Stochastic and Actuarial Methods in Finance

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Pauline Barrieu COL 6.03 and Dr Erik Baurdoux COL 6.04


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Actuarial Science. This course is available on the BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics and BSc in Statistics with Finance. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available to General Course students.


Students must have completed Probability, Distribution Theory and Inference (ST202) and Stochastic Processes (ST302).

Course content

Applications of stochastic processes and actuarial models in finance. Utility theory. Stochastic dominance and portfolio selection. Measures of investment risk. Mean-variance portfolio theory. Single and multifactor models. The Capital Asset Pricing Model. The efficient market hypothesis. Stochastic models for security prices and estimating their parameters. Option pricing: general framework in discrete and continuous time, the Black-Scholes analysis and numerical procedures (binomial models and Cox-Ross-Rubinstein models).The term structure of interest rates: the Vasicek, the Cox-Ingersoll-Ross and other models.  Introduction to credit risk.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Students will work on and submit formative coursework in Week 11 of MT and a revision session will take place in Week 11 of LT. 

Formative coursework

Written answers to set problems will be expected on a weekly basis. Two sets of hand-in exercises will also be given during the year. 

Indicative reading

N H Bingham & R Kiesel, Risk Neutral Valuation; A Cerny, Mathematical Techniques in Finance: Tools for Incomplete Markets; J Hull, Options, Futures & Other Derivatives; R Jarrow & S Turnbull, Derivative Securities; D Luenberger, Investment Science; Institute of Actuaries core reading notes, Subject CT8.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 69.9
2:1 15.3
2:2 7.9
Third 3.7
Fail 3.2

Key facts

Department: Statistics

Total students 2015/16: 80

Average class size 2015/16: 79

Capped 2015/16: No

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills