Taught course

Computing for Financial Markets

University of Stirling · Faculty of Natural Sciences

Entry requirements

Applicants normally require a first or second class Honours degree from a British university, or an equivalent qualification from an institution recognised by the University.

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc in Computing for Financial Markets covers the application and development of computer technologies as used in banking and financial systems, as well as financial and economic principles.

This course provides knowledge in key areas involving three subjects:

  • Computing
  • Economics
  • Finance

Together they offer a unique combination of expertise required for a successful career in the financial sector. This MSc offers a choice of computing modules so that the student can adapt the course to their previous computing experience.

The course has a distinct international dimension as financial markets today are international in scope: trading in equities, bonds, derivatives and other securities occurs across borders and on a global scale. It emphasises the key characteristics of today's globalised financial world.

Computing Science and Mathematics has strong links with industry and is host to world-class research in the areas of Computational Heuristics, Operational Research, Decision-Support, Cognitive Computation, and the Modelling and Analysis of Complex Systems. Students can get a first hand industrial experience through placements with local enterprises and organisations. We regularly invite industry experts to share their expertise through seminars and talks.

Course Objectives

The MSc in Computing for Financial Markets is an intensive 12-month course for those who wish to obtain an up-to-date knowledge on key computing technologies as used by the financial sector, including:

  • Decision Support Systems
  • Object Oriented Design and Programming
  • Database Technologies
  • Computer Security and Forensics

The course further includes key financial and economic topics, such as:

  • Financial Economics
  • The Pricing and Use of Derivative Financial Products
  • Portfolio Management

The MSc in Computing for Financial Markets will significantly enhance the employment prospects of students. Career prospects for computing postgraduates in the financial sector are excellent. You will have acquired expertise in the computing, financial and economics fields making you an ideal candidate for positions in the financial sector. You will have gained specific vocational skills in the design and development of computer applications and networks plus expertise in financial tools and markets.

Practical work is a key component in this course. It builds from self contained tasks in the first semester, over the larger Winter programming assignment, to a group project in Semester 2. Finally, the dissertation project (possibly with a company) is the largest piece of work leading to your MSc dissertation.

In Semester 1 you will take the following two core modules:

  • Financial Economics: Financial instruments and how they are traded; the major topics in financial economics including portfolio theory, the pricing of bonds, stocks, and other financial instruments
  • Quantitative Methods in Finance: The statistical and computing skills necessary to understand fully and perform modern financial analysis

Plus either:

  • Principles and Practice of Programming: The design and testing of programs written in Java. You will study good practice in program construction, programming with data structures and graphical user interfaces
  • Database Principles and Applications: Provides a critical understanding of the role of database management systems and the ability to creatively design and implement practical databases


  • Technologies for eCommerce: Provides an in-depth understanding of the how to use Java servlets and JSP to implement an ecommerce website server
  • Computer Security and Forensics: Covers the principles of computer security and their application to forensic analysis, in particular confidentiality, integrity and availability

During the winter break there is an extended programming assignment using Java.

In Semester 2 you will study three core modules:

  • Object-oriented Software Design: How to analyse and model requirements and develop object-oriented software, through the use of UML and CASE tools
  • Derivatives: Provides an understanding of the uses and the valuation of the main derivative financial instruments. It covers the trading mechanisms used on derivative markets and explains the fundamental principles underlying the pricing of derivatives and their use in portfolio management, and risk management
  • Investments and Portfolio Management: Provides an understanding of portfolio management principles and the valuation of equities and fixed-interest securities

Plus one elective from:

  • Decision Support Systems: IT methods and techniques in the support of decision-making in organisations, in particular modelling, simulation and intelligent decision support systems
  • Networking and Technologies for eCommerce*: Discusses computer networks and their layered architecture. You also study web scripting using PHP, Java script and XML
  • Networking*: Investigates the principles of data communications, including layered network architecture, services and protocols
  • Communication Systems and Services: Covers the underlying concepts of Voice over IP communications architectures, web service provision and its role in commercial applications, as well as the principles of applications for mobile phones

We offer commercially linked projects for the MSc dissertation period. Topics include mobile phone app development (iPhone, Android, and also cross platform environments), bespoke Java applications, .net applications, and advanced website development projects.

You may graduate with the Postgraduate Diploma after two semesters, or you may continue with a three-month project and dissertation to qualify for the MSc degree. Part-time study is also available. The subject of the dissertation will usually be a computer application for a financial purpose.

Fees and funding

For further information on possible sources of funding, visit: http://www.stir.ac.uk/postgraduate/financial-information/sources-of-funding/

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
27 months


full time
9 months
part time
21 months


full time
3 months
part time
9 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations40
Written coursework / continuous assessment30
Dissertation30 (15000 words)

Course contact details

Dr Mario Kolberg
+44 (0)1786 467436