Quick informal guide to candidate PhD, MSc and UG students for research projects at the Mathematical Finance group of the Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London.

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Disclaimer: The following notes are purely indicative, official college rules prevail in case of doubt.

For PhD applicants: Our research group receives a large inflow of applications for PhD. I am personally at full capacity for PhD supervision so at the moment I am not taking new students. Please refer to the link here for information and details on how to apply for PhD in our research group at Imperial. An application is necessary anyway before we examine your titles in detail. In your application you may include a potential supervisor and project even without contacting said supervisor. Please note that at times the college changes the address of pages, and the above link might no longer work. In such case please put the following phrases in a search engine: "PhD in Mathematical Finance" "Imperial College" and you should land on the updated page.

Once your application is in, your titles are evaluated by an admission officer and a decision on whether your CV is shortlisted is made, depending also on supervision capacity. Please note that in the shortlisting process we look at the mathematical content and level of your undergraduate studies. This is a PhD in mathematical finance and usually a generic finance background is not sufficient to access the program. To succeed, the typical candidate needs to have a good background in mathematical analysis, beyond the level of calculus courses offered by undergraduate degrees in economics or finance. Even a quantitatively oriented degree in these areas may be insufficient to access the program. Depending on your specific mathematical background questions could look like: do you know what a holomorphic function is? Have you ever heard of topology? What notions of convergence of functions and integrals do you know? What conditions are needed to avoid the solution of a differential equation to explode? As a rule of thumb, students with generic quantitatively-oriented degrees in finance or economics may consider applying for a PhD at a business school or finance department, although there may be exceptions.
If you are shortlisted, then you are interviewed for about one hour by two colleagues in our research team. The interview will be based on your curriculum and will also deal with a number of technical questions in mathematical analysis, probability theory, differential equations etc. If you pass this interview then we look for a supervisor and if we agree on a project we start looking for funding. There are several funding options and the academic admission does not guarantee funding automatically.

Full time or part time? We occasionally take part time PhD students but only if there is a real part time clause in the student employment. The student should have at least two days per week off work to devote to research. I no longer consider part time PhDs who de facto work full time and try to do research in the evenings and weekends.

For MSc applicants: We receive a very large inflow of applications for MSc. The selection for admission is very hard and only a small fraction of applicants is admitted. The MSc is in Mathematics and Finance, with emphasis on mathematics. The mathematical level is higher than a typical MSc in quantitative finance or financial engineering offered by an economics department or a business school. In processing admissions the admission officer will check the mathematical level of the candidate, including single exams if necessary. If admitted, the student may be interested in funding opportunities. There is funding for MSc at Imperial but it is quite competitive and hard to obtain. Please put the phrases "Scholarships search tool" and "Imperial College" in a search engine to find information on scolarships for MSc. Information on our MSc program is available here. Occasionally the College changes the address of pages. If this link does not work please put the phrases "MSc mathematics and finance" and "Imperial college" in a search engine and you should land in the correct page.

For undergraduate applicants: Given our MSc and PhD supervision load, in our group we only rarely offer undergraduate students project supervision.

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