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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
November 21, 2014

Canadian Excellence

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions



What is Financial Mathematics?

The modern approach to analyzing financial risk, pricing and hedging complex derivative securities, evaluating investments and combined asset and liability management involves sophisticated mathematical models and numerical methods. Concepts in securities, portfolio selection and data analysis require a comprehensive understanding of advanced undergraduate mathematics. Financial Mathematics at Laurier presents the three elements - Mathematics, Financial Applications and Computing Methods - in a unified program of study. The financial applications motivate the mathematics presented in class and then laboratory exercises develop the skills needed to analyze current problems in the field.

What Faculty is this program in?

The Department of Mathematics is in the Faculty of Science at Wilfrid Laurier.

How do the BA and the BSc Degrees differ?

The BA and BSc programs have precisely the same mathematics, economics and computing requirements. The BSc program is designed for students who also have a strong interest in science, and requires four credits of science. Students may then choose to concentrate in specific areas of science or to gain a broader exposure to many subjects. The BA program is designed for students with strong quantitative skills, and they can choose electives to fulfill the requirements of secondary programs such as the Administration Option, or to gain a broader education by selecting courses from many different disciplines.

Is Co-op available to Financial Mathematics students?

Yes. All students in good standing in their first year may apply for Co-op. The application procedure involves an application form, a resume and an interview. It is competitive, and the application deadline is the Pre-Registration period in the Winter Term of the First Year.

What are the entrance requirements?

For consideration of admission to any Laurier program, students must complete the OSSD with six Grade 12U and/or Grade 12M subjects, with a minimum overall average of 60%. Additional specific requirements include:

For the Financial Mathematics BA program: Grade 12U English at 60 percent, Grade 12U Advanced Functions and Grade 12U Calculus & Vectors. A combined average on the Mathematics courses of 80 percent.

For the Financial Mathematics BSc Program: Grade 12U English at 60 percent, Grade 12U Advanced Functions, Grade 12U Calculus & Vectors; one of Grade 12U Biology, Grade 12U Chemistry, or Grade 12U Physics at 60 percent. A combined average on the Mathematics courses of 80 percent. A combined minimum average of 70 percent is required in the Grade 12U Mathematics and Grade 12U Science courses.

How do I add Financial Mathematics as one of my choices?

You select this program as one of your choices in the same manner as others at Laurier. The code for the BA program is UAM and the code for the BSc program is USM.

How much of the programs is mathematics?

Each program requires a minimum of 20 credits, typically 5 credits per year. Of these credits, at least 11 are mathematics. The programs also require one credit of economics and a one-half credit of computing.

Can I combine the program with the Management Option?

Yes. The Management Option† is a package of courses offered by the School of Business and Economics at Laurier. In the Option, students get a broad overview of the main areas of business, including Organization, Finance, Management, Marketing and Accounting. Students must apply by April 29 using the LORIS online program confirmation.† Students normally apply at the end of Year 2.† Acceptance is competitive, and requires a GPA of 6.00 in BU111 and BU121 as well as a recognized statistic course or BU205/EC205 prior to admission.

Note:† The Management Option has been completely revised from the Administration Option and the new program is effective September 1, 2010. Students currently registered in the Administration Option can continue and complete it using the prior regulations. Course substitutions may be required; consult a Business Department academic advisor.

What are the job prospects?

In general, the job outlook for anyone with a mathematics degree are very good. However, students with a knowledge of how to apply mathematics to real world problems have a distinct advantage. Investment strategies, risk management and integrated asset-liability strategies are of fundamental importance in institutions such as the aerospace industry, utility companies, the major banks and financial investment firms. All major companies need people with the skills and knowledge developed in Financial Mathematics. For example, managers of large portfolios, such as pension funds, must analyze thousands of scenarios with thousands of variables. New financial products are introduced into the investment world on a continuing basis, and companies are always looking for new ways to generate wealth and to hedge their risks. The theory and applications are used throughout the world, making this a very portable degree.

How do these programs stay current?

The Financial Mathematics Advisory Board helps ensure that the programs continue to reflect the needs of the firms already cited, and that they incorporate new techniques and applications as this dynamic area continues to develop. Our SHARCNET (Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network) Chair in Financial Mathematics ensures that the computer techniques encountered in the programs reflect the most current applications.

What about Graduate School?

Outstanding students will have the mathematics background necessary to proceed to graduate level studies in many areas of pure and applied mathematics, including Financial Mathematics. There are a number of graduate level programs available at distinguished institutions in North America and elsewhere, and students should check with specific schools concerning their entrance requirements. The Departmentís Master of Science in Mathematics for Science and Finance is particularly well-suited to graduates of our undergraduate Financial Mathematics program. This program develops both the advanced mathematics underlying modern applications in many different disciplines, including finance, and the skills to generate and analyze sophisticated models.