Financial Mathematics BSc
About the course
Mathematics is a fundamental subject that is constantly developing. Yes – it is a discipline in its own right. But it is also the thinking behind countless commercial, industrial and technological activities.
Mathematical models underpin engineering, the applied sciences, computing and many aspects of management today. As a mathematics student you will develop an outlook and high level study skills that will be hugely valuable whatever career path you follow after graduation.
Two-thirds of this course consists of the compulsory parts of our wide-ranging Maths course and covers several application areas – finance, statistics, operational research (how maths can be applied to commercial and industrial problems) and numerical analysis. The remaining third covers the workings of financial markets, and corporate investment and finance.
This programme will meet the educational requirements of the Chartered Mathematician designation, awarded by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, when it is followed by subsequent training and experience in employment to obtain equivalent competences to those specified by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for taught Master's degrees.
Maths students at Brunel work with staff who are internationally recognised for their state-of-the-art subject knowledge.
Because Maths has links with many other subject areas, we offer an excitingly wide choice of courses, each with a different emphasis. These include modules in pure and applied mathematics, operational research, computer science, finance, information technology and management studies. This structure means that most individual subject modules are not unique to any particular degree.
We are also very active at postgraduate level offering Mathematics MSc courses and research opportunities in many areas. External grants and contracts with industry and government establishments support much of our research – keeping us right at the ‘cutting edge’ and actively in contact with modern uses of mathematics. The result is that our undergraduate courses are truly up-to-date. For example, you may undertake your major final year project in one of our research areas
If you are a committed Maths student interested in a career in the fast moving world of finance or commerce, this course is for you. You will acquire the skills needed to develop mathematical and statistical knowledge, as well as a good awareness of financial institutions, markets and their workings.
Two-thirds of this course is shared with the BSc in Mathematics. This covers several application areas – finance, statistics, operational research (i.e. how maths can be applied to commercial industrial problems) and numerical analysis. The remaining third covers the key principles of finance. MMath students study for a further year, bringing their degree up to Master’s level.
- Transition to Independant Learning of Mathematics (10 credits)
- Linear Algebra
- Probability and Statistics
- Algorithms and Numerical Methods
- Financial Markets
- Introduction to Data Handling for Finance
- Algorithms and Numerical Methods
Find out more information about Level 1
- Multivariable Calculus
- Advanced Calculus and Numerical Methods
- Linear Methods
- Elements of Combinatorics
- Analysis I
- Probability and Statistics II
- Operational Research
- Elements of Investment Mathematics
- Computing for Finance
- Employability Skills
Level 2 Sandwich Placement
Level 3 Compulsory
- Major Project (see below for more)
- Stochastic Models
- Mathematical Finance.
Level 3 Options
- Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations
- Statistics III
- Risk and Optimisation for Financial Planning
- Numerical Methods for Differential Equations.
Final year project
This is a very valuable feature of the Financial Mathematics BSc course – a substantial piece of individual, course-related work personally supervised by a staff member. Projects are often connected to staff research areas and may also be in response to industry demands. Work on the project accounts for about one-third of your final year study load.
Explore a topic of particular interest to you in-depth or work on a practical problem – the choice is yours.
Although students who undertake a work placement year can choose to focus their final year project on their work experience, they may also select from the projects offered each year by the mathematics staff. During 2010-2011 over 150 project titles were available to final year mathematics undergraduates. These covered a very wide range of mathematical areas and applications including, for example:
- The very famous ‘travelling salesman problem’ (also known as ’the lazy waiter’!)
- The discovery and identification of clustering behaviour in financial markets
- The mathematics of complex networks such as the web, or even Facebook
- Applications of statistics to the Premier League, police complaints data and global warming
- Investigating traffic flow (are traffic lights better than roundabouts?).
Our students also have opportunities to study modern theories in quantitative finance, with particular emphasis on the maths and computation underlying the powerful and influential financial derivatives (e.g. options) industry. Often termed the ‘Black-Scholes theory’, this is famous for winning its discoverers a Nobel prize, as well as for its misapplication often being blamed (rightly or wrongly) for the current worldwide financial crisis.
Most of our projects can be carried out in ways that suit the student's strengths and interests. For example, it is often possible to choose to emphasise concrete applications or abstract theory, and the project can be carried out using theoretical tools only, or computational tools only, or a mixture of both.
MMath fourth year Master’s option
Study for a further year (at Level 5) and bring your BSc degree up to Master’s standard. The MMath programme offers a highly integrated, logical progression from BSc to Master’s level.
Complete the course and develop a career requiring a higher level of mathematical skill and understanding – such as in finance, commerce or industry – or in postgraduate research.
Level 5 modules include:
- Advanced Project
- Risk, Simulation and Decision Analysis
- Numerical & Variational Methods for Partial Differential
Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
There is massive demand within financial institutions for mathematically trained graduates with an awareness of markets and their workings. The recent combination of financial deregulation, increased globalisation and technological advance has led to a huge increase in the nature and volume of financial derivatives contracts traded around the world.
As a Brunel Financial Maths graduate you will enjoy excellent employment prospects. Our combination of work experience and up-to-date teaching means that you will be well-equipped to follow the career you want after graduation.
Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey
Although there are many options open to graduates from this subject, Financial Mathematics is an increasingly popular degree for analyst roles, well respected by employers for its combination of mathematical theories and financial sector knowledge.
In 2012/13, six months after graduating:
Read more about graduate destinations for this subject area
What kind of careers?
The sky’s the limit – career prospects for mathematicians are excellent. Maybe you want to pursue a career that specifically uses your mathematical or statistical skills? Or perhaps you’d prefer a more general career – such as management or consultancy?
Either way you will possess key skills that are highly sought after by business – in fact any industry that uses modelling, simulation, cryptography, forecasting, statistics, risk analysis and probability.
These are some of the areas where a maths degree is highly valued:
- Finance: banking, accountancy, actuarial, tax, underwriter, pensions, insurance
- Medicine: medical statistics, medical and epidemiological research, pharmaceutical research
- Design: engineering design, computer games
- Science: biotechnology, meteorology, oceanography, pure and applied research and development
- Civil Service: scientists (‘Fast Stream’, DSTL, DESG), GCHQ, security service, statisticians
- Business: logistics, financial analysis, marketing, market research, sales oil industry, management consultancy, operational research
- IT: Systems analysis, researc
- Engineering: aerospace, building design, transport planning, telecommunications, surveying.
We know just how much experience counts in the job market. You will have the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience alongside experts in industry, the public sector and commerce – both in the UK or overseas. In fact if you undertake a four year professional placement programme, you are likely to earn some £4,400 more than your three-year course colleagues from ‘Day One’ in your job. (Source: The Brunel report on Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education 2013/14).
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry Criteria 2017/18
- GCE A-levels BBB includng Mathematics or Further Mathematics.
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject plus A-level Mathematics grade B.
- BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in a relevant subject with an A-level Mathematics grade B.
- BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in a relevant subject with A-levels grades BB including Mathematics or Further Mathematics.
- International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points, including 5 in Higher Mathematics.
- Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass any Access course with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. Applicants must also have an A-level in Maths grade B.
- Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics with an Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Development For Brunel Foundation of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics progression requirements, see the .
In addition 5 GCSEs or equivalent at Grade C or above, to include English and Mathematics, are required.
Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas)
- Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.
Teaching and Assessment
Mathematics is an active and dynamic research centre. Our academics' work is frequently supported by external grants and contracts with leading industry and government establishments. Lecturers are consequently at the frontiers of the subject and in active contact with modern users of mathematics. This in turn helps to ensure that our undergraduate degrees are truly up-to-date.
Broad spectrum of thinking
We can offer a wide range of expertise in a variety of subjects. Many of our lecturers are widely published and highly recognised in their fields.
How will I be taught?
We use a range of approaches to help you engage effectively with the subject, both through your tutors and working with fellow students:
These offer a broad overview of key concepts and ideas – a useful framework from which you can pursue more in-depth study.
Smaller tutorial groups enable you to work on mathematics exercises and finance related tasks with guidance from a staff member.
These replace some tutorials in certain modules involving computer-based tasks. This includes some mathematical modules such as statistics and operational research.
In your final year you will normally have one-to-one supervision for your major project. We will also allocate you a personal tutor each year who’s available to discuss personal or academic problems. If you go on placement, your personal tutor will help you set objectives and monitor your progress – and provide further support if you need it.
The ‘exams to coursework’ ratio is around 50:50 in Level 1, increasing to 70:30 in Level 3.
We base your final degree class on your performance at Levels 2 and 3. Level 3 carries twice the weight of Level 2.
- Help bridge the school-university gap
University is a step up from school. For this reason, in Level 1 we teach the core material in small group classes of about 20 students for the first few weeks of Term 1. Students and lecturers get to know each other quickly, and the extra attention means that any problems can be picked up quickly. Students that look like they are falling behind are invited to attend extra help sessions throughout the year. In addition, new students are allocated a student mentor from among our Level 2 and 3 student volunteers to give advice and answer questions from a student’s perspective.
Students are given the opportunity to reinforce essential mathematical skills from A-level mathematics such as algebraic manipulation and trigonometry – we realise that many students forget some of this material over the summer, so we provide classes to support the relearning of it.
- Employability skills workshop
In addition to a number of university-wide careers and work placement events run by the Placement and Careers Service, the Mathematics department runs three very popular employability skills workshops for all students. Topics include CV writing, job applications and cover letters, testing centres (e.g. psychometric tests), and talks from former students and local employers about how to succeed in the job market. These workshops are spread through levels 1, 2 and 3, and are integrated within the academic programme to encourage full engagement from all students.
- Group projects applying mathematics to the real world
All Level 1 students work through three projects during the year on topics that illustrate some diverse applications of mathematics to the real world. These are undertaken in small groups of 4-6 students, guided closely by their personal tutor (an academic staff member). As well as mathematical knowledge, students develop skills using mathematical software and MS Word, writing skills, and group work skills – all highly valued by employers.
During 2014-15, projects included modelling interest rates and personal finances when there are student loans, mortgages, other loans and income to consider; creating beautiful fractals and understanding the underlying theory; and the Google PageRank algorithm which searches for web pages and almost always returns the pages you want at the top of the list
- We offer an intergrated foundation year
For applicants that do not have the A-levels required to enter our BSc programmes, or applicants that have been outside of higher education for a long time, we offer Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics with an Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Development. The foundation year covers material that would usually have been covered in A-level mathematics and ICT so that students are well equipped to begin a BSc programme in any of our mathematics or computing courses.
Facts and Figures
- Mathematical Sciences is one of the largest disciplines at Brunel and has links with many other subject areas.