The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago

Department of Mathematics Financial Mathematics

Course Information

Course Listing

Autumn Quarter
Winter Quarter
Spring Quarter

Autumn Quarter

FINM 32200 Computing for Finance I
As the first course in a three-part series, no previous programming knowledge is assumed.  In Computing for Finance I, we will introduce the syntax and semantics of C++ and basics of OO programming.  As part of the course work, students will develop an OO option pricer using the Monte Carlo technique.  Classes are taught using a combination of lectures and in class hands-on lab sessions.
Instructor: Chanaka Liyanaarachchi     Units: 100
This course is a program requirement if the student does not pass the computer programming placement exam.  The course is an elective if the student passes the exam and chooses to take the course.

FINM 33000 Mathematical Foundations of Option Pricing 
Introduction to the theory of arbitrage-free pricing and hedging of financial derivatives.  Topics include: Arbitrage; Fundamental theorems of asset pricing; Binomial and other discrete models; Black-Scholes and other continuous-time Gaussian models in one-dimensional and multidimensional settings; PDE and martingale methods; Change of numeraire.
Instuctor: Roger Lee     Units: 100     Program requirement

FINM 33400 Statistical Risk Management
The course starts at a rather introductory level, but the progress is swift.  It covers a brief survey of basic probability theory, and provides an introduction to some useful statistical distributions, both univariate and multivariate.  A discussion of copulas and various correlation measures.  Risk measures and ideas behind a reasonable risk measure.  A few elements from Monte Carlo simulation.  Statistical estimation, the maximum likelihood method and nonparametric methods.  Asymptotic properties of estimators.  Goodness of fit tests and model selection.  Extreme value theory. 
Instuctor: Jostein Paulsen     Units: 100     Program requirement

FINM 33603 Fixed Income Derivatives I
The topics in this course include an introduction to fixed income markets, a detailed review of fixed income derivative instruments, and a general approach to bootstrapping the LIBOR term curve from available market quotes.  We also discuss the application of the Black-Scholes-Merton model to pricing European swaptions and caps/floors.  Students will study a statistical approach to building a foundation for the Heath-Jarrow-Morton framework of interest rate models.  This is a 5-week course offered in the second half of the quarter. 
Instructors: Yuri Balasanov, Lida Doloc, and Jeffrey Greco
Units: 50     Program requirement

FINM 36700 Portfolio Theory and Risk Management I
The course introduces investment analysis, allocation, risk control.  The course begins with classic topics such as mean-variance analysis, priced and un-priced risk, hedging, and the efficient frontier of investment opportunities.  Factor models are used to understand the relation between risk and expected return.  Examples covered in the course include the CAPM, Black-Litterman, and principal component factors.  Finally, the course discusses modern risk control, including risks from interest-rates, liquidity, and credit.  Value-at-risk, and expected shortfall are discussed.  This is a 5-week course offered in the first half of the quarter. 
Instructor: Mark Hendricks     Units: 50     Program requirement

Winter Quarter

FINM 32300 Computing for Finance II
We will discuss new programming techniques, including more OO features and Templates in C++.  We will also examine the use of the Standard Library in C++.  Students will extend the option pricer to use Tree methods.  Classes are taught using a combination of lectures and in class hands-on lab sessions. 
Instructor: Chanaka Liyanaarachchi     Units: 100
This course is a program requirement if the student does not pass the computer programming placement exam.  The course is an elective if the student passes the exam and chooses to take the course.

FINM 33150 Regression Analysis and Quantitative Trading Strategies
The course covers Linear and Non-linear Regression methods for estimating parameters of models.  We will cover topics like Method of Moments, Generalized Linear Regression, Gauss-Newton Regression, Instruments, Generalized method of Moments.  These methods will be used to develop factor models for securities returns.

The purpose of the course is to develop a trading strategy based on a quantitative factor model.  This will be a group project where each group will come up with their own model and analyze and simulate the performance of a trading strategy based on the model.  For this purpose, we will use the ModelStation software package.  Each group will submit a written report and give a 10 minute presentation of their results.  The grade will be based on 7 homework assignments and the final project.
Instructor: Brian Boonstra     Units: 100     Program requirement

FINM 33602 Advanced Fixed Income Derivatives
The course will focus on additional chapters of fixed income derivatives that were not included in Fixed Income Derivatives I and II (FINM 33603 and FINM 33604).

The topics include term curve bootstrapping and smoothing; in-depth derivation of the HJM framework; Black's model and forward measure; the statistical model and HJM; market models calibration; volatility skew adjustments for interest rate models; CVA counterparty risk; risk management with the statistical model; numerical methods for Hull-White model: trinomial trees, Monte Carlo and finite difference methods.

As a prerequisite, students will be required to have a solid understanding of the material covered in Fixed Income Derivatives I (FINM 33603) and Mathematical Foundations of Option Pricing (FINM 33000).  Students who wish to take the course must also complete and pass a placement exam.
Instructor: Yuri Balasanov, Lida Doloc, and Jeffrey Greco    
Units: 100     Program elective

FINM 33604 Fixed Income Derivatives II
The topics covered will include a derivation of the Heath-Jarrow-Morton family of models using methods of arbitrage pricing theory and an in-depth case study of the Hull-White interest rate model (an HJM model).  Additionally, students will learn about the role of forward measure in pricing fixed income derivatives and LIBOR market models.  Students should be prepared for the extensive use of Stochastic Calculus.  This is a 5-week course offered in the first half of the quarter.
Instructors: Yuri Balasanov, Lida Doloc, and Jeffrey Greco 
Units: 50     Program requirement
Prerequisite: FINM 33603 Fixed Income Derivatives I 

FINM 34500 Stochastic Calculus
The course starts with a quick introduction to martingales in discrete time, and then Brownian motion and the Ito integral are defined carefully.  The main tools of stochastic calculus (Ito's formula, Feynman-Kac formula, Girsanov theorem, etc.) are developed.  The treatment includes discussions of simulation and the relationship with partial differential equations.  Some applications are given to option pricing, but much more on this is done in other courses.  The course ends with an introduction to jump process (Levy processes) and the corresponding integration theory.
Instructor: Greg Lawler     Units: 100     Program requirement

FINM 37300 Foreign Exchange and Fixed Income Derivatives
This course will examine international currency markets, financial products, applications of quantitative models and FX risk management with an emphasis on the derivative products and quantitative methods in common use today.  Topics will include a) the behavior of FX rates: exchange rate regimes, international monetary systems, FX modeling and forecasting, b) FX markets and products: spot, forward, futures, deposits, cross-currency swaps, non-deliverable contracts, FX options, exotic options, hybrid products and structured notes, and c) Risk management: from the trading book, trading institution, global asset manager and multinational corporation perspectives.  This is a 5-week course offered in the second half of the quarter. 
Instructor: Anthony Capozzoli     Units: 50     Program requirement

FINM 36000 Project Lab
Instructor: Roger Lee     Units: 0     Program elective 
Prerequisite:  Consent of instuctor

Winter Quarter Seminars for 2014

FINM 35902 Seminar on Banking and the Finance Crisis
Instructor: Mark Hendricks
This seminar meets six times during winter quarter.

FINM 35903 Seminar on Algorithmic/High Frequency Trading
Instructor: Hongsong Chou
This seminar meets three times during winter quarter.

Seminars are electives and are offered for no credit.  There are no assignments and no exams.  The seminars listed generally meet on Sunday evenings.  Specific dates, times and locations are available at time of registration.  Seminars are open only to Financial Mathematics students.

Spring Quarter

FINM 32000 Numerical Methods for Option Pricing
Implementing the theory introduced in Mathematical Foundations of Option Pricing (FINM 33000), this course takes a numerical/computational approach to the pricing and hedging of financial derivatives.  Topics include: Trees as diffusion approximations; Finite difference methods for PDE solution; Monte Carlo methods for simulation; Fourier transform methods for pricing.
Instructor: Roger Lee     Units: 100     Program requirement

FINM 32400 Computing for Finance III
We will discuss topics relevant to implementing a basic electronic trading system using programming techniques taught in Computing for Finance I and II.  Topics will include the implementation of a trading algorithm, handling the connectivity to an exchange/brokerage house and issues related to performance.  Different design choices and tradeoffs between those different choices; concurrent and parallel programming will be discussed within the context of this project.  Classes are taught using a combination of lectures and in class hands-on lab sessions. 
Instructor: Chanaka Liyanaarachchi     Units: 100
This course is a program requirement if the student does not pass the computer programming placement exam.  The course is an elective if the student passes the exam and chooses to take the course.

FINM 33170 Statistics of High Frequency Financial Data
This course is an introduction to the econometric analysis of high frequency financial data.  This is where the stochastic models of quantitative finance meet the reality of how the process really evolves.  The course is focused on the statistical theory of how to connect the two, but there will also be some data analysis.  With some additional statistical background (which can be acquired after the course), the participants will be able to read articles in the area.  The statistical theory is longitudinal, and it thus complements cross-sectional calibration methods (implied volatility, etc.).  This course also discusses volatility clustering, and market microstructure.
Instructor: Per Mykland     Units: 100     Program elective
Prerequisites: FINM 34500, FINM 33400, or consent of instuctor

FINM 35000 Topics in Economics
This course explores the economics of asset pricing.  Going beyond no-arbitrage valuation, students learn how asset prices can be linked to economic fundamentals.  As the recent recession and financial crisis show, there are important links between financial markets and the real economy.  This course gives students a systematic way for understanding these links.  Several important areas and puzzles of financial economics are presented.  Topics in equity pricing include return-predictability, excess volatility, and factor-models.  In fixed income, the course covers the empirical evidence of the term structure and how it compares to the Expectations Hypothesis, as well as how these facts fit with classes of common term-structures models.  In international finance, the course covers the carry trade, the home-equity bias, and the currency trilemma.
Instructor: Mark Hendricks     Units: 100     Program requirement
Students can substitute FINM 33602 or BUSF 41202 for this requirement.

FINM 36702 Portfolio Theory and Risk Management II
This course combines a technical topic with an analysis of situations that produce outsized losses.  Students gain familiarity with the credit portfolio loss models that are used to limit trading, allocate costs, and determine required bank capital.  They also review the interplay between the technical and human factors that has led to prominent risk control failures.  Unique in the Financial Math program, students make in-class presentations that detail the optimal responses of various market participants to unexpected circumstances.  This is a 5-week course offered in the second half of the quarter. 
Instructor: Jon Frye     Units: 50     Program requirement
Prerequisite: FINM 36700 Portfolio Theory and Risk Management I

FINM 37600 Mathematical Market Microstructure
This course is an introduction to mathematical theory of market microstructure and its applications to low latency trading and risk management. We will study special classes of stochastic processes that can capture market behavior at micro level, review major approaches to modeling microstructure described in the literature. We will also present practical aspects of the subject in algorithmic and low-latency trading. Topics covered in the course include introduction to exchanges and trading practices in the world, application of Cox stochastic processes to modeling of low latency market behavior, review of mathematical models of limit order book dynamics, structural models of price formation process at microstructure level, information-based vs. inventory-based market microstructure models, stochastic control and optimization in trading algorithm development, real time risk management.  This is a 5-week course offered in the first half of the quarter. 
Instructors: Yuri Balasanov and Hongsong Chou 
Units: 50     Program requirement

FINM 36000 Project Lab
Instructor: Roger Lee     Units: 0     Program elective 
Prerequisite:  Consent of instuctor

Spring Quarter Seminars for 2014

FINM 35903 Seminar on Algorithmic/High Frequency Trading
Instructor: Hongsong Chou
This is a continuation of the winter quarter seminar.  It meets one time during spring quarter.

FINM 35905 Fixed Income Derivatives: Before and After the Credit Crisis
Instructor: Yuri Balasanov
This seminar meets two times during spring quarter.

Seminars are electives and are offered for no credit.  There are no assignments and no exams.  The seminars listed generally meet on Sunday evenings.  Specific dates, times and locations are available at time of registration.  Seminars are open only to Financial Mathematics students.

 

Updated February 21, 2014