Stochastic and Actuarial Methods in Finance

This information is for the 2017/18 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:

EITHER Probability, Distribution Theory and Inference (ST202) OR Probability and Distribution Theory (ST206)

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 towards the end of MT and a second set of formative coursework towards the end of LT. Feedback and solutions will be provided

Formative coursework

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

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
First 60.3
2:1 17.8
2:2 8.9
Third 7.5
Fail 5.6

Key facts

Department: Statistics

Total students 2016/17: 70

Average class size 2016/17: 79

Capped 2016/17: No

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills