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Fit in some Mathematical Finance in before end of degree?

  1. Nov 14, 2011 #1
    I'll be in my 4th year of a Pure Math degree next year, and I'm think of what courses to fill up my timetable with.

    I'll be taking an overload, so I'll be taking 6.0 credits worth of courses (3.0 per semester). I'm only required to take 3.0 more courses in Pure Math to get my degree, so I have room to play around with.

    Currently, I will be taking:

    Rings and Modules
    Field and Galois Theory
    Differential Equations
    Complex Analysis II
    Algebraic Topology
    Algebraic Geometry

    (Note I'll have taken a lot of 4th year/Grad courses the summer before 4th year such as Functional Analysis, Smooth Manifolds, Banach Function Spaces, and maybe Non-Commutative Geometry)

    So I think I'm pretty set on completing my requirements for both my degree and my graduate school application.

    But i have room to take electives since I've stacked my first 3 years so jam packed.

    I've completed my Arts and Social Science requirements, so I'm just looking for courses that a)interest me, b)may help me in the future if after I (hopefully) complete my PhD and do not want to stay in academia

    So the first thing that comes to mind is taking courses in Actuarial Sciences, Stats, etc. I know they are much different than pure math courses, but I'd expect they would help if I would have to look to getting a job on Bay St (toronto).

    So some of the courses I'm looking to take:

    Accelerated German (for my language requirement for Graduate Studies)
    Mathematics of Finance (Actuarial Science)
    Financial Markets and Investments (Actuarial Science)
    Mathematics of Financial Options (Applied Math)
    Probability and Statistics I/II (Stats)
    Financial Modelling (Stats)

    Would it be wise for me to take some courses in finance and investing if I have the room? I'm usually one to argue that university is definitely -not- a process for a meal ticket for a job, but I'm just trying to weigh the pros and cons of either filling the space I have with electives that could help me in the future, or stick to pure math and just load up on graduate courses that are being offered next year.

    I was also thinking, would it be wise to retake courses with all this room? Last year there were two courses where I got a B in for a mixture of both laziness and other reasons. Would it be wise to retake these courses and bring them up to an A or higher?

    Thank you for any advice!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2011 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Hey Kindayr.

    In terms of statistics, you really need to have a major in some sense that is heavy in statistics. It's just that the thinking is a lot different to pure math, but I'm sure you realize this.

    In terms of actuarial studies, this is a very specialized form of applied statistics. There is a lot to learn and to be honest I wouldn't worry about doing this unless you really want to be an actuary. If you are keen to get into some statistical field or even analytic field that would benefit from statistical knowledge, I would take a major in normal statistics over actuarial coursework. If you end up wanting to do actuarial coursework, then the transition is a lot easier.

    If you are to pick a course, one good indicator would be to look if the course requires you to do things like write reports or recommendations and to use computers (either existing packages or you having to write your own code) to analyze data that is used in the report or recommendation. This is the kind of thing that gets done in applied fields.

    I'm guessing you want to do grad school in pure math though, so with that being said depending on what you want to do, my advice might be irrelevant.
  4. Nov 15, 2011 #3
    If you are going to graduate school, then I'd recommend that you take a course on advanced probability/statistics or something that will get you exposure to time series analysis. Also, an introductory computer programming course won't hurt.

    The problem is that most of the things in those classes you can learn on your own, and it's likely to be painfully out of date when you look for work. You might consider a class on financial history or the banking system.

    Things would be different if you want to get a job in the next year or two,

    Unless you feel really weak in them, probably not.
  5. Nov 15, 2011 #4
    Unless you plan on taking actuarial exams in your immediate future, don't consider the actuarial science courses.

    Even if you will be taking actuarial exams in your immediate future, they might not be necessary.
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