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PG Diploma Mathematics and Finance

Why we're great

  • Maths has become an indispensable tool for finance – our course allows those with a background in maths to study finance
  • Work with our staff who are world leaders in their field – their papers appear in learned journals
  • Gain key employability skills include data analysis, use of algorithms and mathematical modelling

Course options2016-17

Duration: 9 months
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Mathematical Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £6,360
Fee (International): £11,600

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719
Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

In recent years, finance has been one of the areas where high-calibre mathematicians have been in great demand. With the advent of powerful and yet economically accessible computing, online trading has become a common activity, but many have realised that a certain amount of mathematics is necessary to be successful in such fields.

Postgraduate Diplomas last for six to nine months (full-time) and include the modules and assessed work of a Masters, without a dissertation. This allows you to proceed to a Masters in mathematics if your undergraduate degree was in a different subject.

Our Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematics and Finance produces graduates with a sound mathematics and finance background, and with the necessary skills like computing, use of algorithms and analysing data, to be applied to problems arising in finance.

You explore topics including:

  • Models and mathematics in portfolio management
  • Risk management in modern banking
  • Financial modelling
  • Actuarial modelling
  • Applied statistics

Our interdisciplinary research recognises that mathematics, including what can be very abstract mathematics, is an essential part of research in many other disciplines.

Our Department of Mathematical Sciences has an international reputation in many areas including semi-group theory, optimisation, probability, applied statistics, bioinformatics and mathematical biology.

Our expert staff

Our Department of Mathematical Sciences is a small but influential department, so our students and staff know each other personally. You never need an appointment to see your tutors and supervisors, just knock on our office doors – we are one of the few places to have an open-door policy, and no issue is too big or small.

Our staff have published several well-regarded text books and are world leaders in their individual specialisms, with their papers appearing in learned journals like Communications in Algebra, Studia Logica, International Journal of Algebra and Computation, SIAM Journal in Optimization, IEEE Evolutionary Computation, Computers and Operations Research, Ecology, Journal of Mathematical Biology, and Journal of Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology.

Specialist facilities

  • Unique to Essex is our renowned Maths Support Centre, which offers help to students, staff and local businesses on a range of mathematical problems. Throughout term-time, we can chat through mathematical problems either on a one-to-one or small group basis
  • We have our own computer labs for the exclusive use of students in the Department of Mathematical Sciences – in addition to your core maths modules, you gain computing knowledge of software including Matlab and Maple
  • We host regular events and seminars throughout the year
  • Our students run a lively Mathematics Society, an active and social group where you can explore your interest in your subject with other students

Your future

There is undoubtedly a shortage of mathematicians in general, and an even greater one of those with knowledge of finance.

Our course produces graduates with a sound background in mathematics and finance. Key employability skills include computing, use of algorithms, data analysis, mathematical modelling and understanding financial statements.

Our graduates are highly sought after by a range of employers and find employment in financial services, scientific computation, decision making support and government, risk assessment, statistics, education and other sectors.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MSc by Dissertation. We have an international reputation in many areas such as semi-group theory, optimisation, probability, applied statistics, bioinformatics and mathematical biology, and our staff are strongly committed to research and to the promotion of graduate activities.

We additionally work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

Consider the use of modern econometric techniques in the analysis of financial time series. You cover multivariate models for stationary and non-stationary processes, such as Vector Autoregressive models, consider appropriate models for volatility, and study Markov processes and simulation methods used for financial modelling.

How do you formulate financial decision problems mathematically? And how do you identify an appropriate method of solution? Understand the basic models and mathematical methods underlying modern portfolio management. Assess the limitations of these models and learn to correctly interpret your results from calculations.

This module equips you with the econometric tools and necessary experience to conduct empirical research in finance. You review statistical and basic econometric models and learn to apply econometric techniques in finance by considering topics such as (G)ARCH models, unit roots and cointegration.

How do you apply multivariate methods? Or demographical and epidemiological methods? And how do you apply sampling methods? Study three application areas of statistics – multivariate methods, demography and epidemiology, and sampling. Understand how to apply and assess these methods in a variety of situations.

Analyse the key strategic developments in banking and the main aspects of risk management in modern banks. You are introduced to the concept of shareholder value in banking, the main banking strategies to create shareholder value, the key risks in banking, and the most important tools required to manage bank risks.

What do you understand about Bayes’ theorem and Bayesian statistical modelling? Or about Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation? Focus on Bayesian and computational statistics. Understand the statistical modelling and methods available. Learn to develop a Monte Carlo simulation algorithm for simple probability distributions.

Master the pricing of financial derivatives and their use for hedging financial risks. You study the basics of futures and options, analyse the Black-Scholes and binomial option pricing models, and consider various numerical techniques for pricing financial derivatives. Futures and options are then utilised in the context of hedging financial risks, and you are introduced to the concept of volatility trading and the treatment of volatility as an asset class.

Study the concepts of risk and return in equity markets, both in the context of asset pricing, and in the management of equity portfolios. You will start by focusing on the analysis of the stylised facts of asset returns, and will then review the theoretical foundations of modern finance, covering expected utility theory and risk aversion.

Why are arbitrage arguments important in modern finance? How can a binomial model evaluate derivatives? What are the main models for interest rates? Understand the mathematical techniques underlying the modelling of derivative pricing. Acquire skills in the development of pricing and risk management. Explore stochastic methods and credit risk.

How do you solve systems of linear first-order equations in two unknowns with constant coefficients? Or analyse the stability characteristics of non-linear systems in two unknowns? Study the standard methods to solve single ordinary differential equations and systems of equations. Understand the underlying theory.

Teaching

  • Core components can be combined with optional modules, to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding
  • Learn to use LATEX to produce a document as close as possible to what professional mathematicians produce in terms of organisation, layout and type-setting
  • Our postgraduates are encouraged to attend conferences and seminars on a Thursday afternoon

Assessment

  • Courses are assessed on the results of your written examinations, together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A degree with an overall high 2:2.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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Visit us

Open days

We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.