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BSc Finance and Mathematics

Why we're great

  • Our students love studying with us - we receive consistently high student satisfaction scores.
  • As well as being world-class academics and researchers, we are award-winning lecturers.
  • We go the extra mile to make sure you succeed both during and after your time with us.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: GN13
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Mathematical Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: GN1H
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Mathematical Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: GN15
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Mathematical Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666

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About the course

Mathematics is a discipline in which precise propositions can lead, through elegant arguments, to far-reaching consequences. Through developing truly expert abilities in mathematics, and discovering how these can be applied to financial situations, you will improve your capacity to make successful financial decisions.

Our BSc Finance and Mathematics offers you modules in mathematics, accounting and economics, to provide you with an academic training in the principles of accounting and finance. Our business-oriented course equips you with the knowledge and skills that are currently in demand by employers, in particular in financial markets or corporate careers that involve financial decision-making.

You gain a thorough grounding in both finance and mathematics, investigating topics including:

  • Corporate finance
  • Portfolio management
  • Applying mathematical techniques
  • Statistics and probability
  • Micro- and macroeconomics

Our Department of Mathematical Sciences is genuinely innovative and student-focused; we are working on projects ranging from the economic impact of the behaviour of dairy cows, to understanding crowd behaviour through modelling a zombie apocalypse, to circular Sudoku and other puzzles.

More than two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”, placing us in the top 25 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014).

“I found staff in my Department very helpful, and someone was always available to help. Since leaving Essex I have trained as accountant at A4G Accountants, and many of my modules help with my day-to-day understanding of the job. My time at Essex was the best three years of my life so far.”

Kate McGarry, BSc Financial Economics, 2012

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you by providing the option of an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year studying abroad or employed on a placement, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. Popular destinations include:

  • Bocconi Universit (Italy)
  • Monash University (Australia)
  • North Carolina University (USA)
  • Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)

Placement year

Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation, where you learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways.

Our expert staff

As well as being world-class academics, our mathematics staff are award-winning teachers. Many of our staff have won national or regional awards for lecturing, and many of them are qualified and accredited teachers – something which is very rare at a university.

The 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 lecturers and professors, 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 Essex Business School staff specialise in areas including: accounting and economic development in the public and third sectors; regulation and corporate social responsibility; finance and banking; accounting and finance in developing economies; and contemporary financial markets and their participants.

Specialist facilities

Take advantage of our extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:

  • 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

You also have access to our landmark new Essex Business School building, the first zero carbon business school in the UK. Set around a lush winter garden, the Eden-style dome will give the building its own micro-climate.

Our new building provides you with a stunning new work environment, offering:

  • A virtual trading floor with Bloomberg Terminals offering direct use of Bloomberg data, information and analytics
  • A light and spacious lecture theatre, with seating for 250 students
  • Study pods and innovation booths for group working
  • Dedicated office space for student entrepreneurs
  • Networking opportunities with visiting businesses
  • A café with an adjacent sun terrace

Your future

Clear thinkers are required in every profession, so the successful mathematician has an extensive choice of potential careers.

Our graduates are highly employable in a wide range of places, working in business, pharmaceutical industries, banking and computing among others. The Council for Mathematical Sciences offers further information on careers in mathematics.

Our recent graduates from our BSc Finance and Mathematics have found employment as:

  • Chartered accountants
  • Investment consultants
  • Accounts technicians
  • Stock lending analysts

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore 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 just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

How do consumers make decisions? Or firms conduct different market strategies? What impact does government policy have on inflation? Or unemployment? Develop your knowledge of economics in relation to a range of contemporary issues. Learn how to apply both micro and macroeconomic principles to the analysis of such problems.

How do you apply the addition rule of probability? Or construct appropriate diagrams to illustrate data sets? Learn the basics of probability (combinatorial analysis and axioms of probability), conditional probability and independence, and probability distributions. Understand how to handle data using descriptive statistics and gain experience of R software packages.

Can you perform simple operations on matrices? How do you solve systems of linear equations using row operations? Can you calculate the determinant and inverse of a matrix? Understand the basics of linear algebra, with an emphasis on vectors and matrices.

What skills do you need to succeed during your studies? And what about after university? How will you realise your career goals? Develop your transferable skills and experiences to create your personal profile. Reflect on and plan your ongoing personal development, with guidance from your personal advisor within the department.

How can interest rates be expressed in terms of different time periods? How do you apply a generalized cash flow model to analyse financial transactions? What stochastic models can be used for investment returns? Build your understanding of financial mathematics and its simple applications.

This module introduces you to finance as a subject area. You gain an overview of the financial system, instruments and markets and explore important financial concepts and problems. Topics include investment companies, return and risk and behavioural finance.

Year 2

Would you play the lottery? Should you buy smartphone insurance? When are car insurance premiums too expensive? This module further examines key concepts in modern finance theory and explores how they help to make better investment decisions. You explore probability concepts and learn how they are used to describe the risks and consequences of financial decisions. You explore how individuals decide whether risks are worth taking and how investment companies use software to minimise financial risks and maximise rewards. You explore important concepts used by investment banks and fund managers, including mean-variance analysis, net present value and pricing models.

Explore how financial theory can aid financial decision-making in corporations. You discover how to apply the value maximization principle to corporate decisions, such as investment decision, borrowing decisions, and dividend decisions.

What is the appropriate measure of risk for a particular security? How might an investor decide on the weightings of different assets in his/her portfolio? How can we identify mispriced stocks? Should you invest your savings in an actively managed fund or in a passive fund? You consider the main theories of risk and return and explore the implications of these theories for investors' decisions.

How do consumers behave in a competitive market? And what about producers? How do various imperfections affect the outcome of decentralised markets? Study the fundamental concepts and methods in microeconomics. Understand the tools and methods of analysis for economic reasoning, and develop your critical approach to economic issues and policies.

Can you recognise and manipulate simple sequences and series? Are you able to calculate Taylor series expansions? Or radii of convergence in power series? Can you change the order of integration in repeated integrals? Study a range of core mathematical techniques that have broad applicability.

What are the principles of actuarial modelling? And what are survival models? Examine how calculations in clinical trials, pensions, and life and health insurance require reliable estimates of transition intensities/survival rates. Learn how to estimate these intensities. Build your understanding of estimation procedures for lifetime distributions.

What skills do you need to succeed during your studies? And what about after university? How will you realise your career goals? Develop your transferable skills and experiences to create your personal profile. Reflect on and plan your ongoing personal development, with guidance from your personal advisor within the department.

Final year

Investigate the theoretical foundations of some widely used pricing models for securities traded in financial markets – equities, options and bonds. You gain an understanding of the theoretical foundations of these models so that you can appreciate both the usefulness and/or the weakness of these models.

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.

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.

Can you formulate an appropriate linear programming model? Are you able to solve a small linear programming problem using an appropriate version of the Simplex Algorithm? Can you use the MATLAB computer package to solve linear programming problems? Understand the methods of linear programming, including both theoretical and computational aspects.

What skills do you need to succeed during your studies? And what about after university? How will you realise your career goals? Develop your transferable skills and experiences to create your personal profile. Reflect on and plan your ongoing personal development, with guidance from your personal advisor within the department.

Gain a thorough understanding of the basic international arbitrage relationships of some basic models of exchange rate determination. You then explore topics in economics such as models of currency crisis, and the South American and East Asian Crisis, and investigate international markets from the perspective of a multinational firm, where topics such as the international cost of capital and foreign direct investment are covered.

The (mis)use of financial derivatives can potentially have catastrophic consequences for those who acquire them. And yet in recent years derivatives have become increasingly important, both for the financial sector and for the wider economy. On this course you discover how risk can be managed with the use of derivative instruments.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.


  • Teaching mainly takes the form of lectures – you study roughly two 50-minute lectures and one 50-minute class per week, per module
  • Take a mathematics careers and employability module, where you compile a portfolio of skills and experience
  • Modules delivered by experts in the field as well as guest speakers
  • Contribute and interact in lectures through the use of smart technology


  • Your final mark is a weighted combination of marks gained on coursework (eg homework problem sheets or tests) and your summer examinations
  • Assessed through traditional methods of end-of-year exams and multiple choice questions in class tests and essays
  • Plus more innovative and creative assessments include laboratory work, poster presentations, real-business case problems and group presentations
  • Your first year of study does not count towards your final degree class
  • Third-year students have the opportunity to complete a full-year or one-term project

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UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB, including Mathematics
Please note we are unable to accept A-level Use of Mathematics in place of A-level Mathematics

IB: 30 points, including Higher Level Mathematics grade 5. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C or above.

Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.

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Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have 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

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing 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.


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.


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Visit days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our visit days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your visit day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of 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. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

* Course subject to approval.