We are looking forward to welcoming you to Imperial this autumn. 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to ensure that your degree programme can be safely delivered, we are writing to update you on how the College is planning to support a safe return to study and on how we intend to deliver your programme in 2021-22. 

We will expect you to be in London from the start of the autumn term and for the whole of the 2021-22 academic year in order that you can attend on-campus activities. We plan to deliver your programme through a combination of on-campus and online teaching activities (multi-mode), with a strong emphasis on prioritising your time on our campuses.  

We are planning for the most crucial and engaging learning opportunities to be delivered in-person and without social distancing in place. We anticipate UK government guidelines will support this decision by the time you arrive for the new academic year. Lectures may be hosted online when this method is considered to be educationally beneficial to students, and when it is clear that online mode will reduce the risk of sustained COVID-19 transmission as our community emerges from the pandemic. We will use our experience of our past academic year when deciding how best to timetable your teaching. 

It is important to recognise that, depending on official government guidance throughout the entirety of next academic year, the balance of on-campus and online teaching may be subject to change. However, we share students’ hopes that we will be able to offer on-campus learning activities consistently throughout the coming year. 

Further details on the mix of on-campus and online activities and support available to you in your department are provided in the programme delivery section of this letter. 

Institutional guarantees 

General 

Our priority is for you to experience everything our campuses and London has to offer.  However, you will be expected to adhere to the safety measures in place for the College. This may include undertaking regular testing for COVID-19 and to report the outcome of this testing to the College. There is also the strong expectation that you will have been vaccinated against COVID-19or that you will take up the opportunity once in the UK, if vaccination is not available in your home countryBy following the latest guidance we can all support the College community to stay safe and satisfy the UK government that we can continue with in-person on-campus activities, wherever possible. 

Attendance and Delivery of Teaching 

As you can appreciate, it is not entirely clear what circumstances we will be working with for the coming academic year, but we are planning the delivery of your programme on the assumption of a phased return to substantial amounts of on-campus teaching over the 2021-22 academic year. To accommodate this, we plan to deliver your programme through a combination of on-campus and online activities (multi-mode), the balance of which will be reviewed and adjusted as circumstances change. This means you will be expected to attend the College in-person from the start of your programme, unless you can demonstrate that you have been impacted by exceptional COVID-19 related circumstances. 

We understand there are some reasons you may be prevented from being able to travel to London for the start of the academic year.  In these circumstances you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience, and you will be temporarily provided with a remote alternative of any on-campus activities which you might miss. You should contact us at director.mscmathfin@imperial.ac.uk if you anticipate not being able to travel to London for the start of term. 

As a community, we have learnt a lot from this past year. Our combination of cutting-edge technology and academic excellence resulted in some new and creative ways of learning and engaging with each other on campus and remotely.  Many of the changes made to the learning experience have worked well, and therefore your programme may retain some of these approaches in the new academic year to enhance your overall experience on campus, and these are detailed in this letter. 

In the event of a suspension of on-campus activity due to an escalation of the pandemic, we will deliver some content online and, if necessary, reschedule activities which cannot be delivered online later in the 2021-22 academic year. Depending on the length and severity of any such scenario, if we are unable to deliver content remotely or re-schedule activities requiring in-person attendance [e.g. labs/practicals/etc] within the 2021-22 academic year to meet the learning outcomes of the programme, we may have to extend the length of your programme, with no extra fees being charged.  You will also be given the option to exit the programme and provided with a transcript of the credits achieved together with an exit award, where appropriate. 

Assessment 

For assessments that take place in the autumn term, or at the start of the spring term of the 2021-22 academic year, where there was to be an in-person on-campus written examination, these will be assessed by timed remote assessments, irrespective of whether there are restrictions in place or not. We may continue to deliver examinations by timed remote assessments where these are deemed the most appropriate method of assessment 

Safety 

You will be required to follow the safety requirements put in place on campus and in all College buildings (including halls) to ensure we keep the campuses and the Imperial community safe and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, particularly in our ability to deliver your degree programme and to offer you a full student experience.   

There will be requirements and expectations placed on you and other members of the College community to follow the safety measures put in place by the UK government and national and local public health authoritiesYou can view our current general guidance for our community on our websiteThese may vary over the academic year but are likely to include undertaking regular testing for COVID-19 and to report the results of this testing to the College. There is also the strong expectation that you will have been vaccinated against COVID-19or that you will take up the opportunity once in the UK, if vaccination is not available in your home country. Failure to follow the safety measures and any reporting requirements  may result in restrictions being imposed on the delivery of your degree programme and on your access to the wider student experience.  

Delivery of your Programme of Study 

Departmental induction 

Departmental induction activities for the MSc in Mathematics and Finance will take place in a multi-mode format to ensure that you will have access to required information in a timely manner and to allow you to meet other students and staff in the Department. 

The induction week will focus on introducing the programme degree and good academic practices. Refreshers in Probability and Analysis will also be offered, and different College services, including library, careers, enterprise, will be introduced.   

The induction week will focus on building relationships amongst the students and academics of the programme through on-campus and remote social events and meetings, amongst other events such as the Alumni Event that will take place during the induction week. The aim is to create strong cohort bonds from the outset. 

Further details willbe provided nearerto the start of the programme.  

Content of the programme 

We have reviewed the learning outcomes for your programme to ensure these can be taught and assessed in a multi-mode format.  

No changes to the programme or module learning outcomes have been made as a consequence of moving to a multi-mode format. 

There are some small changes to the lists of elective modules offered as part of the MSc degree: 

  • Two new Elective modules are introduced: Quantum Computing in Finance and Data Science for Fintech, Regtech and Suptech. 

  • The Elective modules Algorithmic Trading and Machine Learning and Stochastic Calculus for finance will not be available in the academic year 2021-22. 

A comprehensive list of the core and elective modules of the MSc can be found on the programme webpages:  

Scheduling  

We are not anticipating changing the term of when modules will be taught or assessed. 

Programme Delivery 2021-22 

In the following we describe our plans for the delivery of your programme in the Autumn term of 2021. Plans for the rest of the academic year are under development, but we expect a similar mix of on-campus and online teaching activities in the Spring term of 2022. 

Continuing with the success of the academic year 2020-21 the MSc in Mathematics and Finance has got approval to be delivered through a multi-mode (blended) delivery in the future. The blended delivery of the MSc includes both in person and online sessions for delivering the content of each module coupled with a range of other activities including computing exercises, on-line quizzes, office hours and discussion forums.  

In more detail, the content of each module will be delivered through high-quality, pre-recorded videos that will be available for the students to watch at their own time and pace. These videos will be accompanied by Live Sessions (synchronous) in the form of group tutorials, problem classes, computing sessions, and Q&A sessions that will provide an interactive environment to apply and consolidate understanding of the module’s material. The live sessions will typically be run by the module lecturers with the help of graduate teaching assistants. Live sessions will be recorded and be available to watch afterwards.  

We expect that at least 60% of the live sessions will be conducted in person on-campus. In the case of a partial lockdown some of these live sessions might need to be delivered online.   

Each one of the Core modules will have on average 2 hours of live sessions each week. The number of hours of live sessions for the Elective modules will range from 7.5 to 10 hours over five weeks. Modules will also be supported through office hours and discussion forums.  

Other activities of the MSc include: 

  • Personal Tutor meetings focus on discussing how your studies are going, module and project selection, future career aspirations and well-being. There will be a mixture of individual personal tutor meetings and meetings alongside other MSc students which will be online.   

  • Weekly Career Events with the financial industry so that students get dedicated views on the specificities of each company. Details can be found at  

  • Regular Practitioners’ Lectures in Quantitative Finance are lectures delivered by leading practitioners for the students of the MSc in Mathematics and Finance, complementing the lectures. An overview is provided here:  

  • One-on-one meetings are offered by former MSc students during the Autumn term, where advice and help on any aspects of the programme will be offered in a friendly informal environment.  

Subject to government advice, College guidance on social distancing and access to campus, meetings with personal tutors, lecturers and project supervisors will be conducted on-campus if this is convenient for all relevant parties, otherwise they will be conducted remotely. Some teaching activities may be moved online because of staffing constraints, e.g., if a key member of staff is required to self-isolate or is otherwise unable to teach in person. In the event of a partial lockdown, we expect occupancy limits on our teaching spaces will be reduced. This means that students will take turns joining teaching activities in-person, while others join online. Such in-person attendance (in the event of partial lockdown) will be split as evenly as possible among students following the module.   Study spaces in the Department will be open but restricted in number to adhere to social distancing guidelines.  Configuration of rooms will also be adjusted. Access may be limited to the days you are expected on campus for problems classes/tutorials to allow all students to have fair access. Students who may need access to Departmental specialist computational facilities on other days for their projects/research should look out for further information on this.  

Support for online learning 

To access the content of the programme online you will be expected to have access to a computer (comparable to the laptop we offer for loan; HP EliteBook 840 G7, i5-10310U processor, 16Gb RAM, 256Gb solid state disk, 14” HD screen, Windows 10 Pro 64, webcam; see https://www8.hp.com/h20195/v2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=4AA7-6811ENUC),  reliable internet connection with a minimum of sustained 10 MBps down/upload speed  and be able to use Microsoft Teams. Your College IT account will provide you with free access to the Office365 suite of tools, and further information about how to use Microsoft Teams is available at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/admin-services/ict/self-service/connect-communicate/office-365/apps/microsoft-teams/ . 

Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules. 

Length of the programme 

We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised.  

Additional costs 

You will be expected to have access to a computer, webcam, microphone and to a reliable Internet connection, and you will need to cover any associated costs for these.  

Access to a graphics tablet and stylus would be beneficial for active participation in the Live Sessions and will encourage active learning with asynchronous videos by annotating lecture notes and filling in gapped lecture notes.  The latter should also be achievable with pen and papers for students with access to a printer. Coursework and remote examinations will need to be scanned (using a scanner, document camera or smartphone). 

There are no other expected additional costs (beyond those previously advertised) to participate in the programme if you choose to study remotely. 

Professional accreditation 

Professional accreditation for this programme remains in place even though it is being delivered in multi-mode format for next year. 

Location 

In-person activities will still be delivered at the South Kensington campus.  

Visas and Immigration  

If you require a visa to study in the UK, it is important that you have read the guidance provided by the International Student Support Team at the College.      

Imperial has a team of specialist immigration advisers who can provide specific advice on your immigration situation and on the best options for you. They can be reached by email on international@imperial.ac.uk . It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct immigration permission for your studies in the UK.  

Student Experience 

Your experience at Imperial goes beyond just your academic studies. With the impact of COVID-19, Imperial has been working with your Students’ Union to ensure that we are able to provide, enhance and facilitate all areas of your student experience in all eventualities.  We identified key pillars of the wider student experience:  academic experience; research culture and environment; amenities and accommodation; student community; wellbeing support; co-curricular activities and extra-curricular activities.  Information on how we will deliver these, along with information on our Library Services, considering current and potential future restrictions, are set out on our website. 

We want to assure you that you will benefit from Imperial’s world class tuition and will be part of the wide MSc Student and Alumni network as well as Imperial’s amazing community. We are looking forward to you joining us in this exciting adventure; we want you to succeed and to make the most of the unique opportunities that Imperial offers. By joining the MSc, you will receive outstanding training in both theoretical and applied Mathematical Finance by the internationally renowned researchers of the Mathematical Finance Section and the leading practitioners who are teaching the MSc. The variety of Elective modules offered throughout the year will allow you to develop your own interests, exposing you to a diverse range of applications and methods.  

You will find enclosed a Summer Reading List that we strongly encourage you to study before the programme starts late September in order to maximise the success of your forthcoming academic year. 

We wish all the best to you and your family. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us at director.mscmathfin@imperial.ac.uk 

 

Jack Jacquier and Eyal Neuman 

Directors of the MSc in Mathematics and Finance