Postgraduate study

Financial Modelling and Optimization MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Placements/internships

This programme gives you a flexible syllabus to suit the demands of employers that use modern financial tools and optimization techniques in areas such as the financial sector and energy markets.

We will give you sound knowledge in financial derivative pricing, portfolio optimization and financial risk management.

We will also provide you with the skills to solve some of today’s financial problems, which have themselves been caused by modern financial instruments. This expertise includes modern probability theory, applied statistics, stochastic analysis and optimization.

Adding depth to your learning, our work placement programme puts you at the heart of financial organisations such as Moody's Analytics, Standard Life Investment and Lloyds Banking Group.

This programme involves two taught semesters of compulsory and option courses, followed by a dissertation project. You must obtain a total of 180 credits to be awarded the MSc. Over semesters 1 and 2, you will take a number of compulsory courses and optional courses. Successful performance in these courses (assessed through coursework or examinations or both) allows you to start work on a three-month dissertation project worth 60 credits, possibly with one of our industry partners, for the award of the MSc degree.

Compulsory courses:*

  • Discrete-Time Finance (10 credits, S1)
  • Stochastic Analysis in Finance (20 credits, S1)
  • Fundamentals of Optimization (10 credits, S1)
  • Research-Linked Topics (10 credits, full-year)
  • Finance, Risk and Uncertainty (10 credits, S1)
  • Risk-Neutral Asset Pricing (10 credits, S2)
  • Numerical Probability and Monte Carlo (10 points, S2)
  • Optimization Methods in Finance (10 credits, S2)

Optional courses:

  1. Operations Research and Mathematical Finance courses:
  • Financial Risk Theory (10 credits, S1)
  • Computing for Operational Research and Finance (10 credits, S1)
  • Fundamentals of Operational Research (10 credits, S1)
  • Stochastic Control and Dynamic Asset Allocation (10 credits, S2)
  • Credit Scoring (10 credits, S2)
  • Financial Risk Management (10 credits, S2)
  • Risk Analysis (5 credits, S2)
  • Stochastic Modelling (10 credits, S2)
  1. Relevant Statistical and Numerical courses:
  • Multivariate Data Analysis (10 credits, S2)
  • Numerical Partial Differential Equations (10 credits, S2)
  • Advanced Time Series Econometrics (10 credits, S2) (offered by the School of Economics)
  1. Programming courses:
  • Object-Oriented programming with applications (10 credits, S1)
  • Parallel Numerical Algorithms (10 credits, S1), (offered by EPCC)
  • Programming Skills (10 credits, S1), (offered by EPCC)
  1. Optimization courses:
  • Combinatorial Optimization (5 credits, S2)
  • Large Scale Optimization for Data Science (10 credits, S2)
  • Modern Optimization Methods for Big Data Problems (10 credits, S2)
  • Nonlinear Optimization (10 credits, S2)
  • Stochastic Optimization (5 credits, S2)

*(Revised 15 January 2019 to update the list of compulsory courses.)

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScFinancial Modelling and Optimization1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScFinancial Modelling and Optimization2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

We work closely with the Scottish Financial Risk Academy (SFRA) to offer a number of short courses led by industry (part of our Research-Linked Topics) and to provide the opportunity to our best students to write their dissertations during placements with financial services companies.

At the end of this programme you will have:

  • developed personal communications skills, initiative, and professionalism within a mathematical context
  • developed transferable skills that maximise your prospects for future employment, including writing, oral presentation, team-working, numerical and logical problem-solving, planning and time-management
  • improved your ability to convey ideas in an articulate fashion, to build upon previous mathematical training and further develop logic and deductive skills
  • mastered standard and advanced mathematical tools used to solve applied problems relevant to the mathematical finance industry
  • developed quantitative and computational skills for the proficient fulfilment of tasks in the financial sector

Graduates have gone on to work in major financial institutions or to continue their studies by joining PhD programmes.

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in mathematics or a mathematical subject such as statistics, physics or engineering.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScFinancial Modelling and Optimization1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScFinancial Modelling and Optimization2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Room 6313
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JZ

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Room 6313
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JZ