MSc in Mathematical Finance | University of Oxford
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MSc in Mathematical Finance

About the course

The main aim of the part-time MSc in Mathematical Finance is to develop students' mathematical modelling, data analysis and computational skills in applications to finance. The MSc course covers the most important technical and quantitative aspects of finance in regular use in banks and other financial institutions, from basic material to current research.

The MSc covers material on mathematics and related subjects to give students a thorough grounding in the discipline and to enable them to make intellectual links between different topics. There is a substantial interaction with ideas from applied mathematics, pure mathematics, statistics, computing and corporate finance.

Structured for those in full-time employment in the UK or overseas, the course will help you to develop skills to enhance and progress your career without the necessity of taking a career break:

  • the course is delivered in a series of intensive week-long modules based in Oxford, so that time away from work is kept to a minimum; 
  • the course allows students to choose advanced modules based on, and write an academic dissertation in, an area of relevance to their career;
  • the course content is regularly updated to reflect the ever-changing industry and keep the material relevant;
  • the course is taught by a panel of world-leading academics and industrial practitioners; and
  • it is possible to exit the course early and be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematical Finance, should work pressures be such to prevent the dissertation being written.

The MSc in Mathematical Finance builds on a strong quantitative background to educate students in state-of-the-art mathematical and quantitative finance. In order to complete the MSc each student must attend and be assessed on four core modules, three advanced modules and to submit a dissertation. Students are expected to take seven terms (28 months) to complete the course. 

Modules are taught through a series of lectures, practical sessions, guided reading, guest lectures and course assignments. 

The core modules cover the mathematical foundations of probability, statistics and partial differential equations, stochastic calculus and martingale theory, portfolio theory, the Black-Scholes model and extensions, numerical methods (finite differences and Monte Carlo), interest rate modelling, stochastic optimisation, exotic derivatives and stochastic volatility. MATLAB is used as a practical computing language.

Attendance at the four core modules is compulsory. For each module there is an assignment for which feedback and an indicative mark is given to assist you in improving your future performance. Assessment for these compulsory modules consists of two two-hour written examinations held in September of the first year.

Each of the advanced modules explores a key area in contemporary mathematical finance. The programme of advanced modules is published in July each year, and you will be asked to register your choice of three modules. Attendance at these three assessed modules is compulsory. Advanced modules will be assessed by short ‘special project’ reports, each submitted on a subject chosen by you that is covered in the module.

You will complete a dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with your supervisor and the Course Director.

Graduate destinations

The destinations of MSc alumni include the financial industry and further research into mathematics.

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Modules are taught through a series of lectures, practical sessions, guided reading, guest lectures and course assignments. [SAD1] 

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Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in mathematics or a related discipline. 

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Technical interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

If invited you can expect to be interviewed by at least two people. The interview could take place face-to-face or by Skype. These will be around 30 minutes in length and comprise of a series of technical questions. 

Interviews are held around three weeks after the relevant application deadline, depending on the availability of interviewers.

Publications

Publications are not expected.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Mathematical Institute to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Mathematical Institute and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. 
  • Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Mathematical Institute.

You will be allocated a provisional supervisor for the first year or so on course. Once you start working on your dissertation, a new supervisor (close to your reasearch topic, where possible) will be assigned. Should you wish for an expert supervisor outside of the Mathematical Institute to advise you on your dissertation, an internal faculty member will also be allocated. 

Where possible your academic supervisor will not then change for the remainder of your course, however it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

The Mathematical Institute is based in the Andrew Wiles Building, which has six lecture theatres and six class rooms. The largest lecture theatre seats up to 363 people and all classrooms can accommodate 24 people.

Graduate students have access to the department common room and the mezzanine level of the Andrew Wiles Building houses a canteen and teaching spaces. There is also a study room specifically for MSc students.

The Mathematical Institute provides IT support and the department's Whitehead Library.

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

For students applying to programmes within the MPLS Division at Oxford, Research Council and other funding opportunities available, subject to eligibility. These opportunities are included in the Fees, funding and scholarship search.

You may also be interested in departmental funding opportunities. Further details can be found on the department's website.

Costs

Fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total Course fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£27,160£3,021£30,181
Overseas£31,935£3,021£34,956

The fees shown above are the total tuition fees and college fees for this course for entry in the 2017-18 academic year. Tuition and college fees are payable for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition and college fees). For this course, that period is normally seven terms. After seven terms a termly extension fee is payable: for the 2017-18 academic year, this is £570; this rate will increase on an annual basis. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Deposits

If your application is successful, you will be asked to pay a deposit against your course fees at the application stage as a condition of your offer. The deposit amount and date by which payment must be made are shown below.

Fee status

Amount of deposit

Date by which deposit must be paid

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£3,000Either July or October (depending on when the initial offer was made)
Overseas£3,000

The department's website provides further information about deposits for this course.

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

Please note that this course requires that you attend in Oxford for teaching, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Further, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Mathematical Finance:

How to apply

It is not necessary to contact a potential supervisor or other academic staff before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Personal statement:
Around one page

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
  • commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • capacity for sustained and intense work
  • reasoning ability
  • ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.

Admissions exercise:
MSc in MF admissions exercise answers with signed disclaimer

You must submit solutions to the MSc in Mathematical Finance admissions exercise, which will be made available to download once admissions open, as part of your application. You can upload this to your application as written work.

This will be assessed to determine whether your mathematical background is adequate.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, of which at least two must be academic

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement and motivation. You may use up to one professional reference though your references should otherwise be academic.