Skip to main content
Start Dates
Degree type


Course length

1 year full-time


Durham City

Programme code


Ready to Apply?

Course details

Developments in fields such finance, physics and engineering are increasingly driven by experts in computational techniques. The financial services sector has always been at the forefront of data analytics, and those with the skills to write code for the most powerful computers in the world and to process the biggest data sets can give a company a competitive edge.

Our suite of Masters in Scientific Computing and Data Analysis (MISCADA) offers an application-focused course to deliver these skills with three interwoven strands:

  • Computer Science underpinnings of scientific computing (algorithms, data structures, implementation techniques, and computer tool usage)
  • Mathematical aspects of data analysis and the simulation and analysis of mathematical models
  • Implementation and application of fundamental techniques in an area of specialisation (as well as Financial Technology  we offer options in Astrophysics, Computer Vision and Robotics, or Earth and Environmental Sciences)

The MISCADA specialist qualification in Financial Technology introduces you to the mathematical principles behind modern financial markets, and elements of programming and communication in the context of the financial industry. Financial technology draws on tools from probability theory, statistics and mathematical modelling, and is widely used in investment banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, corporate treasuries and regulatory agencies to solve such problems as derivative pricing, portfolio selection and risk management. You can find out more here.

There’s great synergy between the modules and you will be given plenty of opportunities to put your learning into practice from the start of the course. Our research-led approach allows you to take some of the newest theoretical ideas and directly translate them into working codes in their respective application areas. If you have an undergraduate degree in a science subject with a strong quantitative element, including computer science and mathematics and want to work at the highest level in financial technology, either in academia or in industry, then this could be the course you’re looking for.

Course Structure

Introduction to Machine Learning and Statistics provides knowledge and understanding of the fundamental ideas and techniques in the application of data analysis, statistics and machine learning to scientific data.

Introduction to Scientific and High Performance Computing provides knowledge and understanding of paradigms, fundamental ideas and trends in High Performance Computing (HPC) and methods of numerical simulation.

Professional Skills provides training in areas such as collaborative coding, project management and entrepreneurship. It will build the skill you need to communicate novel ideas in science, and reflect on ethical issues around data and research.

The Project is a substantive piece of research into an area of financial technology, scientific computing or data analysis, or a related area in cooperation with an industry partner. The project will develop your research, analysis and report-writing skills. 

Financial Technology: Algorithmic Trading and Market Making in Options develops your knowledge of financial theory, with a particular emphasis on asset valuation, portfolio management and derivative pricing. In this module you will also develop a critical understanding and appreciation of current research in financial theory and its applications to professional practice.

Financial Mathematics introduces the mathematical theory of financial products and provides advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the pricing of financial products and derivatives.

Plus optional modules which may include:  

  • Advanced Statistical and Machine Learning: Foundations and Unsupervised Learning
  • Advanced Statistics and Machine Learning: Regression and Classification
  • Data Acquisition and Image Processing 
  • Performance Modelling, Vectorisation and GPU Programming
  • Advanced Algorithms and Discrete Systems 
  • Computational Linear Algebra and Continuous Systems


This degree is organised by the Department of Computer Science with specialisations offered in collaboration with the Department of Mathematical Sciences, the Business School, the Department of Physics and the Department of Earth Sciences. Teaching and learning methods are varied, they include a combination of lectures, practical classes/computer labs, independent study, research and analysis, a project (dissertation) and coursework. Some modules also include group and individual presentations.

You will also be given the opportunity to work with a wide variety of high-quality computer kit and software. This includes HPC systems such as GPU clusters, systems with heterogeneous architectures and specialist software installations (such as performance analysis tools), AI tools and data acquisition tools.


Assessment takes a combination of forms including coursework, presentations and a project which is worth one-third of your total mark. You will complete your dissertation-style project on a topic of your choice from within the contributing academic departments. In the financial technology steam this will usually be Mathematical Sciences or Computer Science, or in close cooperation with on of our industrial partners.

Entry requirements

A UK first or upper second class honours degree (BSc) or equivalent

  • In Physics or a subject with basic physics courses OR
  • In Computer Science OR
  • In Mathematics OR
  • In Earth Sciences OR
  • In Engineering OR
  • In any natural sciences with a strong quantitative element.

We strongly encourage students to sign up for a specialisation area for which they already have a strong background or affinity. At the moment, the course targets primarily Physics, Earth Sciences and Mathematics (finances) students. If you do not have a degree from these subjects, we strongly recommend you to contact the University beforehand to clarify whether you bring along the right background.

Please note that standard business degrees are not sufficient, as they lack the required level of mathematical education.

Additional requirements

Programming knowledge on an graduate level in both C and Python is required.

Some undergraduate-level mathematics, covering linear algebra, calculus, integration, ordinary and partial differential equations, and probability theory.

There is a minimum SPEAKING requirement of IELTS 6.5/ TOEFL iBT 25/ Cambridge Scale 176/ Pearson Academic 62 for this course.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £13,500 per year
EU students £30,900 per year
Island students £13,500 per year
International students £30,900 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Computer Science

Qualifications in computer science are highly sought after by employers across the globe and an award from our Department provides the academic skills, industry insight and research-informed approach that sets postgraduates up for careers in a broad range of sectors.

Many postgraduates have gone on to work as software engineers, analysts, consultants, programmers and developers. Some have founded their own start-ups or work in leading software companies, high-technology consultancies, banking and finance, retail, engineering, the communications and IT industry.

The Department has strong research links, spanning both industry and government, including the automotive sector with Jaguar Land Rover and Renault, the defence and security sector with QinetiQ and Boeing, with government in the Civil Service and at GCHQ and in the manufacturing sector with Procter & Gamble. Other high-profile employers include BAE Systems, Google and BT.

For further information on career options and employability, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages

Department information

Computer Science

The Department is at the heart of the fast-paced world of applications and algorithms. We maintain an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of computation and are fully up to speed with the latest technologies that emerge at an ever-increasing rate.

Learning from academics who lead cutting-edge research provides valuable insight into high quality projects, and gives our postgraduate community the opportunity to play a role in shaping a future in which crucial developments in society are supported by technological innovation.

Taught courses balance fundamental knowledge and an emphasis on programming and mathematical skills with practical applications. The content and structure are such that they suit postgraduates who already have experience in the industry or other employment and want to add a formal qualification to their achievements.  

Researchers in the Department offer a range of expertise across the computer science spectrum in areas such as artificial intelligence, data science, bioinformatics, high-performance computing, graphics and fundamental algorithms.

We ensure our research-led activity does not function in isolation and keep close links with local high-technology industries as well as national and international employers. Those relationships ensure we are at the leading edge of developments across the sector and can revise and adapt the Department’s curriculum to reflect the changes.


  • 4th in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • Top 10 inThe Guardian University Guide 2024
  • Top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2024


For a current list of staff, please see the School's web pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 97% of our research outputs are world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021)


The Department is located in a £40 million purpose-built building in the heart of Durham at Upper Mountjoy and features open-plan work areas, breakout spaces for collaboration projects, laboratories and computer rooms.

We are fortunate to have supercomputers for High-Performance Computing and for data analysis and machine learning as well as access to several visualisation and data postprocessing laboratories.

We are also able to host local computer hardware which give postgraduate researchers a safe environment to test prototype solutions, explore innovative technologies they are developing or to actually design new solutions.

Learn more about our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more

Similar courses