the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

Holiday over part II

Speaking of holidays being over, I've started studying again. This week also saw UNISA finally approve and process my registration for a BCom Honours in Financial Modelling. Phew.

When I finished my BSc Honours last year, I decided to take a break from studying and said 'maybe next year'. After some thinking and digging around, and having formulated a vague plan of where I'd like to be in a few years' time careerwise, I decided that studying financial modelling would press a few more buttons than a vanilla computer science Masters would.

Anyhow... UNISA took over a month to sort out my registration, so I'm now a few weeks away from the first assignment dates, and I'm just getting the textbooks and starting up. Combine that with my rusty maths and statistics and I am, to use a colloquialism, nipping myself. It's going to be a heavy year.

{2009.04.19 16:42}


1. Richard (2009.05.04 - 03:26) #

I've somehow stumbled across your blog whilst searching for the same course for which you have subsequently just registered. May I ask a few questions about it? I'm doing my degree in Quantitative Management through Unisa and am aiming to take on the BSc Hons in Financial Modelling after.

1: How long do you think it'll take you? 2 years?
2: Was it easy to obtain textbooks?
3: How difficult was the registration process?
4: Is the coursework is big jump from undergrad studies?


2. Richard (2009.05.04 - 03:29) #

5: How much computer programming is required?

3. Colin (2009.05.04 - 16:12) #

Hi Richard

1. I'm aiming for 2 years. Doing 5 subjects this year and hopefully the remainder next year.

2. I live in the UK and I was able to get them quite quickly through They were quite expensive, the 3 textbooks I had to buy were around £50-60 each. I did price them through Armstrong's in Joburg as well (since my wife was travelling out to SA), and Armstrong's said they could get them, but they were even more expensive (one, I recall, was over R3,000)

3. Registration took really long for me, but I think that was because I wasn't coming through the Quantative Management ranks, and my application had to be sent to the college for approval, where it seems to have gotten stuck. Prof Potgieter, head of the department, was really helpful, and approved everything very quickly once it finally got to him. I doubt you'd have any hassles if you apply after finishing your current degree.

4. I'm really not sure... I don't know what the undergrad Quantative Management course is like (I registered on the basis of my computer science degree and a BCom from the 90s), but based on my experience, Honours is a natural progression... a little harder, but not impossible if you've coped with the undergrad stuff.

5. None so far, but I think it depends on the subjects. I'm also just getting started, so there could be a lot of coding around the corner.

I'd be more than happy to mail you the tutorial letters for the subjects I'm doing, for you to get an idea of what's there.

4. Richard (2009.05.06 - 05:58) #

Hi Colin

Thanks for the information. Wow R3000 is really steep for one textbook. Yes please email me the tutorial letters. I'd love that. I'm actually contemplating applying for Hons before I complete my degree, on the basis that I'll have completed all the major requirements. I think there's a clause somewhere that states this is possible in certain cases.

Heres my email address: [snip]

Good luck with your studies

5. Richard (2009.05.06 - 06:00) #

If I think about it, some of the more generic subjects which they offer in the Operations Research Honours stream probably entail alot more programming.

6. Colin (2009.05.06 - 15:52) #

I have to apologise, the price I was thinking of was R2000, not R3000 (if that helps!) I've mailed the tut letters and the prices to you as well.

7. Richard (2009.05.07 - 05:30) #

Thanks so much for the tut letters. The material looks very interesting indeed. I'll definately be enrolling. I've actually seen that mathematics of finance textbook before at the bookstore and always felt sorry for the poor buggers who have to buy it. Haha isn't it ironic that now I'm one of those buggers!

8. Munangi (2009.06.21 - 14:59) #

I am currently completing my undergrad actuarial degree and I noticed I had a greater interest in mathematical finance-derivatives, stochactic calculus, etc... than insurance applications.
During my reseach I stumbled across BSc hons Financial Modelling via unisa thus i searched on the net for comment about it or ppl who hve done it.

Hence i found your blog and thus would like to find out more from you abou the programme.

a) Is the programme more Financial Engineering or Mathematics of Finance
b) Does it cover topics like Black-Scholes Models (Stochastic calculus)
c) Measure theory...

I would really appreciate it if you would help me with this regard...

9. Colin (2009.06.24 - 03:20) #

Hi Munangi

To answer your questions:

a) the (more introductory) subjects I'm doing this year lean towards Mathematics of Finance, but I think there are subjects which lean towards Financial Engineering.

b) yes, the Derivatives Modelling course covers Black-Scholes, and I'm doing two Stochastic Modelling subjects this year (and one more next year)

c) not that I've come across, yet.

Hope that helps!

10. maromani ngonidzashe (2009.09.15 - 13:30) #

am planning to do financial modelling honours next year that is 2009 i have a bsc in maths and statistics how ever am not financially very stable for the expensive text books. What advice can you give?

11. Colin (2010.01.25 - 04:40) #

Hi Maromani

I missed your comment the first time around and apologise for replying so late. I'm sure you've looked at funding from UNISA directly, but I would also suggest approaching some of the SA banks - the degree could be a precursor to a lucrative career and I'm sure that as a post-grad, a lot of financial institutitons would be very interested in speaking to you.

If you do read this again, best of luck.

12. Mazwi (2010.11.30 - 14:16) #

I am a last year finance student at UNISA dist learning.i would like to know whether with my degree i can also opt for fin modeling (hnrs).and is it advisable to help me prepare for CFA.please help!

13. sandi (2011.06.14 - 15:04) #


I am doing mu last modules in BSc at UNISA & intend to do BSc Hons Financial Modelling thru UNISA. Any one did it in couple of years and please help me with past tutorials & solutions, past exam papers etc. Thanks

14. sandi (2011.06.14 - 15:07) #


I am doing mu last modules in BSc at UNISA & intend to do BSc Hons Financial Modelling thru UNISA. Any one did it in couple of years and please help me with past tutorials & solutions, past exam papers etc. Thanks

here is my email address

15. Richard (2011.06.27 - 08:04) #

Hi Colin

You'll notice that I posted on your wall in 2009 (see first comment on this article). I'm happy to announce that I have successfully enroled for the course and so far so good.

I was however wondering if you had any electronic copies of past papers or tutorial letter questions and solutions that you could send to me. I'm aiming to do well in this course and would like to attempt as many problems as possible before writing. My email address is

I hope your exams went well in January. Have you completed the course as yet?


16. Senny (2011.11.28 - 09:11) #

I am intending to enroll with UNISA for Bsc (Hons)Financial Modelling and i was researching for some information about the degree and i came across your page. It has some useful information BIG UP for that. I have a good Mathematics and statistics background coa i have a Bsc(Hons) Applied MAthematics so i want fo focus more on Financial Mathematics. If u can u can send some tutorials, assignments and documents with the course content to have a look of what i will face.
My email is
Thanx so much.

17. James (2011.12.15 - 11:56) #

hey all

I have recently completed a bsc in statistics and applied maths ..I'm confused as to what to do next ..does a bsc hons in financial modelling from unisa hold promise? are there good job pay good ? or would I be better off with a math or stat honours? also how does this course compare to the hons in advanced maths of finance at wits ? any answers will be appreciated.

18. Colin (2011.12.26 - 23:47) #

Hi all

I'm a bit slow to pick up on comments on this page, my apologies. A quick note on the requests for past papers etc. I know that many of the lecturers at UNISA would like for old content and tutorial letters to be made freely available, but since UNISA chooses not to, I'm not going to break copyright by sharing them on this site. I will point out one thing: take a look at the actual URLs of tutorial letters you download from myUNISA. UNISA chooses not to block students from downloading tutorial letters from other subjects, and they don't always clean out old tutorial letters. That's all I'll say on that.

@James - I've been in the UK for a number of years and can't comment on Wits' qualification, nor can I comment on the SA job market, but if it's anything like London I'd say that what you learn on the course will stand you in good stead if you're looking for a decent job in the finance/banking industry. The content doesn't seem to be far off of what gets covered in taught Masters in Financial Maths etc at UK universities.

I'm a developer though, and this was more about complementing what I do than opening up an entirely new career for me. Mathematicians in finance generally end up being quants - google the term and look at some of the quant forums (you'll probably get some good advice there, too). Assuming that's your goal, you probably want at least a Masters or PhD, and your day job will probably end up having very little to do with the specific stuff you studied.

Having said that, I should point out that this course is predominantly about probability and stochastics, but in my job for example I deal with quants who spend a lot more time looking at applied maths problems, optimisation and statistics than they do stochastics. In other teams and areas it's probably entirely different. I'd say choose what you enjoy most and can excel at, and I don't think you'll go wrong.

19. kabelo (2012.05.28 - 17:58) #

hey guys
having read all ur comments,i was wondering if any of you would please email me past tutorial letters regarding bsc financial modelling honours...i plan to study it next year with UNISA....My email address is for those that passed it successfully,would u say u struggled to get a relative job or would u say gettin one was very easy to a point where u have many options??

20. WALTER (2013.01.25 - 14:32) #


I have registered for Honours Bcom financial Modelling with unisa but i have not received feedback from unisa.How do i get help

21. Lesego (2013.08.31 - 14:41) #

Hi Colin

Been searching for something like this ever since I registered for an undergraduate degree in Statistics and Operations Research at Unisa. The Honours BSc Financial Modelling course seems like a natural progression.

Can you kindly email me the tutorial letters for all the modules you have done? I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree in Nov 2013.

22. tinashe (2013.10.18 - 12:47) #

l have a Bsc in Mathematics and Statistics and would like to do an Hon in Financial Modelling with Unisa .Can anyone send me tutorial questions an past exam papers and possibly the recommended books for the course

23. Marcus (2014.07.22 - 09:44) #

I have a BSc in applied mathematics and statistics, would be possible to get admission for BSc honours in financial modelling in unisa.

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