MSc in Mathematics and Finance
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Course director: Dr Antoine Jacquier
A one-year MSc programme, designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers in quantitative finance and risk management.
The Mathematical Finance section is part of Imperial's Department of Mathematics, which is part of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
Mathematical finance is a subject that is both mathematically challenging and deployed every day by sophisticated practitioners in the financial markets. Our objective is to provide you with everything you need to get into this area at a level where you can understand–and contribute to–industry practice and the latest research.
A supervised thesis project takes place during the summer months after the theoretical modules have been completed. Students who have achieved an acceptable level of academic competence will be offered as candidates to external sponsors. These industry-based placement take place in banks, consultancies, hedge funds, insurance companies, rating agencies, or financial software companies. Each project is normally based on new areas of possible interest to the sponsor, or extensions to existing lines of work. An academic supervisor and the sponsor work with the student to scope out the project at the start; supervision is a joint activity between the former two. Undertaking the project on site gives students a genuine insight into the reality of the financial marketplace.
Our intake consists mainly of recent graduates in mathematical sciences and engineering seeking positions in the financial services sector. However, we welcome applications from candidates already in employment in that area who want to upgrade various aspects of their mathematical and financial expertise and expand their portfolio of skills. We usually recruit a small number of students each year from this category who fulfil our academic requirements.
Key course information
Key course information including entry requirements, fees, funding and how to apply can be found on the Online Postgraduate Prospectus page.
Further details about the course can be found below.
The Part Time Option
The MSc in Mathematics and Finance can be taken on a part-time basis. Students attend the same lectures as those taking the degree full-time. The courses are spread more or less evenly over two years, instead of one, and the project is taken in the second year. There is a need to attend lectures on about three days a week. Considerable flexibility is needed by those in full-time employment who pursue this option. A typical sample schedule would look like this:
- Stochastic Processes
- Mathematical Finance: Introduction to Option Pricing Theory
- Computing in C++ I: Programming in C
- Theory of Finance
- Advanced Methods in Derivatives Pricing
- Interest Rate Modelling
- Programming in C++ II: Object oriented programming
- Electives, from the list of Elective Modules
How the MSc programme is assessed
There are two components to the MSc programme: lecture courses, and the project.
- Lecture courses: We offer nine courses and your choices must include the seven core courses, together with a selection from a range of elective courses.
- The project: In addition, candidates must submit a satisfactory project thesis. The project is started during the summer term and is submitted in September.
How to qualify for the MSc degree
In greater detail, to qualify for the MSc degree in Mathematics and Finance, you must:
- Take examinations in at least 9, and at most 10, subjects, including the required core courses.
- Achieve an overall average of at least 50% in the course exams.
- Pass at least 7 courses out of the 9 offered for examination. The pass mark is 50%.
- Submit an acceptable thesis.
All courses except the C++ course have a maximum mark of 100. The maximum mark for C++ is 50.
If you take 10 exams, the maximum number allowed, the above criteria apply to your best 9 results which satisfying the programme requirements. In general, we do not encourage you to take more than 9 examinations.
Typically only the top few students in any one year will be awarded a distinction. To achieve a distinction, you must pass, at the first attempt, all 9 examinations offered, with an overall average of 70% or more, and be awarded a mark of at least 70% for the thesis.
You are entitled to attend any course, whether or not you plan to take the examination. You must take the examinations in the seven core courses and in at least two, and at most three elective courses. Before the end of each term you will be asked to complete a form stating what examinations you plan to take.
The mode of assessment varies from course to course. Most will be assessed by a 3 hour written examination in Week 1 of the term following the course. For some course, a component of assessed coursework, or a small project to be completed in a limited time, will be included. Each lecturer will advise you early in the course what the examination arrangements will be. Previous examination papers are usually available.
The following prizes are awarded annually:
- NATIXIS Prize for best MSc Thesis in Quantitative Finance
- Palgrave Macmillan Award for Best MSc Thesis in Mathematics & Finance
Past MSc Prize Winners
- 2013-2014: Johannes Heinrich, Reinforcement Learning for Algorithmic trading
- 2012-2013: Jens Olov Michael Ronnqvist, Default Contagion in Financial Networks
- Imperial College Master's Support Scheme (for Home applicants with low household income)
We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for. See Imperial Postgraduate Scholarships for general opportunities.
Applications open mid-November.
Fill in the College postgraduate online application form, ensuring that you complete all sections. You are strongly advised to apply before May 1st. However, entries will remain open until stated on the Postgraduate MSc Mathematics and Finance page.
English language qualification enquiries
Copies of the postgraduate prospectus
Questions about electronic applications
- Technical problems with online applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
All applicants are required to include an original transcript of their undergraduate degree and/or relevant mathematical studies, at least one of which should be academic even if you are no longer studying. For current undergraduates, two academic references are perfectly acceptable. Successful applicants must be able to meet all conditions of their offer, including the language requirement, before the course begins.
You should only send references (or any hard copy associated with your application) to College Registry during the initial application stage if you are unable to upload them electronically, unless otherwise requested by the Department.
It is particularly important to include your transcript and references with your application. The transcript of your undergraduate or relevant mathematical studies is necessary regardless of whether you graduated some years ago, or if you are about to graduate this year.
If you are a current undergraduate we would like to see all your available results: the first and second year, and third, if you are taking a four-year programme.
If you need to send documents to Registry by post, please send them to the following address:
Registry: Natural Sciences Admissions Team
Level 3 Sherfield Building
Imperial College London
South Kensington, London, SW7 2AZ
We will not make a decision on the majority of the earliest applications we receive until the spring term. We expect to finalise most applications by the end of June.
If you receive an offer, you will be notified by email by College Registry. You will need to respond to this offer and pay a non-refundable deposit within a fixed timescale. If you fail to do this you risk losing your eligibility for a place on the course. Successful applicants will be contacted by the Mathematics Department later in the summer with course information and term dates.