learning, e-assessment, completing coursework, completing homework, exam preparation, and formal assessment.


All units will be assessed by paper-based examination or by ifs e-test™ electronic testing system. They will be made up of the following components:

Unit 1 and Unit 2

  • Part A: 35 multiple choice questions in a 45-minute examination (total marks: 35 / 100)
  • Part B: pre-release case study requiring essay responses to 5 questions in a 105-minute examination (total marks: 60 / 100)
  • Part B will also assess spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) through the essay responses (total mark 5 / 100)

Unit 3 and Unit 4

  • Part A: 35 multiple choice questions in a 1-hour examination (total marks: 35 / 100)
  • Part B: pre-release case study requiring essay responses to 5 questions in a 2-hour examination (total marks: 60 / 100)
  • Part B will also assess spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) through the essay responses (total mark 5 / 100)

A total of 400 marks are available from all four units comprising 100 marks per unit.


The overall qualification will be graded A* - E. To achieve a pass, students must achieve a pass of 40% of the Uniform Mark Scheme (UMS) in all four units. Units will be graded with pass / fail only.


Students are allowed one resit attempt for each component of a unit in accordance with the published qualification regulations.

UCAS Tariff

DipFS carries a UCAS tariff of up to 140 points which contribute towards university entry. Find out more.

Teaching and Learning Support

ifs University College provides a comprehensive learning support package for tutors and students including:

  • up-to-date resources revised annually enabling flexibility of delivery
  • dedicated Customer Relationship Manager offering support throughout delivery
  • access to my ifslearning, an extensive online student and tutor resource providing access to study materials including specimen examination papers and justifications and teacher guides for each unit
  • access to ifs KnowledgeBank, an online information service and e-library, giving access to a wide range of resources including databases, full-text journals, reference sources and books to support students' studies
  • Delivering Financial Capability Workshops across the country providing advice, guidance and an opportunity to share best practice and expertise


If you are interested in delivering DipFS, please contact one of our Customer Relationship Managers (CRM) who will arrange a demonstration of all the resources.


DipFS costs £120* per student which includes registration, examination, student study materials and teaching aids and support.

* Students must study CeFS before studying DipFS.

Entry Criteria

The level of achievement required to obtain DipFS is equivalent to that of GCE level / A2 Level qualifications. Applicants need to be satisfied of their ability to study, in English, at this level. For those students who have completed the ifs Level 3 Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS) the credit achieved from the completion of those units can be transferred to DipFS.


UCAS tariff points earned through studying CeFS and DipFS can be counted towards university application.When considering your option for further study in Higher Education you may like to consider our full-time undergraduate degrees:

BSc (Hons) in Banking Practice and Management
BSc (Hons) in Finance, Investment and Risk

Preparation for further study

The financially-related content of DipFS serves as a strong grounding for undergraduate study within finance and business-related disciplines, with many students going on to study accounting, business, finance and banking. The skills developed and enhanced during the course provide valuable study skills appropriate for these disciplines and others, and students have pursued a wide range of other undergraduate courses following this qualification. Financial capability is also supportive of the personal and financial skills that underpin clear decisions about progression options and life as an undergraduate. This qualification carries up to 140 UCAS points, find out more.

View letters of support received from UK Higher Education Institutions.

Preparation for employment

DipFS develops knowledge and understanding of the financial services sector and enhances skills that are valued within that sector and others, but does not qualify students for direct entry to a particular occupational role. Students will be in a position to make informed choices related to pursuing one of the many roles available within the sector, either immediately, through further study, or whether to apply the financial skills that they have developed to other careers or study options.

View letters of support received from UK Higher Education Institutions.

ifs Student Investor Challenge

The ifs Student Investor Challenge is the UK's premier investment competition for UK students aged between 14 and 19.

Running from November to January each year, the competition gives teams of four students the opportunity to experience trading on the stock market, with £100,000 of virtual money, and the chance to win an all-expenses-paid educational trip to New York.

The competition also enables students to develop their key skills in team work, communication, decision making, problem solving and time management.

Find out more.