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Course content

The course provides you with a strong mathematical background with the skills necessary to apply your expertise to the solution of real finance problems. You will develop skills so that you are able to formulate a well posed problem from a description in financial language, carry out relevant mathematical analysis, develop and implement an appropriate numerical scheme and present and interpret these results.

The course lays the foundation for further research in academia or for a career as a quantitative analyst in a financial or other institution.

You will take three introductory courses in the first week. The introductory courses cover partial differential equations, probability and statistics and MATLAB.

The first term focuses on compulsory core material, offering 80 hours of lectures and 40 hours of classes/practical. The core courses are as follows:

  • Stochastic Calculus
  • Financial Derivatives
  • Numerical Methods I - Monte-Carlo
  • Numerical Methods I - Finite Differences
  • Statistics and Financial Data Analysis
  • Financial Programming with C++ 1

In the second term, three streams are offered; each stream consists of 32 hours of lectures and 16 hours of classes/practical. The Tools stream is mandatory and you will also take either the Modelling stream or the Data-driven stream.

Modelling stream

  • Exotic derivatives
  • Stochastic volatility, jump diffusions
  • Commodities
  • Fixed income

Data-driven stream

  • Asset pricing and inefficiency of markets
  • Market microstructure and trading
  • Algorithmic trading
  • Advanced financial data analysis
  • Machine learning
  • Python

Tools stream

  • Numerical methods 2 - Monte Carlo methods
  • Numerical methods 2 - Finite differences
  • Calibration
  • Optimisation
  • Introduction to stochastic control

As well as the streams, the course includes a compulsory one-week (24 hours of lectures) intensive module on quantitative risk management which is to be held in/around the week before the third term.

The third term is dedicated to a dissertation project which is to be written on a topic chosen in consultation with your supervisor.

The second component of the financial computing course, Financial Computing with C++ 2 (24 hours of lectures and practicals in total), is held shortly after the third term.

The examination will consist of the following elements:

  • two written examinations and one take-home project, each of two hours' duration - the written examinations will cover the core courses in mathematical methods and numerical analysis
  • a written examination on the Modelling stream or a written examination and a computer-based practical examination on the Data-driven stream
  • a written examination assessing the Tools stream
  • a take-home project assessing the course in quantitative risk management
  • two practical examinations assessing two courses in financial computing with C++.

Graduate destinations

MSc graduates have been recruited by prominent investment banks and hedge funds. Many past students have also progressed to PhD-level studies at leading universities in Europe and elsewhere.

Visit the Mathematical and Computational Finance page on the University of Oxford website for more details!




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