Information Booklet

MSc Financial Mathematics

For full syllabus details and module timetables, please see the Courses and Modules Page


There is major interest in the Financial Services Industry to raise the level of mathematics used in banks in applications to pricing, hedging and risk management. This brand new MSc provides students with the skills necessary in mathematics, statistics and computation for a career in this fast developing field.

The emphasis in this new programme is to develop a sense of doing “good science”, where students are encouraged to explore the nature of financial data and to use this as a strong constraint on theoretical modelling.

Programme Structure

The programme lasts for one calendar year formally starting in the last week of September. The programme is full time consisting of taught components which are usually examined in the Third Term (Monday 25 April 2016 - Friday 10 June 2016). The course is equivalent to 180 UCL credits. The programme normally consists of 4 compulsory components (60 credits), 4 optional components (60 credits), plus an individual project (60 credits). Each taught component corresponds to approximately 30 hours of lectures. 

Both compulsory and optional modules are spread over terms 1 (Monday 28 September 2015 - Friday 18 December 2015) and 2 (Monday 11 January 2016 - Wednesday 24 March 2016) with exams taking place in term 3. Please see the UCL Calendar 2015-2016 for more information.

Some components may include assessment by an element of coursework in addition to an examination. After the examinations, all students will then embark on an individual project with the submission early in September. The taught modules account for 2/3 of the final mark with the project making up 1/3.

If students are unable to, or do not wish to, complete the project element, they may register for the Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Mathematics which only covers the taught elements. They should see the MSc tutor to discuss this option. 

Programme Aims

The Masters level programme in Financial Mathematics has three main aims – to ensure that students have a knowledge of

  • statistical analysis tools sufficient to understand the probability distributions that are key observables;
  • mathematical modelling techniques embracing classical stochastic and pragmatic models;
  • computational skills necessary to implement pricing, hedging, trading and risk management tools.

Modules Available

Term 1

Compulsory modules
Optional modules

Term 2

Compulsory modules
Optional modules

Please refer to the courses and modules section of the maths department website to find out more about the modules on offer for the MSc in Financial Mathematics degree.

MATHG099 The Project

UCL FM MSc Project MATHG099

The list of available FM MSc project topics is published on the Moodle page of MATHG099 module in February each year. The students are required to agree the topic of their MSc thesis with their supervisor by the end of the second term. The projects must be completed and submitted by mid-September. The precise submission date for the FM MSc theses will be communicated to the MSc students in due course.

MSc Project Guidelines and Information

The FM MSc project MATHG099 contributes for 1/3 to the overall MSc mark, with the 8 taught components adding up to the remaining 2/3.
All students must submit two hard copies of their MSc thesis to the Mathematics Departmental Office (Room 610). Students are also required to email an electronic version of the thesis in PDF, along with any other files containing software code created for the MSc project/thesis, to

General Project Guidelines

The MSc project can range from an extensive survey and critique of existing research to the development of a new model or an extension of an existing one. Each project will be assessed taking into account where the main focus of effort lies. A component of original research is not a requirement of the project, but will be given due credit if present. A student should discuss these details with their supervisor.
Whatever the student decides with their supervisor, there are some parts that all projects should include:

  • An introduction outlining the project and giving a clear statement of the objectives of the project.
  • Details of mathematical calculations that can be checked. Where it makes the text more readable, an appendix could be used for some of the calculations.
  • Clear referencing of all material sourced, whether from books, published journals, the internet, personal communication, etc. Essentially, if it is not the student’s idea or work, it needs to be referenced. Failure to reference material may be construed as plagiarism. The college takes a firm stance on plagiarism. If in doubt the student should ask the advice of their supervisor.
  • Conclusions, including a summary of the project findings, and, where new research was carried out, a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the model/method, and possible improvements.
Style and Presentation

It is expected that the MSc thesis be written with the free LaTex typesetting software. Some marks will be awarded for the quality of the written work, including its readability, clarity of argument and overall presentation. There is no word limit for the dissertation.


It is expected that the students work independently. The supervisor is available for guidance and research advice.

Writing up

Students are strongly encouraged to leave ample time for writing-up the project. Penalties will be incurred on projects that are submitted after the deadline.

Passing the Course

To pass the MSc students must take 8 taught modules and submit a project. The pass mark for taught modules and the project are both 50%. The final weighted average is calculated as 2/3 times the mean of the 8 taught modules plus 1/3 times the project mark (all marks in %).

The normal requirements for a pass are 8 passes in the taught modules plus a pass in the project. However, 2 condoned passes (i.e. not less than 40%) of taught modules are permitted provided that the final weighted average is not less than 50% and the project is passed.

There are three possible MSc awards: Distinction, Merit and Pass

An award of Distinction will be made if the average mark for the 8 taught modules is 70% or greater; and the mark for the dissertation is 70% or greater, and there are no marks below 50%, no condoned marks, no resits, and all marks are based on first attempts.

An award of Merit will be made where the overall mark is 60% or greater, the mark for the dissertation is 60% or greater, there are no marks below 50%, no condoned marks, no resits, and all marks are based on first attempts.

An award of Pass will be made where the overall mark is 50% or greater, the mark for the dissertation is 50% or greater, and 8 taught modules have been passed with no more than two condoned marks, and with the maximum of one resit allowed per module.

Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate

Students that are not eligible for the MSc award can be offered a Postgraduate Diploma or a Postgraduate Certificate.

A Postgraduate Diploma will be offered to the students that have completed 8 taught modules (120 UCL credits) and obtained an overall average mark of 50% or greater. A maximum of 2 condoned passes (i.e. not less than 40%) is permitted.

A Postgraduate Certificate will be offered to the students that have completed 4 taught modules (60 UCL credits) and obtained an overall average mark of 50% or greater. A maximum of 1 condoned pass (i.e. not less than 40%) is permitted.

Advice and Guidance

If you have any problems or difficulties, please discuss them with a member of staff. Specific questions about mathematical problems in your courses should in the first instance be taken up with the appropriate course lecturer. For more general questions (academic, personal, financial, accommodation, etc.), you can talk with the following (see below for more details):

  • Your personal tutor
  • The MSc Tutor, Dr Andrea Macrina
  • The MSc Administrator, Mr Shamim Sobur
  • The Departamental Manager, Mrs Helen Higgins (room 611)
  • The Head of Department, Prof Robb McDonald (Room 608)
  • Any other member of staff you know

Outside the Department, there are the College support services, which include:

  • the Dean of Students (Welfare), Dr Ruth Siddall, Dean.of.Students AT
  • the UCL Union, The Rights and Advice Centre, First Floor of the Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street.
  • the UCL Counselling Service, located at 3 Taviton Street (Ground floor) (5 minute walk from the Department): students can just go along there or phone (020 7679 1487). The student counselling service provides completely confidential help on all personal issues.
  • out of hours support: UCL works in partnership with Care First to provide an out-of-hours and information, support and counselling telephone line for UCL students.
  • the advisor to women students – appointments can be made through the Dean of Students Office (020 7679 4545).

If you become unhappy with your programme of study, or feel that you are falling behind and cannot cope, or are experiencing other problems, it is very important that you contact the Course Director, Dr Andrea Macrina (or another member of staff of the Department) straightaway. These difficulties can often be resolved but it is much easier if they are dealt with promptly (this is true regardless of whether you need some help to continue with the course, wish to change course, or even to give up the course).

If you experience racial or sexual harassment, please discuss it with someone from the list above. More details on this are given on the UCL Current Students Support pages.

Teaching and Learning

 The primary method of teaching and learning in the MSc is by means of lectures, reinforced by coursework, self-study, and in some cases computer classes. There is also a substantial project component for the MSc.

Student assessment of lectures

Students are asked at the end of each Mathematics course to fill in an anonymous questionnaire on their assessment of the course. The forms will be analysed, and the summary of results posted on the noticeboard in the Student Common Room.

Reading weeks

Mathematics Department lectures and problem classes will not take place during the ‘reading weeks’ of 9-13 November 2015 or 15-19 February 2016. These weeks provide a time to go through what you have studied so far and make sure you understand it. Important: if you are taking courses from other departments, such lectures may continue during the reading weeks. Certain other activities may also take place during reading week.

Coursework: problem sheets

In some courses regular coursework is set. In most courses, this consists of problem sheets given out to be completed and handed in a week later. This is a very important part of the course - working on problems is one of the best ways of getting a good understanding of the topics (as well as learning how to solve problems!). Requirements for each course may vary; students should check individual course units.

Keeping coursework

Please note that you should keep all your returned marked coursework: you may be required to re-submit them for scrutiny at the end of the year. You will also find your coursework useful when you come to revise.

Co-operation and plagiarism

Plagiarism, which includes copying the work of other students, or copying from books, research papers or websites without proper acknowledgment and citation, is strictly forbidden, and could lead to severe penalties. When you are working on a problem, it may well be helpful to discuss it with other students, and indeed you may sometimes be asked to work in groups. However, you must write the work up independently and on your own. All written project work should be carefully referenced to acknowledge sources of information. Students will be required to submit both hard and electronic copies of their written work and you should be aware that, if deemed necessary, a project will be submitted to the Turnitin plagiarism detection system for evaluation.
Please also read the entry on Plagiarism on the UCL Current Students pages.

Office hours

The lecturer for each course will allocate an office hour each week, when they will normally be available in their office to answer questions on the course. This time will be advertised on the office doors. A list of lecturers with their room numbers is given above; you can also find photographs of members of staff in the Student Common Room, Room 502.


Assessment is predominantly by formal written exams, held in the Third Term (Monday 25 April 2015 until Friday 10 June 2016). Some courses have a coursework component (e.g.10%). It is necessary to attend the lectures and complete the coursework satisfactorily in order to pass a course. If inadequate coursework is attempted, you may be considered to be "Not complete" and withdrawn from the exam, resulting in automatic failure in that course. The normal criterion for coursework to be considered adequate is that you make a reasonable attempt at a minimum of 50% of the coursework sheets. Please also note the section on Examinations later in this booklet and the information on the UCL Current Students Exams pages.


You are expected to be available to attend classes during all of term time, and therefore to attend all lectures, problem classes, etc. If your attendance is very poor, you may be asked to leave the MSc course.

Absence due to illness or other unavoidable cause

If you have to be absent for a period of more than 2 days, please let the Mathematics Departmental Office know (telephone:020 7679 1373). If your absence is longer than a week, please see the MSc Tutor when you return to college, providing a doctor's note if relevant.

Library, Computing and other resources


UCL has a substantial collection of Mathematics books in the library. The Mathematics collection is on the 3rd floor of the Science Library in the DMS Watson Building, at the south end of college. There may be relevant material, particularly in applied mathematics, elsewhere in the Science Library. It is worthwhile getting to know about the facilities of the library.

Computing facilities

MSc students from the Mathematics Department have access to computers provided for their use in Room 503 (Maths Student Study Room). There are also various workstation cluster rooms around college which are available for general student use.

The Graduate Hub

A new space for graduates to meet on central campus, comprising a seminar room for group discussion and presentations, a breakout space with integrated kitchenette, and a common room. The room is located in the South Wing basement opposite the Print Room Cafe. OPENING HOURS: 24-7

DMS Graduate Cluster Area

A PC cluster for graduates has been set up in the Science Library (DMS Watson building) alongside other clusters.

Research Grid

The Research Grid is on the 4th floor of the Science Library.

Departmental Office

The Mathematics Department general office is Room 610.


UCL has Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) connected to a service called Print@UCL, which allows staff and students to photocopy, print and scan. For further details, please see Where can I find a student print, scan, copy device?

UCL students are allocated £12 of free credit at the start of the academic year, after which, they need to pay for additional credit online or via an onsite case loader. Other users need to purchase credit from a cash loader. Please see Student print charging for more information.

Student Common Room and Study Room

Room 502 is a student common room. Please note that Room 502 will at times be unavailable for students due to Department events taking place e.g. Open Days for new students, reception events, etc. Notices will be displayed outside Room 502 to inform staff/students of these events. Room 503 is a study room intended for working quietly. Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the department.

Important Note: Please do not leave your belongings unattended, the doors of Room 502 and 503 should always be closed and the Digilocks operative.


Lockers are provided in Room 503 on a first-come-first-served basis. A refundable cash deposit of £30 is required in order to get a key for a locker. Please should see the one of the administrators in the Mathematics Departmental Office (Room 610) with your cash deposit if you would like a locker, where you will be given a key and a receipt for your deposit. The cash deposit will be returned when the key and the deposit receipt is returned to the Departmental Office.

All lockers must be emptied and all keys must be returned by the end of Term 3. You cannot leave anything in lockers over the summer. Any items found in any lockers after the end of the Summer Term will be disposed of.

Any unclaimed deposits will be donated to the Student Hardship Fund at the end of the summer.

Informal use of lecture rooms on 7th floor

If unoccupied, you may use these for quiet study, but you must leave promptly if asked to do so.


Any physical mail that comes for you will be put in the student pigeonholes in Room 502. This includes anything from members of staff, library etc. Please check the pigeonholes in Room 502 regularly.


Although we endeavour to update the information on the website regularly, further details of all courses, including tutorials, exams, any change of time of classes, are placed on the information boards on the 5th and 6th floors.

E-mail and web page

Please check your email regularly, and also look at notices on the departmental web-page. The Department will send all important information to your main UCL account only.

Mathematics Society

There is a student Mathematics society, called the ADM Society, which organizes events in the Department, publishes a newsletter, etc.

Mathematics Department Staff Student Consultative Committee

This is a committee made up of representatives from the undergraduate and postgraduate students (chosen by election) and from the staff of the Department, which meets twice a year, approximately in the middle of the Spring and Autumn. It provides a forum for students to raise issues relating to the course or the Department. Some issues may be dealt with immediately informally; others may be referred to the Departmental Teaching Committee or the Head of Department. The minutes are posted on the Student Common Room noticeboard, and also go to staff in the Department and to the College Staff Student Committee as well as the Dean of the Faculty.


General Information

The examinations are normally set by the lecturer for the course, checked by a second internal examiner and also by a Visiting (or External) Examiner (from outside the college). Student scripts are similarly marked by the two internal examiners, and the marking checked by the Visiting Examiner. Examination scripts are marked anonymously. Recommendations about the results of individual courses and degrees awarded are made by the Taught Postgraduate Courses in Mathematics Board of Examiners to the College Board, which makes the final decisions. The Taught Postgraduate Courses in Mathematics Board of Examiners includes the MSc internal Examiners and Visiting Examiners.

Extenuating Circumstances

If there are any circumstances which affect your performance, either during the period of study or during the exam period, and which you would like taken into account, you should discuss this with the MSc Tutor as early as possible. If the issue relates to an examination then you should inform the MSc Tutor no later than 7 days after the exam. Typical circumstances which might be taken into account are serious or prolonged illness, disability or bereavement. Documentation is normally required (e.g. doctor's note). Information will be kept confidential and special circumstances will be discussed by a small committee of examiners.

Missing exams due to illness or other unavoidable cause

If you miss an examination due to illness or some other unavoidable cause, please inform a member of staff, preferably the MSc Tutor, as soon as possible. The MSc Tutor should be given a doctor's note if the absence is due to illness, and any possible documentary evidence supporting absences due to other reasons.

Withdrawal from examinations

If you wish to apply to withdraw from some or all your examinations, you must do so before the end of the first week of the summer term. You will need to see the MSc Tutor, and fill in a form for approval by the Faculty Tutor. Withdrawal after this date is only permitted in exceptional circumstances, namely ill health supported by a medical certificate or the death of a near relative.

The examinations

The timetable for the examinations is usually published mid-March, and shortly afterwards you will be able to access your personal exam timetable through PORTICO. Before the exams start, please check your timetable for the dates, times and locations of your examinations. It is your responsibility to turn up to the right place at the right time with the right equipment (usually just pens, your personal exam timetable and your ID for a Mathematics examination). You will be provided with a candidate number through the post - please make sure that you have this number with you, as it must be entered on your script. The candidate number is a mixture of capital letters and digits, and should not be confused with your student number. Your seat number also has to be entered on the script (this will change for each exam). Please make sure that you read and follow instructions on the paper. It is important to write legibly. Calculators are not permitted in most Mathematics exams and where used elsewhere they must be of UCL standard type as sold in the UCL shop (these are unable to store characters). In some cases past papers will be available in the UCL Library Digital Collection.

Marking Criteria

Please click here to download the Making Criteria (PDF file).

Cheating and plagiarism

Cheating or attempts to cheat may lead to serious consequences, including the degree not being awarded. Unless you are explicitly informed otherwise, you are not allowed to take any written material into the examination - for example, you are not allowed to write formulae on your timetable, which you take into the examination. Please also see information on plagiarism on the UCL Current Students pages.


Once the provisional exam results are processed, the MSc tutor will contact students by email to arrange to discuss their performance. Students should therefore make sure that they can be contacted after the examinations are finished. This is particularly important for anyone who has failed examinations and may prefer not to proceed to the project component.
The Examiners’ Meeting to finalise the marks usually takes place in early October. The marks will then be entered on PORTICO for students to access.

Graduation ceremony

The graduation ceremony (for students who have completed their degree) normally takes place in early September (so the following year for MSc students). Arrangements for this are made by the Registry, and not the Department, and you should receive your application form for places from the Registry, which you must return by the specified date if you wish to attend. Transcripts are also provided by the Registry, and not the Department.


You can normally retake any examination you have failed or been absent from the following year (unless you have graduated). You must re-enter at the first possible opportunity (usually one year later). You cannot retake any examination you have passed.

Please note that students will normally be allowed only one retake of any failed examination.


If you are unhappy with your results or any aspect of your course in the first place please discuss your concerns with the MSc Tutor. If you then wish to pursue matters further, there are procedures for formal appeals. You should first contact the MSc Tutor or the MSc Programme Director, Dr Andrea Macrina. You should also consult the UCL current student pages on the Registry website. You may also contact the following:

UCL Registrar: Ms Wendy Appleby
Academic Registrar’s Office
UCL Registry
University College London
Gower Street
Tel: 020 7679 3203

MAPS Faculty Tutor: Dr Caroline Essex
MAPS Faculty Office
1st floor,
South Wing,
Gower Street
Email: c.essex AT

UCL Students’ Union
The Rights and Advice Centre,
First Floor of the Bloomsbury Theatre,
15 Gordon Street,
Tel: 020 7679 2998

Paying Fees

All new postgraduate students who have not provided proof of sponsorship, or payment of at least the first installment of fees, will be provisionally enrolled. Provisional enrolment usually expires on 31 October. Students who have not paid or provided proof of sponsorship will be deregistered after this date.

New students with a UK address will have their invoices sent out to them, those with only an overseas address will be able to collect an invoice at enrollment. Returning students will have had their invoices sent to their home addresses during the summer.

Students can pay fees online whether they have a UCL Login or if they do not have a UCL Login. For full details please login and you will be given instructions on how to pay within the on line enrolment facility. Alternatively fees can be paid in the Registry, Room G19, Ground Floor, South Wing, Main Campus. There will be no facility for staff to gain authorisation on any card payments that require it and we ask that students contact their card issuers prior to payment to ensure no authorisation will be requested.
Information relating to tuition fees including fee levels, instalment forms, bank transfer instructions and credit card forms can be found on the UCL website.