MSc in Mathematical Finance | University of Oxford
Oxford skyline
The Oxford skyline in autumn
(Image Credit: Rob Judges / Oxford University Images)

MSc in Mathematical Finance

About the course

The part-time MSc in Mathematical Finance aims to develop your mathematical modelling, data analysis and computational skills as applied to finance, without the need to take time out of your career to study. 

Incorporating concepts from applied and pure mathematics, statistics, computing and corporate finance, the course gives you a broad intellectual perspective and covers, from fundamentals to the latest research, the most important aspects of quantitative finance currently in use in the finance industry.

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; 
  • allows you to choose advanced modules based on, and write an academic dissertation in, an area of relevance to your career;
  • regularly updates its content to reflect the ever-changing industry and keep the material relevant;
  • 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 intervene before it is possible to write a dissertation.

In order to complete the MSc each student must attend and be assessed on four core modules, three advanced modules and 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. Python or 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 assignments, 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.

Other courses in this area

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.

Entry requirements for entry in 2019-20

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 research 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's home is the purpose-built Andrew Wiles Building, opened in 2013. This provides ample teaching facilities for lectures, classes and seminars. The Mathematical Institute provides IT support, and students can use the department's Whitehead Library, with an extensive range of books and journals.

In addition to the common room, where graduate students regularly gather for coffee and other social occasions, there is also a café in the Andrew Wiles Building.

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course 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.

Costs

Fees for entry in 2019-20

Fee status

Total Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£34,623
Overseas£34,623

The fees shown above are the total course fees for entry in the 2019-20 academic year.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below. You may have seen separate figures in the past for tuition fees and college fees. We have now combined these into a single figure.

For this course, the period of fee liability is normally seven terms. After seven terms a termly extension fee is payable: for the 2019-20 academic year, this is £610; 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)
£3,000Normally payable within 30 days of the initial offer letter
Overseas£3,000

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

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave 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 course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2019-20 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,058 and £1,643 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2019-20, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

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 is available to download below, as part of your application.

You should 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.

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Carefully read the entry requirements on this course page to make sure you meet all the criteria.

Step 2: Check above what documents are required and prepare to apply by reading our Application Guide.

Step 3: Apply as soon as possible. Consult the Application Guide for more information about deadlines.

Application GuideApply

Was this page useful?*