2020 applicants
Postgraduate Course

Postgraduate Diploma Mathematics and Finance

Postgraduate Diploma Mathematics and Finance

Overview

The details
Mathematics and Finance
October 2020
Full-time
9 months
Colchester Campus

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.

We are genuinely innovative and student-focused. Our research groups are working on a broad range of collaborative areas tackling real-world issues. Here are a few examples:

  • Our data scientists carefully consider how not to lie, and how not to get lied to with data. Interpreting data correctly is especially important because much of our data science research is applied directly or indirectly to social policies, including health, care and education.
  • We do practical research with financial data (for example, assessing the risk of collapse of the UK’s banking system) as well as theoretical research in financial instruments such as insurance policies or asset portfolios.
  • We also research how physical processes develop in time and space. Applications of this range from modelling epilepsy to modelling electronic cables.
  • Our optimisation experts work out how to do the same job with less resource, or how to do more with the same resource.
  • Our pure maths group are currently working on two new funded projects entitled ‘Machine learning for recognising tangled 3D objects’ and ‘Searching for gems in the landscape of cyclically presented groups’.
  • We also do research into mathematical education and use exciting technologies such as electroencephalography or eye tracking to measure exactly what a learner is feeling. Our research aims to encourage the implementation of ‘the four Cs’ of modern education, which are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
Why we're great.
  • Maths has become an indispensable tool for finance – our course allows those with a background in maths to study finance.
  • 86% of our mathematics graduates are in professional employment or further postgraduate study within six months of graduating from Essex (DLHE 2017).
  • Gain key employability skills include data analysis, use of algorithms and mathematical modelling.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

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

  • Reach your potential and enhance your chances of success with maths and statistics classes, workshops, drop-in clinics and online resources provided by the Skills for Success team
  • 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.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A 2:2 degree in one of the following subjects: Mathematics, Statistics, Operational research, Finance, Economics, Business Engineering, Computing, Biology, Physics or Chemistry.

Will consider applicants with a unrelated degree but which contained at least three modules in calculus, algebra, differential equations, probability & statistics, optimisation or other mathematical modules.

Applicants with a degree below a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language 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.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

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.

Combinatorial Optimisation

In this module you will learn what underpins the algorithms used where variables are integer and apply these algorithms to solve integer and mixed integer problems with cutting-plane algorithms.

View Combinatorial Optimisation on our Module Directory

Mathematics of Portfolios

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.

View Mathematics of Portfolios on our Module Directory

Statistical Methods

This module will enable you to expand your knowledge on multiple statistical methods. You will learn the concepts of decision theory and how to apply them, have the chance to explore “Monte Carlo” simulation, and develop an understanding of Bayesian inference, and the basic concepts of a generalised linear model.

View Statistical Methods on our Module Directory

Stochastic Processes

Ever considered becoming an Actuary? This module covers the required material for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries CT4 and CT6 syllabus. It explores the stochastic process and principles of actuarial modelling alongside time series models and analysis.

View Stochastic Processes on our Module Directory

Financial Derivatives

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.

View Financial Derivatives on our Module Directory

Research Methods

Looking to build your research capabilities? This module will equip you with the principal research tools for your postgraduate course in Mathematical Sciences, including practice in the mathematical word-processing language LaTeX.

View Research Methods on our Module Directory

Mathematics Careers and Employability

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.

View Mathematics Careers and Employability on our Module Directory

Finance and Financial Reporting (optional)

What instruments are used by companies to raise finance and manage financial risk? What is the role of financial institutions operating in financial markets? What are the techniques of financial accounting? How do you use spreadsheets in financial analysis? Examine and develop the concepts and elements of corporate finance.

View Finance and Financial Reporting (optional) on our Module Directory

Group Theory (optional)

You will study abstract algebra by developing the theory of groups. The theory will be illustrated through examples in settings that you will already have encountered in your course.

View Group Theory (optional) on our Module Directory

Bayesian Computational Statistics (optional)

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.

View Bayesian Computational Statistics (optional) on our Module Directory

Derivative Securities (optional)

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.

View Derivative Securities (optional) on our Module Directory

Asset Pricing (optional)

Gain a formal introduction to asset pricing theories and empirical findings. You review the fundamental theories of the expected utility, asset pricing kernels, and risk-neutral valuation, covering the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), and linear factor models arising from the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT). You also discuss empirical asset pricing studies.

View Asset Pricing (optional) on our Module Directory

Financial Modelling (optional)

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.

View Financial Modelling (optional) on our Module Directory

Risk Management (optional)

The recent financial crisis and credit crunch have demonstrated that risk management was too narrowly defined. In this course you examine the Value at Risk (VAR) measure of financial risk developed in the 1990s, before discussing the new post-crisis Regulatory environment.

View Risk Management (optional) on our Module Directory

Data Analytics in Finance (optional)

Big data - where datasets are so large they cannot be processed using traditional techniques – is useful to financial organisations. This module explores how to analyse big data and covers areas such as predictive analytics, risk modelling and corporate finance. You also learn about the application of data analytics in high frequency finance, fraud and personal finance.

View Data Analytics in Finance (optional) on our Module Directory

Finance Research Techniques Using Matlab (optional)

This module introduces Matlab, software commonly used in financial organisations and academia to model portfolio construction and solve banking and finance challenges. You learn how to use Matlab programming language to solve financial problems. These may include finding optimal portfolio weights, calculating and simulating derivative prices and implied volatilities, and estimating and simulating GARCH models, amongst others.

View Finance Research Techniques Using Matlab (optional) on our Module Directory

Bank Strategy and Risk (optional)

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.

View Bank Strategy and Risk (optional) on our Module Directory

Machine Learning and Data Mining (optional)

Humans can often perform a task extremely well (e.g., telling cats from dogs) but are unable to understand and describe the decision process followed. Without this explicit knowledge, we cannot write computer programs that can be used by machines to perform the same task. “Machine learning” is the study and application of methods to learn such algorithms automatically from sets of examples, just like babies can learn to tell cats from dogs simply by being shown examples of dogs and cats by their parents. Machine learning has proven particularly suited to cases such as optical character recognition, dictation software, language translators, fraud detection in financial transactions, and many others.

View Machine Learning and Data Mining (optional) on our Module Directory

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

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£6,648

International fee

£14,320

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold 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.

Applying

You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

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.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification 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, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the 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 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.

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