MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance - Examination and assessment

Overall Assessment

Guidance on submission of take-home exams

Advice on writing and submitting your dissertation

Sample Dissertations

Advice on binding your thesis


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 2016-17PDF icon  2017-18

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

PDF icon 2015PDF icon 2016_2017

Past papers can be found here


The assessment of the MSc is based on four written papers, two computer based practical exams, two take-home assessments and the dissertation.

Guidance on submission of take-home exams

Take-home exams will be collected from the Mathematical Finance administrator at an agreed time, you will need to sign in order to say you have collected it.

You will then be given a set amount of time to complete the work, and will then submit the paper online by the deadline, as mentioned below.

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

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 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, 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 and your College Office as soon as circumstances allow to explain the situation.


Advice on writing dissertations and submitting your dissertation

The dissertation will be written during Trinity Term on a topic chosen in consultation with your supervisor. For those undertaking a dissertation through an industrial placement, you should discuss the topic of your dissertation with your departmental supervisor within the first three weeks of the placement, to ensure that it satisfies the requirements of the program.

Dissertations 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]”
        “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
  • 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 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.


Sample Dissertations

Sample dissertations can be found here. We hope to have more available soon.

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.