MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance - Examination and Assessment

Guidance on submission of option mini-projects

Advice on writing dissertations/essays and submitting your dissertation

Advice on binding your thesis

Advice on writing presentations

 

Overall Assessment

The Examination Regulations govern the course and are taken from the overall University Examination Regulations , sometimes referred to as the 'Grey Book' which govern all academic matters within the University.

In Oxford, the word 'examination' often refers to the ensemble of assessments (written examinations, dissertations etc) that, taken together, determine your final result in the MSc. The examination regulations for the MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance.

The Examination Regulations are supplemented by the Examination Conventions  which are published in the Examinations and Assessors section of the Course Handbook, which can be found here.  The Examination Conventions  explain in detail how students will be assessed within the framework of the Examination Regulations.

Past Examiner's Reports (Microsoft Office document icon 2009PDF icon 2010Microsoft Office document icon 2011 PDF icon 2012, PDF icon 2013 PDF icon 2014PDF icon 2015 PDF icon 2016

 

Past External Examiners' Reports (PDF icon 2009PDF icon 2010PDF icon 2011PDF icon 2012PDF icon 2013PDF icon 2014

PDF icon 2015

 

Past papers can be found here

Guidance on submission of option mini-projects

QRM will be examined by a project on a topic related to lectures. 
You can pick up one topic from the list suggested by lecturers, or propose your own. If you propose your own topic, you need to get approval from one lecturer to confirm it is related to the course. 
You are not requited to make new contribution to the research on the topic, but new research results are appreciated. Your project report should be no more than 10 pages of text. You can put tables, graphs and codes in appendix, which is not counted towards the 10-page limit.

 

For information on deadlines for submitting work, please refer to the Course Calendar

ALL projects are to be submitted online here (under the correct course title).

You will need your Mathematical Institute IT account username and password to submit work to this site. If you have any difficulties email help@maths.ox.ac.uk.

You must submit ONE electronic file. Any subsidiary programming or other files must be included, as an appendix, within this single file. If you are unsure as to how to do this please contact mathcompfin@maths.ox.ac.uk for further advice. (Occasionally these instructions may vary. In such cases full details will be given to students at the time.)

Please ensure that you give your candidate number on your assignment and no other identifying information - i.e. do not put your name, college, etc.

Please ensure the document is named as your candidate number (e.g. "24567.pdf")

The website will supply you with a confirmation number and email upon submission of the assignment. If you are supplied with a confirmation number and email you can be sure that the work has been successfully submitted. You should keep this for your own records.

In the extremely unlikely event that there does seem to be some technical problem and you are concerned that your work has not been submitted please email it immediately to email mathcompfin@maths.ox.ac.uk, with a copy of the Declaration of Authorship to attest that it is your own work, except where indicated. The Declaration of Authorship can be found PDF icon here. NB: You only fill in this form if you are submitting it via email. In exceptional cases where a candidate is unable to submit work electronically, he or she must apply to the Supervisory Committee for permission to submit the work in paper form to the Examiners, c/o the Academic Administrator for Mathematical Finance, Mathematical Institute. Such applications must reach the Mathematical Institute not less than two weeks before the deadline for submitting the work.

It is vital that you submit your work by the deadline, as any late submission - even one minute late - must be reported to the Proctors.  If you experience a medical emergency or other catastrophe which threatens to prevent you from submitting on time please contact mathcompfin@maths.ox.ac.uk and your College Office as soon as circumstances allow to explain the situation.

Also to remind you that all submitted mini-projects/assignments and Dissertations will be screened by Turnitin soft-ware which will compare them to a wide range of material (both published and unpublished) and to the work of other candidates. The Examiners will be notified of the extent of any textual matches discovered by Turnitin, and will consider, for instance, whether any text that a candidate has copied from elsewhere is properly identified and the source duly acknowledged. Any suspected cases of plagiarism will be forwarded to the Proctors and may result in a direct fail.

Advice on writing dissertations/essays and submitting your dissertation

The dissertation will be written during Trinity Term on a topic chosen in consultation with your supervisor. It should be no more than 40 pages long and should contain material which, although not necessarily original research, cannot be found elsewhere. Credit will be given for the mathematical and financial content, as well as for the quality of the presentation and the clarity of the writing.
  • Typesetting: you are STRONGLY ADVISED to use LaTeX. Dissertation templates are available (see below).
  • Your font size must be no smaller than 11 point.
  • Linespacing should be no less than 1.25 times (use the command \setlength{\baselineskip}{1.25}).
  • Graphics: its always tricky at first to get these right. See any good LaTeX book for hints. Remember that to make the axis labels etc large enough enough on the final version; you may have to enlarge them on your original graphic (e.g from Matlab).

Referencing: the golden rule is that you must ALWAYS enable the reader to see when an idea or some mathematical material has come from another source. You should do this when you introduce the material; for example, by saying

        “In this section we follow [2]”
or
        “as shown in [1], the formula for call option is…. “.
The first of these is appropriate when you are paraphrasing a body of work, the latter is more specific. Direct quotations should be indicated:
        "Oh, had I but followed the Arts” [7].
Note that it is not sufficient merely to list some relevant sources at the end of your work: you must show who they are referred to in the body of the text. See for more advice on avoiding plagiarism.

Bibliography: you should cite the authors, title, date, journal, volume and page numbers for each reference. Study the bibliography lists of published papers/books, or simply use the cite feature on Google Scholar to produce bibliography items in one of the appropriate styles. The items in a bibliography are typically ordered alphabetically by the name of the first author. Multiple items by the same author(s) are ordered by the date of publication. Here are some examples:

  • a published papers:
    [1] Black, F., & Scholes, M. (1973). The pricing of options and corporate liabilities. The journal of political economy, 637-654.
    [2] Delbaen, F., & Schachermayer, W. (1994). A general version of the fundamental theorem of asset pricing. Mathematische annalen, 300(1), 463-520
  • preprints:
    [3] Madan, D., Pistorius, M., & Stadje, M. (2013). On consistent valuations based on distorted expectations: from multinomial random walks to Lévy processes. arXiv preprint arXiv:1301.3531.
  • data source:
    [4] United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2008). Indiana income limits [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.huduser.org/Datasets/IL/IL08/in_fy2008.pdf
  • book:
    [5] Wilmott, P., Dewynne, J., & Howison, S. (1993). Option pricing: mathematical models and computation (Vol. 935). Oxford: Oxford financial press.
Use LaTeX’s automatic citation system to get the cross-referencing right.

Some useful documents.

Three copies of your dissertation should be submitted to the Examination Schools, High Street,Oxford, by the deadline stated in the Course Calandar. You will need to submit these in an envelope addressed to the Chairman of Examiners, MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance, c/o Examination Schools , High Street. You must label the dissertation with your candidate number, NOT your name. You will also need to put your candidate number on the top corner of the envelope. It is important that you also enclose a copy of the PDF icon NEW declaration of authorship form to prove you are the author of the dissertation. Please ensure your dissertations are spiral bound. As soon as you have submitted your dissertation, you need to submit a pdf version of it online on the Dissertation link on the new course material web page.

NB: Please refrain from acknowledging your supervisor to prevent the examiners from identifying the candidate. It is also recommended that you print your dissertation single sided, so it it easier to read.

Also to remind you that all submitted mini-projects/assignments and Dissertations will be screened by Turnitin soft-ware which will compare them to a wide range of material (both published and unpublished) and to the work of other candidates. The Examiners will be notified of the extent of any textual matches discovered by Turnitin, and will consider, for instance, whether any text that a candidate has copied from elsewhere is properly identified and the source duly acknowledged. Any suspected cases of plagiarism will be forwarded to the Proctors and may result in a direct fail.

Advice on binding your thesis

Here are some other options for binding your theses;
  • Mathematical Institute, please ask at reception (however, its a very busy time and only one machine, so its usually best to find an alternative)
  • Oxford print centre down Holywell street
  • Press to Print in Gloucester Green.
  • Oxford minuteman press in holly bush row.
  • All these and more show up, if you search for printing or dissertation binding in Oxford, on google.
  • You can also check with your colleges, they may provide this service, as might the reprographics department in University Offices, Wellington Square.
  • If you really have difficulties, please let the course administrator know.

Advice on writing presentations

The presentations are compulsory and forms 10% of the total dissertation assessment. But sub fusc need not be worn. Each student is required to give a short talk and to answer questions on your dissertation topic at an open meeting, attended by supervisors, examiners and your peer students. Each student will be allocated a 15 minute slot and you should aim to talk for 10 minutes and to allow 5 minutes for questions and discussion.
  1. When you write a presentation, you should always start by thinking:
    1. What material do I want to present?
    2. At what level of detail?
    3. How do I want to display it?
    4. How do I give the talk?
  2. Let's take these in turn.
    1. Choice of subject matter. Write down an outline of the talk: a few bullet points or headings will do. For example, start by giving the motivation for your work, in general terms, then set out the framework you work in and finally give the specific details. Don't try to cover too much; it never works. If you have more than one slide per minute, you have almost certainly got too much material.
    2. Level of detail. This is a matter for your judgement; on the whole, less is more. No audience can take in slide after slide of long equations. So simplify where possible; for example, do a special case (with simple notation) rather than the general case (with horrendous notation).
    3. Details of display. If you are doing a mathematical talk, you will almost certainly want to use LaTeX (if you want to typeset equations in Word, you are on your own!). There are various LaTeX classes for presentations, of which the beamer class is a popular example. You can download a sample file from here. Make sure your font size is large enough: slides are always less visible when projected than on your computer's screen, so to simulate real life turn the brightness down and look at the display from a couple of metres away. If you can't read the slides the font is too small. Don't use any fancy backgrounds, as they are distracting. Be sparing with special effects such as moving type, and remember that most audiences prefer to have the whole slide revealed at once, rather than a line at a time. Put in plenty of pictures.
    4. Giving the talk: some obvious points. Face the audience. Remember that the audience can read, so you don't need to read your slides out loud; instead, talk about them, pointing out the highlights and explaining what you haven't written up.