MSc in Mathematical Finance (online distance learning)

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This distance learning programme builds on the strength and success of the campus-based taught MSc Mathematical Finance at the University of York. The online MSc was launched in September 2009 to run alongside the campus-based programme.

Applications are invited for the intake of students in September or February. Candidates should submit their application at least two weeks before an intake is due to start.

A online Pre-sessional Programme is available for candidates who need to strengthen or consolidate their mathematics background before embarking on the MSc. Such candidates need to apply at least three months before an MSc intake is due to start.

Online students will be developing skills and competence in Mathematical and Quantitative Finance which are of direct relevance in the field of work, and can open up fantastic employment and progression opportunities. Please see the Careers section.

The online programme has built-in flexibility to meet the needs of distance learners from diverse backgrounds:

  • City and other professionals, who wish to pursue a postgraduate degree programme without disrupting their career commitments;
  • Individuals, companies and professional organisations seeking suitable Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses;
  • Recent university graduates who need to support themselves or their families while continuing their studies to postgraduate level;
  • Students who find it difficult to attend a campus-based programme because of a variety of reasons such as family care commitments or disability;
  • Overseas students who seek a degree in Mathematical Finance from a leading British university but prefer to pursue their studies from their home country.

Course outline

The distance learning programme is delivered online using Internet conferencing and application sharing software and a web-based Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

A distinctive feature are regular one-to-one ("Oxbridge style") online tutorials and supervisory sessions. For more details see the Online teaching and learning section.

Interactive presentations are provided on CDs and for downloading via the VLE in lieu of lectures, supported by lecture notes, worked exercises, synchronous one-to-one online tutorials and an asynchronous discussion forum. Please see a demonstration of the VLE and a CD presentation sample:

No presence on campus is required, but access to suitable hardware, software and a good internet connection are necessary pre-requisites. Please see the Software and hardware section.

The online MSc programme consists of three stages: Certificate, Diploma and Dissertation, preceded by a brief Induction Module. The programme structure section provides the contents and specifications for the modules comprising each of these stages.

There are two four-month teaching periods in each academic year, 1 October - 31 January and 15 March - 15 June, and two intakes per year, in September and February. Completing the online MSc can take from 18 months (Fast Stream) to 36 months (Standard Stream). Transfers between the two streams are possible between stages. The Timing and Pathways section provides more details.

Students have remote access to electronic library resources, and full pastoral and study support including a personal supervisor and a dissertation supervisor; see Library Services for Distance Learners.

Assessment is by means of written coursework submitted electronically and a recorded online Viva Voce (an oral examination) held at the end of each of the three stages (Certificate, Diploma, Dissertation) of the programme. 

Entry requirements

We require either:

  • an undergraduate (BSc) degree equivalent to a class 2:1 or higher UK degree in a mathematically based discipline
  • or an undergraduate (BSc) degree equivalent to a class 2:2 or higher UK degree in a mathematically based discipline and completing the online pre-sessional course "Mathematics for Quantitative Finance" with a final grade of at least 60%.

Mathematically based disciplines include Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics or Enginneering, but candidates with a sufficiently strong mathematical background from other areas such as Biology, Economics or Finance will also be considered.

We welcome applications from candidates with postgraduate degrees (for example, MSc, MBA, PhD) either in a mathematical subject or in a finance related subject combined with sufficient mathematical background.

Each applicant will be assessed individually to ensure that his/her mathematical background is appropriate. We are looking for a minimum of two years (four semesters or six trimesters) of university level courses in mathematics, including calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, with good marks. We offer a distance learning Pre-Sessional Programme for candidates who need to strengthen or consoliate their mathematics before starting the MSc.

Professional experience is also taken into account when assessing applications. In particular, professional experience in quantitative finance is considered a strong advantage, which can compensate to some extent for the lack of formal mathematical training.

Overseas students would also need to demonstrate a good command of English; please refer to Language Requirements.