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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2019/20>Mathematical Finance (online) (MSc)

MSc Mathematical Finance (online)

Equip yourself for a career in the finance industry

Year of entry: 2019
Show year of entry: 2020


18 months part-time,
36 months part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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Find out what studying at York as a postgraduate is really like.  

Meet us

Taught entirely online, our MSc in Mathematical Finance will give you the skills you need to work in the financial sector and adapt quickly to new developments in the field.

This distance learning programme builds on the strength and success of the campus-based MSc Mathematical Finance. You'll develop your skills and competence in mathematical and quantitative finance in a flexible learning environment, suitable for a diverse range of students from across the world.

Our team of dedicated academic staff are leaders in their field, and you'll work closely with them through regular one-to-one online tutorials and supervisory sessions.

If you'd like to study this course but feel the need to revise and consolidate your mathematics background before starting, we offer an online pre-sessional course: Mathematical Foundations of Quantitative Finance

We offer two starting points per academic year. These begin on 1 September and 1 February.

Excellent textbooks and friendly tutors allowed me to master quite sophisticated mathematics and excel in most subjects. Interactive lectures just a mouse-click away provided me with opportunity to study at home, on the move, everywhere! The course is a great way to master a complex discipline for people who lead busy lives.
Valeriy, MSc Mathematical Finance (online)
Fund Management Company, Australia

Flexible learning

This course has built-in flexibility to meet the needs of distance learners from diverse backgrounds, meaning you can study when it suits you.

World-class staff

You'll be learning with internationally-respected academics who have published definitive textbooks with Cambridge University Press and Springer, introducing stochastic processes and mathematical finance to crucial modern concerns such as credit risk.

Course content

We teach in two four-month periods in each academic year; October to January and March to July. These teaching periods are each equivalent to the ten-week terms of campus-based courses. We also run two two-week induction periods for new students in September and February.

You'll complete modules to the value of 180 credits, including core taught modules and a dissertation. 

The online degree is split into four stages:

  • Induction Period
  • Certificate Stage
  • Diploma Stage
  • Dissertation Stage

You'll need to complete all four stages to achieve the MSc, but you can exit earlier with either a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma, depending on your progress.


Induction Period

  • Induction Module

The induction module carries no credits, but introduces you to the basic concepts and theories that you will be working with, as well as teaching and learning using the online system.

Certificate Stage

Diploma Stage

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


You'll be provided with a list of topics to choose from, or you can propose your own topic (subject to approval). Dissertation topics are unique for each student, and are typically based on recent publications in leading journals or preprints by leading researchers in the field of mathematical/quantitative finance.

Previous topics include:

  • Construction of martingale measures by maximizing entropy
  • Continuous time limit of the binomial model
  • Estimating volatility using ARCH models
  • Optimal investments using utility functions
  • Liquidity risk by means of VaR
  • Valuation of companies
  • Coherent risk measures
  • Conditional Value at Risk
  • Computer simulations of interest rate models

Throughout the dissertation process you'll submit drafts and received detailed written feedback. You'll have regular one-to-one meetings with your supervisor to discuss the drafts and feedback, review progress and provide advice on any problems encountered.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Use mathematical tools (stochastic analysis including stochastic differential equations, partial differential equations, optimisation techniques) as applied to pricing and hedging derivative financial securities, portfolio and management techniques.
  • Have knowledge of a range of mathematical models of financial securities: stocks, bonds (including the term structure of interest rates), and derivative securities.
  • Use mathematical techniques involved in pricing, hedging and analysis of derivative securities, in both discrete and continuous time market models; their relevance in modern financial practice.
  • Have knowledge of modern portfolio theory, efficient portfolio and risk management.
  • Know the most popular and efficient numerical methods and computational techniques (finite-difference, Monte Carlo) used in the solution of the mathematical problems arising in finance; the strengths and limitations of these methods as applied to practical contexts in finance.
  • Price and hedge a variety of derivative securities using appropriate mathematical and numerical techniques.
  • Manage and optimise investment portfolios; manage risk using a variety of risk measures and mathematical techniques.
  • Use computing software (spreadsheets, programming languages and/or symbolic computation software) to implement solutions; develop and document software.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EU/International
Part-time, distance learning (18 months)
The fee per stage is £5,860 (stage 1 - Certificate; stage 2 - Diploma; stage 3 - Masters). Each stage takes six months. Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
stage 1 fee
Part-time, distance learning (36 months)
The fee per stage is £5,860 (stage 1 - Certificate; stage 2 - Diploma; stage 3 - Masters). Each stage takes 12 months. Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
stage 1 fee

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

I found my experience with the MSc programme to be very rewarding. Taking the course helped me to make the transition into quantitative finance coming from a more natural science (mathematical biology) background. I particularly liked the focus and care with which the course approached the mathematics.
Ulrich, MSc Mathematical Finance (online)
Head of Data Analytics at Berenberg Asset Management, Germany

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

Our teaching is informed by the latest research, meaning you can focus on the latest ideas and models.

You'll make use of our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and a range of teaching methods including:

  • Online one-to-one tutorials
  • Interactive presentations
  • Discussion forums
  • Dissertations

Your regular one-to-one tutorials will make use of screen sharing and handwriting facilities to allow communication in the symbolic language of mathematics. Interactive presentations are used to describe new concepts you will have to learn and problems classes put them into practice. As well as supporting your learning online, the VLE gives you access to the wider community of staff and students in the Mathematics Department, and you'll be able to discuss modules and assignments with your peers through discussion forums.

While you're working on your project and your dissertation you'll have regular online meetings with your academic supervisor who will offer advice and support. We always aim to give you a supervisor with specialist knowledge of the area you're investigating.


No presence on campus is required, but access to suitable hardware, software and a good internet connection are necessary:


  • PC running Windows XP or later
  • Headset (or built-in microphone and speakers)
  • Internet video camera


  • A good internet connection
  • Firewall and/or other settings to allow Skype video calls
  • LyX mathematical editor with MikTeX package
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Skype
  • Microsoft Office 2007 or later

We offer a dedicated library service for distance learners and you'll have remote access to all of our relevant electronic library resources.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed by regular coursework assignments throughout each module and a recorded online viva at the end of the Certificate and Diploma stages of the programme. The coursework consists of problems and practical tasks that might require the use of software. You'll develop your subject knowledge and analytical skills as well as your ability to apply, implement and interpret theory.

In the independent study module, you'll conduct a piece of applied research. You'll continue to develop your critical reasoning and digital literacy skills, including programming. As this module is assessed with a dissertation, your training is rounded off by consistently working on your written communication skills. There is also a recorded online viva at the end of the dissertation stage.

Careers and skills

Upon successful completion of this course, you can embark on careers in trading and pricing derivative financial securities (options, futures, forwards, and the like), fund management, risk management, research and development, or pursue further study to PhD level.

Career opportunities

Our graduates go on to work in:

  • investment banks
  • hedge funds
  • insurance companies
  • stock brokerage
  • unit trusts
  • pension funds
  • corporate finance departments
  • other financial institutions worldwide

Find out more about career opportunities and alumni.

Transferable skills

  • Communicate ideas and arguments in written and oral form in a clear and rigorous manner.
  • Apply and implement results in current literature in a practical context.
The topics studied felt relevant and current, and many of the skills I picked up have become key tools in my professional life. Additionally, the study skills, discipline and time-management capabilities that were crucial to succeeding on the course have also proved invaluable for studies for subsequent professional qualifications.
Thomas, MSc Mathematical Finance (online)
Derivatives Trader, London

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer

You should hold (or expect to achieve) an honours degree at 2:1 or equivalent in Mathematics or a related subject (including certain science degrees). We will also accept a 2:2 honours degree in a mathematically-based discipline if you complete the online pre-sessional course Mathematical Foundations of 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 are looking for a minimum of two years (four semesters or six trimesters) of university level courses in mathematics. We welcome students with recent degrees as well as those with work experience in related disciplines and professions.

Guidance on international equivalents for entry qualifications.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

  • IELTS: 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 55, with no less than 51 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 169, with no less than 162 in each component
  • TOEFL: 79, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Pass in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

You can start the course in either September and February.

You should indicate whether you want to undertake the 'Fast' stream (18 months) or the 'Standard' stream (36 months). However, to allow maximum flexibility, it is possible to transfer between the streams at the end of each stage.

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Department of Mathematics