Postgraduate Research Finder

PhD Computational Finance

Location: Colchester
Duration: 3 Years
Tuition fee: Find out using our fee pages
Funding available: Find out using our scholarship finder
Further information: For more information, please e-mail us or see for yourself by booking a place at one of our open days

About PhD Computational Finance

We offer research supervision for our PhD Computational Finance in the following fields: agent-based modelling of financial markets; computational risk management; high-frequency finance; and the use of computational-intelligence methods for investment decision making. We provide a vibrant research environment so our PhD students publish papers in prestigious international conferences and often attract the attention of industry and government; one of our PhD students was recently invited to present their research on term structure models to the Bank of England and many others get the opportunity to directly apply their research through internships at investment banks and hedge funds.

Our graduates have gone on to become quantitative analysts, portfolio managers and software engineers at various institutions, including major investment banks like HSBC and Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

Please note, part-time research study is also available.

Why study PhD Computational Finance at Essex?

Our Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents is an innovative and laboratory-based teaching and research centre, with an international reputation for leading-edge, interdisciplinary work combining economic and financial modelling with computational implementation.

We are supported by Essex’s highly rated Department of Economics, School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, and Essex Business School. Our research is geared towards practical applications, and many of our academic staff have experience of applying their findings in industry and in advising the UK government.

Our facilities

Our Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents is based within our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

Our School provides six laboratories exclusively for computing and electronic systems students. LOur University is served by a Gigabit Ethernet LAN and you have free access to the internet, web and e-mail from all workstations. Our School has its own Gigabit backbone and standard network connectivity is 100Mbit/second. The specifications are kept up-to-date by renewing the machines on a rolling basis, and new systems are close to the highest specification possible at the time of purchase to cope with the computational demands of the latest application development environments. Two of our labs are open for 24 hours a day including weekends and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress. Our labs are managed by an experienced and dedicated team of technical support staff who can assist you - for example, advising on how to overcome programming problems.

Our BCI Lab comprises 70m² and is divided in four experimental areas, one of them being shielded against EM interference, and is one of the best equipped facilities for non-invasive BCI research in Europe. Our equipment includes: five EEG systems (two Biosemi ActiveTwo systems, 64 and 128 channels, respectively; two 32-channel gTec systems, and a 24-channel Mindset system), a 24-channel near infra-red system, a 16-channel Nexus EMG system (plus 8-channels for other physiological signals), a Jazz eye tracker, a MagStim BitStim transcranial magnetic stimulation system, many Biometrics Ltd electrogoniometers and accelerometers, two Edubot robotic manipulators, three Lego NXT robots, three virtual reality systems, and four Bionics electrically-controlled medical chairs, aside from the necessary computer equipment to interface with the above devices. We also have a 182-processor Viglen/Rocks cluster dedicated to our research.

Our Brooker Robotics Lab (a PC environment with 30 dual boot PCs) is equipped with about 25 mobile robots (of three different types) and ten miniature 'intelligent' rooms, and is used for intelligent embedded systems and robotics work. A range of specialist software is used, most notably a cross-development system called Tornado (the latest version of VxWorks: the software used in the recent Pathfinder project for the Mars Explorer vehicle) for developing embedded systems.

Our Robot Arena is a 100m² laboratory with a six metre ceiling height for flying robots. It has one of the world largest powered lab floors for long duration experiments of mobile robots. Our Robot Arena features a range of dedicated robotic equipment including a state-of-the-art 3D motion tracking system.

Our video studio has facilities for both live television production and video recording. It is equipped with three SONY High Definition cameras (with another two available for location shoots), an 8-channel Panasonic video mixer, an 8-channel DigiDesign digital audio mixer with ProTools software, a talkback system and a 12-channel lighting rig with a Tempo 12 controller. Blue screen facilities are available to support chroma-keying in either live broadcasts or post-production. Post-production facilities include PCs supporting the Adobe video suite (Audition, After Effects, Premiere Pro and Encore) as well as five professional AVID Composer editing workstations.

We support a dedicated seminar room/digital theatre designed especially to augment our courses in audio engineering and multimedia. This space is equipped with state-of-the-art high performance multi-channel sound and large-screen video projection that can be driven either from DVD or by a dedicated PC linked to our campus network. Consequently, our lecturers can present PowerPoint or PDF lecture slides, video clips and Internet sites, as well as demonstrate high-quality video linked to a DVD source. This facility supports both software demonstrations by connecting a lecturer's laptop to the projector and enables video conferencing to other teaching and research organizations. The 1.4 kW, 7-channel audio system employs high-end loudspeakers manufactured by Bowers and Wilkins that are supplemented by two self-powered sub-woofers each with 1 kW of amplification. Front-end electronics located in a dedicated control room supports most multi-channel audio formats including SACD, DVD-audio, Dolby AC-3, DTS and, of course, standard CD.

Our Embedded Systems Laboratory provides software and hardware facilities for the design, construction and prototyping of a variety of embedded system solutions. The primary focus is to provide an environment where ARM based embedded systems can be prototyped and tested as part of a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Sixteen dedicated, dual screen, workstations are provided together with a range of state of the art test equipment to support the development process. In addition a number of soldering stations are provided to enable the construction of custom designed hardware. Such hardware will be designed by you as part of the courses you undertake.

Our electronics laboratory is equipped with a standard set of modern bench equipment. The oscilloscopes are linked to networked PCs so that our students can capture waveforms from circuits under test and save the captured waveforms to their own personal networked disk space, from where they can later retrieve the saved waveforms for use in technical reports. The networked PC can also be used to access online lecture notes, and manufacturer's data sheets and catalogues on the Internet (and of course any other handy information on the Internet, such as tutorials, encyclopaedia articles, online library resources, that may be useful while working on a laboratory assignment or project work). Of course, there are also soldering irons and other wiring equipment, plus a stock of electronic components.

Our teaching in networking requires you to configure and experiment with networks, which is, of course, not allowed in normal teaching laboratories. Therefore we have a specialised laboratory designed so that you can reconfigure the networking. This lab has 32 workstations, which are PCs with demountable hard disks. Once you have been issued with a disk, you are able to act as administrator/super user and install and configure not only the operating system (usually Windows XP or Redhat Fedora Linux), but also server software, networking software or anything else. The physical configuration of the network in the lab can also be modified by our students.

Location: Colchester
Duration: 3 Years
Tuition fee: Find out using our fee pages
Funding available: Find out using our scholarship finder
Further information: For more information, please e-mail us or see for yourself by booking a place at one of our open days

Introduction

A research degree gives you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.

As a research student at Essex, you’ll work at the heart of our internationally-acknowledged and well-connected research community. We offer world class supervision and training opportunities, and encourage you to engage with other researchers, professionals, practitioners and research users, where possible. Our research is supported by a wide spectrum of UK research councils, EU framework programmes, public-sector organisations and departments, charities, and private-sector industry and businesses. Engagement with these external funders and stakeholders enriches the quality and relevance of your experience and training.

Your supervisor

Within CCFEA, our PhD students are normally jointly supervised by academic staff in two of our constituent departments, in order to give you an interdisciplinary perspective to your topic of research.

How you will study

The aim of undertaking your PhD within CCFEA is to become trained as am independent researcher who can critically assess other research work, and have a comprehensive knowledge of their subject area.

Our PhD programme is usually three to four years duration and all our students are initially registered as Mphil/PhD students, then transferred to the PhD in the first half of their second year of study if they have made satisfactory progress. In your second and third years, you work towards your PhD.

Finalising your PhD

Within CCFEA, your PhD thesis is generally completed within three to four years and has a length of around 80,000 words.

Your PhD is awarded after your successful defence of your thesis in an oral examination, in which you are interviewed about your research by two examiners, at least one of whom is from outside Essex.

Seminars and conferences

Within CCFEA, we host advanced workshops and seminars by experts in the area of computational finance and economics, so you have the opportunity to attend lectures given by practitioners, including senior staff from HSBC, Olsen Ltd, Royal Bank of Scotland and the Financial Services Authority.

Location: Colchester
Duration: 3 Years
Tuition fee: Find out using our fee pages
Funding available: Find out using our scholarship finder
Further information: For more information, please e-mail us or see for yourself by booking a place at one of our open days

Career destination

Graduates of our Centre have gone on to become quantitative analysts, portfolio managers and software engineers at various institutions, including major investment banks like HSBC and Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

We have an extensive network of industrial contacts through our City Associates Board and our alumni, while our expert seminar series gives you the opportunity to work with leading figures from industry. A number of our students have held internships with prestigious City institutions, such as HSBC, Old Mutual and the Bank of England.

Support for postgraduates

Our University of Essex has a range of support services designed to help you to achieve your full potential and get the most out of your studies. These form a co-ordinated network of support, and are an important part of your overall student experience at Essex.

Our staff operate an 'open door' policy so are available to discuss any concerns with you throughout the year.

Location: Colchester
Duration: 3 Years
Tuition fee: Find out using our fee pages
Funding available: Find out using our scholarship finder
Further information: For more information, please e-mail us or see for yourself by booking a place at one of our open days

For research study within CCFEA, we normally require a good Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. A well developed research proposal is also essential.

If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

Location: Colchester
Duration: 3 Years
Tuition fee: Find out using our fee pages
Funding available: Find out using our scholarship finder
Further information: For more information, please e-mail us or see for yourself by booking a place at one of our open days

Click here to apply for this PhD