Financial Computing and Data Science

PhD Programme Structure

We are building a community of researchers working on current and future challenges within financial computing and analytics. Our PhD programme is rich in opportunities for engineers and scientists to gain confident skills and knowledge within their chosen field of research.

In the first major collaboration between the financial services industry and academia, our students work on an applied research project with one of our industry partners.

The PhD programme is unique in enabling students to gain the skills required for jobs in the financial services industry or in a large analitics company. The course provides unrivalled contacts, with access to top financial industry professionals and the best academic resources.

Year 1: Masters study

The programme allows a high level of flexibility in its structure, with the involvement of departments across UCL.

Students are required to take exams for three taught courses and two professional development courses. These modules are worth 15 credits each.

A 12 month project worth 105 credits is undertaken alongside these modules. This work leads to a dissertation of approximately 20,000 words, which is completed by the end of the first year.

Course modules are chosen to complement the student’s skills. The PhD Centre aims to bring the students to an excellent level in finance, analytics (maths and statistics) and programming during the first year, enabling progression towards a PhD in years 2-4.

Additional modules of interest can be undertaken at any relevant department at UCL, throughout the whole period of study. Attendance at lectures is monitored but not subject to exams.

Years 2-4: Applied research

From year 2 students concentrate on their research and have the option to take a unique opportunity to apply their work. A research project can be undertaken during a placement arranged with one of our industry partners. This applied research is agreed between the student and the Centre, with support given to find a good match for the placement.

Contact is maintained between the student and their supervisor, flexible to their needs and progress.

Lectures are attended as necessary to support the student's research, but there are no mandatory courses required at this stage. Viva exams are completed to gain the PhD qualification, but no additional exams.

Each student on the programme has:

  • An academic supervisor (from relevant departments at UCL) and an industrial advisor (a partner bank, fund, an analytics company).
  • A research project in financial IT, computational finance or financial engineering with an industrial partner.
  • A Masters programme comprising a bespoke set of graduate-level courses from UCL.
  • Training in industry software, such as Reuters Eikon, through UCL’s virtual trading floor.
  • A significant period of at least three months of industrial placement as agreed between the academic supervisor and industrial advisor.
  • A short period at an International academic centre, such as the Quantitative Products Laboratory in Berlin, Carnegie Mellon University or Tsinghua University in Beijing.

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