Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents (CCFEA)

Postgraduate Study

Innovative training in finance

Our ground-breaking Masters courses (MSc Computational Finance, MSc Algorithmic Trading and MSc Financial Technology (Computer Science)) and the established CCFEA Doctoral programme (leading to a PhD in Computational Finance) deliver rigorous training in the principles of quantitative finance and microeconomics along with computational skills for:

  • use of computational-intelligence methods
  • agent-based modelling of financial markets
  • design and testing of market micro structure
  • risk management and financial engineering
  • artificially intelligent adaptive and reinforced learning techniques, heuristic optimisation and evolutionary computation.

If you would like more information about any of our courses before making your application, please contact us.

Masters Courses

If you've got a quantitative background, our Masters courses give you advanced specialist training in computational finance. You'll receive practical hands-on instruction with a focus on problem-solving skills that equip you for high-flying careers.

We offer three specialist one-year taught Masters courses in computational finance. You'll study a number of taught modules and then complete a dissertation project focused on the computational implementation of financial models.

Each of our courses is highly cross-disciplinary and involves some elements of programming, statistics and mathematics with the particular emphasis depending on the course you choose. All of our Masters courses can be taken on a full or part-time basis.

For our MSc Computational Finance and MSc Algorithmic Trading you'll need a quantitative background but no previous financial or computing knowledge is assumed.

MSc Computational Finance

This course will equip you with the core concepts and mathematical principles of modern quantitative finance, along with the operational packages (mainly Matlab) for financial modelling. As well as traditional topics in derivatives and asset pricing, we emphasise risk management in non-Gaussian environments with extreme events.

You'll need a first degree in a quantitative subject such as computer science, mathematics, statistics, physics, economics or finance. However, no finance or computing background is assumed.

View our MSc Computational Finance course

MSc Algorithmic Trading

Algorithmic trading focuses on real-time trading activities in an electronic exchange system. Financial 'tick-by-tick' data sets provide deep insights into the price formation process at the microstructure level and have been used to study topics such as price discovery, order choice behaviour of market participants and optimal order placement strategy. This course will equip you with both the core concepts and quantitative methods in high-frequency finance and the operational skills to use state-of-the-art computational methods for financial modelling.

You'll need a first degree in a quantitative subject such as computer science, mathematics, statistics, physics, economics or finance.

View our MSc Algorithmic Trading course

MSc Financial Technology (Computer Science)

Financial Technology (also known as FinTech) is increasingly important in financial and economic organisations. The impact of technology such as robo-advisors for personal investments, mobile banking apps, and cryptocurrency, cannot be underestimated.

As a result there is a growing need for financial institutions to recruit staff with expertise in FinTech. Our Masters course will give you the skills to apply advanced computing methods to the world of finance, covering areas including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. Alongside the computer science side, you will explore economics and business aspects of Fintech.

View our MSc Financial Technology course

Postgraduate Research

We offer postgraduate research supervision in the following areas:

  • Machine Learning in the Financial Domain
  • The use of computational-intelligence methods for investment decision making
  • Incentives in Financial Networks (Algorithmic Game Theory)
  • Blockchain

We offer Computational Finance as an MSD, MPhil or PhD. If you're interested in undertaking research in one of these areas and have a good Masters degree in a related subject we'd like to hear from you.

Your future

A number of our students have had internships with prestigious City institutions such as HSBC, Old Mutual and the Bank of England. Our students also have the opportunity to learn from and interact with industry experts during an established Expert Lecture Series.

Our PhD students are encouraged and supported to attend international conferences and summer schools.

Advisors at our Employability and Careers Centre will be available to help you with all aspects of planning your career, including application techniques and interview skills.

Real-world skills

Studying in our intellectually challenging and socially vibrant atmosphere, you'll take away problem solving skills from practical instruction which will equip you for a high flying career.

You'll gain skills from different disciplines such as programming, statistics and maths, depending on which course you choose. Our cross-disciplinary structure gives you a wide-ranging sphere of experience during your time at Essex.

Some of the skills students gain from our courses:

  • High-frequency finance
  • Computational methods for financial modelling
  • Modelling trading strategies and predictive services
  • Financial software engineering
  • Quantitative finance

Diverse options

Previous students have gone on to become quantitative analysts, portfolio managers and software engineers at various institutions including major investment banks such as HSBC and Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

Our extensive network of industrial contacts gives you the chance to work with leading figures from industry, as well as gaining and developing a solid set of skills for your career.


The University runs an Alumni card which gives you access to events and benefits on and off our campuses.

We'd love to hear what you're doing now and so would our prospective students to help find out what an Essex degree might do for them. You can complete our graduate profile questionnaire or keep your alumni record up to date so you can receive the University's alumni e-newsletter.

Get in touch
Postgrad Enquiries