MSc Mathematical Finance

Start date
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
For 2021/22:
£21,960 (UK and International students)
Funding opportunities are available

This programme, taught jointly by the School of Mathematics and the Department of Economics, provides the skills that will enable technically able graduates (including in mathematics, science and engineering) to apply their quantitative training to financial analysis.


Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

Why study this course?

  • You will study at one of the handful of business schools in the UK that holds the prestigious ‘triple-crown’ accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).
  • Your employability options are vast and varied, our strong links with industry mean that rigorous undergraduate academic study is combined with a real practical focus, leading to excellent job opportunities.
  • You will join a University that is number 2 in the United Kingdom for being most frequently targeted by the country’s top employers (High Fliers Research 2020).

One option is Birmingham... I was external supervisor and reviewer of 10 MSc finance theses in PDE/FDM, MC, MLMC, UVM, ADE option pricing etc. and using C++! These were the best MSc theses I've seen for a long time, at any university. And that is not just my opinion only. The C++ and math level was excellent.

Daniel Duffy, C++ Author, trainer

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

Visit our FAQs


The programme comprises 180 credits in total (credits are given in brackets).

Term 1 (October – December)

Core Modules

  • Econometrics with Financial Applications  (15 - Term 1)
    forecasting; stochastic volatility; ARCH; GARCH; co-integration; statistical-arbitrage; non-stationarity; unit roots
  • Introduction to Quantitive Finance (10)
    options pricing; Black-Scholes; European and American options; exotic options; fixed income; binomial method; random walks
  • C++ for Finance (10 - Term 1)
    valuation system, simulation, polymorphic factory, design patterns, Boost library
  • Computational Methods and Programming (20)
  • Numerical Methods II (10)

    Interpolation methods (including piecewise polynomial), numerical integration (including Newton-Cotes and Gaussian quadrature), finite difference method for boundary-value problems, convergence acceleration and Richardson extrapolation.

  • Risk Analytics* (10)
    copulas; Value-at-Risk; expected shortfall (cVaR); mean-variance portfolio optimization; PCA; stress testing; Black-Litterman; live trading

* Alternatively, students can attend the Advanced Risk and Portfolio Management Bootcamp in advance. 

Optional Modules

  • International Banking and Finance (20)
  • Macroeconomics (20)
    Economic growth, consumption, investment, exchange rates, interest parity conditions, overshooting, speculative attacks, inflation, monetary policy.
  • Nonlinear Programming I (10)
    Optimality condition; convex set and convex function; duality theory; unconstrained optimization; constrained optimization; conjugate gradient algorithms; Newton-type algorithms; interior point algorithms; Lagrangian methods.
  • Topics in Money and Banking (10)
  • Integer Programming (10)
    Alternative formulations; optimality;  relaxation; primal and dual bounds; total unimodularity;  cut-plane algorithm; branch and bound method; network flow problems; knapsack problems; matching problem; assignment problem; set covering problem
  • Game Theory (10)
  • Conic Optimization (10)

Relevant modules for those without all the requisite undergraduate mathematics training include: PDEs, Transform Theory,  and Complex Variable Theory for Physicists.  Graduate modules offered elsewhere in the University may also be taken with the Programme Director's approval.

Term 2 (January - March)

Core Modules

Optional Modules

Relevant modules for those without all the requisite undergraduate mathematics training include: Numerical Methods in Linear Algebra, Programming. Graduate modules offered elsewhere in the University may also be taken with the Programme Director's approval.

Term 3 (May - June)

Examination Period
July - September
Dissertation (40)

Students are encouraged to pursue internships while writing their dissertations.

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.


£21,960 (UK and international students for the academic year 2021/22). Please check with the Department for the latest fees information.

Students attaining a 2.i or better on previous degrees at the University of Birmingham qualify for a 20% fee discount on the MSc.

Learn more about fees and funding

Fees for the MSc are the same for all students to ensure that we only have incentives to admit the most qualified students, regardless of nationality.  See the University's student accommodation page for information on housing. See the International Office page for information on the overall costs of a degree in Birmingham.

Scholarships and studentships

A variety of scholarships are available to help students on the MSc in Mathematical Finance fund their studies. All applicants are automatically considered for Fisher Scholarships, awarded to attract the most able students to the MSc, regardless of nationality.The Fisher Scholarships, available from 2008, have been made possible by a generous private gift from Andrew Fisher (Birmingham economics, 1982; CEO, Towry). 

Further information on funding opportunities can be found by visiting our postgraduate funding database. For scholarships with automatic eligibility, students will be informed of decisions over the summer, once final exam results are known.

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

If you're an English-resident, or EU student, you may be eligible for a loan to study a taught or research Masters in any subject. You can get up to:

  • £10,906, if your course starts on or after 1 August 2019
  • £10,609, if your course started between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019
  • £10,280, if your course started between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018

The amount you’ll get is not based on you or your family’s income. The loan is paid directly to you. You can use it for your course fees and living costs. If your course lasts for more than a year, the loan will be divided equally across each year of your course.

Detailed criteria and information regarding the application can be found on our  postgraduate funding page

  • Questions about funding? Use our Student Help knowledge base to find the answer.
Students attaining an average of at least 64% on previous degrees in Birmingham” to “Students attaining a 2.i or better on previous degrees in Birmingham.

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to eligible financial support via the Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan for the duration of their course. For more information visit the website.

You can also visit our EU Referendum information page for more information and updates.

How To Apply

Please note that applications to this programme have now closed. You may want to consider the  MSc Financial Engineering programme as an alternative.

We encourage you to apply online. The programme code for the full-time MSc in Mathematical Finance is 7006; the part-time MSc is 7007. Students are also strongly encouraged to submit by post any additional material that will help us consider their application, especially results of standardised assessments such as the GRE, (one page) CVs, and detailed descriptions of the mathematics courses that they have taken as undergraduates. Standardised assessments are particularly helpful in evaluating applicants from countries with which we are less familiar.

Monday 1 July 2020 is the application deadline for international students (Tier 4) who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2020 made after this date. The deadline for Home/EU (non-Tier 4) students is 10 September 2020.

Our Standard Requirements

A good Honours first degree (or overseas equivalent) in Mathematics or a related numerate subject such as Physics or Engineering, or an appropriate Joint Honours degree in industrial mathematics.

Learn more about entry requirements

International Requirements

International Students

Standard English language requirements apply

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English can find our English language requirements listed under Business (open the IELTS/TOEFL/PTE section). Applicants who have studied in English at the university level do not need to provide further evidence of proficiency.  The University of Birmingham offers pre-sessional English courses for students wishing to improve their English before beginning their academic studies.

A collaboration with Advanced Risk and Portfolio Management (ARPM) allows MSc students to attend ARPM’s prestigious summer ARPM Bootcamp at a discount.  Attending this class also gives an access to the ARPM Lab, an online platform that contains an extensivebody of knowledge for quantitative risk management and quantitative portfolio management. Successful completion of it exempts students from our Risk Analytics module. 

In most cases, we expect that graduates from the Masters will take positions in quantitative analysis (or similar) in major financial institutions, such as in the City. The programme also prepares you to pursue further studies in academia.

Programme Director

Dr Colin Rowat 

Dr Colin Rowat (Director, MSc Mathematical Finance, Economics) has a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge, and a Certificate in Advanced Risk and Portfolio Management from Baruch College. He is a member of the CFA Institute.

Programme news

January 2017: Birmingham extends its partnership with Advanced Risk and Portfolio Management (ARPM)

ARPM - Advanced Risk and Portfolio Management is an education company founded by Attilio Meucci. ARPM's objective is to advance and disseminate the standards for quantitative risk management and quantitative decision making.

ARPM delivers the ARPM Bootcamp, an intensive 6-day quantitative finance course for a total of 50 hours (lectures + practice sessions). The ARPM Bootcamp grants access to the ARPM Lab and provides networking opportunity with hundreds of industry practitioners. 

Students at University of Birmingham can attend the ARPM Bootcamp as an elective course, and gain credits toward the completion of their degree.  

Summer 2016: Birmingham welcomes Daniel Duffy back as an external dissertation supervisor

Daniel J. Duffy is founder of Datasim Education and Datasim Financial. He has been working in industry since 1979 in areas such as oil and gas, CAD, engineering and computational finance as programmer, designer, author and trainer. He has written more than ten books on C++, C#, Finite Difference Method applied to finance. He is the originator of the very popular Baruch College course on C++. He also supervises MSc and PhD students. Daniel Duffy has an Irish passport and lives in the Netherlands. He has a PhD in Numerical Analysis from the University of Dublin (Trinity College).

Autumn 2016: Birmingham hires Nick Webber to teach C++ for Finance

Nick Webber learnt to programme with Algol 60 and has been programming ever since. Currently he is a Principal Lecturer at De Montfort University, Leicester,  where,  amongst other things, he develops computational methods for the numerical valuation of financial derivatives.  Prior to joining DMU he was Reader in Finance at Warwick Business School.  His research focus is on Monte Carlo methods; he has also developed fast lattice methods.  He is the author of  "Interest Rate Modelling" (Wiley,  2000) and "Implementing Models of Financial Derivatives in OOP VBA" (Wiley, 2011). 

Before his academic incarnation Nick worked in system design and implementation in industry,  both in IT groups and as a consultant. He has taught computational finance in C++ and VBA for many years,  in Universities and to practitioners.  He combines a research and theory oriented perspective with a long of experience with real applications. Nick has a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Imperial College, London.

Special events

The programme gives students access to special events that will enhance their experience. Previous events include master classes in C++ for finance with Daniel J. Duffy.

"Thank you very much for the C++ training. I have worked with my student in China using C++ and API to build up a securities trading platform. This programme is over 20,000 lines. C++ is very useful. I still keep in contact with Daniel Duffy."  Zhenya Liu (Board of Directors of J.P. Morgan Futures Co., Ltd)

Guest Speakers

Students have been addressed by seminar speakers from: ABN AMRO, BetOnMarkets, BNP Paribas, CrowdAlpha, Deutsche Bank, Evolutionary Technology, Legal & General Investment Management, Marex Spectron, Morgan Stanley, npower, the Numerical Algorithms Group, the Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal London Asset Management and StreamBase.


In July 2011, we enrolled in StreamBase University, giving our students access to Streambase's complex events processing software.

Students enrolled on the MSc Mathematical Finance programmes also have access to a password-protected discussion list and wiki.

Graduates from this MSc programme will be well prepared to compete for quantitatively demanding positions in financial institutions. The degree should also prepare them for postgraduate research, either for purely academic ends or to further qualify them for work in financial institution.

Destinations of recent graduates include Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, China Jianyin Investment Securities, Deutsche Bank, the FSA, LGIM, Société Générale and

Sam Harper“The MSc has perfectly equipped me to become a Quant Risk Analyst at Deutsche: the careers advice and help is unbounded; the Risk Analytics module is unparalleled at any other top-tier university; learning from other professional quants is an experience that cannot be rivalled. An amazing program, without which I would have been unable to achieve my quant dream.”

Sam has a BSc in Mathematics from Birmingham. He was the youngest ever corporate finance Intern at Estée Lauder.

Aravind"The MSc laid the foundation for my investment banking career, giving me a strong understanding of the relevant economic theory and mathematics. Together, this allows me to understand the various products/trades used in the market today."

Aravind; Quant Developer, BNP Paribas, London.
He has a first class undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Anna University, helped code Ninja Trader and has worked as a Java developer.

kun-du"The quantitative finance that I learned are essential to my work at Changsheng Fund Management, helping me pick the right trading strategies, and conduct pre-trade analysis and post-trade consultations."

Kun Du has an undergraduate degree in Maths from Birmingham, and was a member of the Investment Society as a student. Changsheng is one of China's first and largest fund management houses.

jeremy-ridea"The MSc helped me get a summer internship with BetOnMarkets in the middle  of the credit crunch. I used my training to improve our volatility modeling, saving us hundreds of thousands of dollars; I’ve now been sent back to the UK to open up our London offices this autumn. Our teachers have been very supportive, both during the MSc and afterwards."

Jeremy is a structure for Legal & General Investment Management. His quant skills are underlaid with an undergraduate degree from the Université des Sciences Sociales in Toulouse and an MSc in Economics from the University of Leicester. 

"sanjeewaniThis MSc helped me supervise various kinds of quantitative analytical projects and give fast, yet efficient and reliable recommendations to my team. I clearly see a great difference in my overall quantitative finance knowledge and feel much more confident than the previous year."

Sanjeewani works as an Associate VP in Quant Research for Amba Research. She has a first class degree in Chemical and Process Engineering from University of Moratuwa and develops quantitative and statistical models for European and US Hedge funds.

hung-economics-2"When Ernst & Young hired me, I used my math finance degree to be allocated to projects related to quantitative finance: I'm almost the only staff member with both mathematical and economic knowledge."

Hung has an undergraduate degree is from the Singapore Institute of Management; he placed top globally on a number of his University of London external exams.

evans-sized"Mathematical Finance gave me a headstart in understanding the underlying theories of the financial sector's workings. I am able to apply many of the techniques learned in my day-to-day work at the Financial Services Authority (FSA)."

Rachel has an undergraduate degree in Maths and Music, during which she also worked as a music teacher.  She earned a distinction studying her MSc. 

Arun"The MSc equipped me to work as a market risk analyst in a commodity broking firm. The coursework and projects were structured to meet the demands of the financial services industry; those running it are approachable and helpful, taking great efforts to constantly tune it to the industry’s changing needs - making the MSc more than an academic experience."

Arun is a risk analyst at Marex Spectron. He has a first class undergraduate degree from the College of Engineering at Guindy. He worked in programming and trade support for three years prior to the MSc, and the Bank of America afterwards. 

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities