Financial Mathematics

Math 1140 Fall 2011


Course Description: This is an introductory course in Financial Mathematics. You will learn about the different types of interest (simple interest, discount interest, compound interest), annuities, debt retirement methods, investing in stocks and bonds. Time permitting, more advanced topics will also be covered.

Honor Code: Any activity related to this class will be pledged. Students are required to sign a pledge covering the entire course, as well as individual pledges for the homework, exams, and final. A collaboration policy will be stated clearly for each activity. For more information on the Honor Code at UVa, visit the Honor Code website.

Course Prerequisites: solid understanding of algebra.

Instructor: Ana Nora Evans.
Office Hours: Mondays 11:00-12:30, Tuesdays 3:30-5:00, Fridays 2:30-3:30.
Office: 403 Kerchof Hall. Take the stairs up to the last floor. At the top of the stairs, you will see the 401 office in front of you. To your left is a door that opens to a small hallway. Open or knock on the second door.
Mailbox: On the second floor of Kerchof Hall. As you come in the main entrance of Kerchof Hall, take a left.

Text: Mathematics of Interest Rates and Finance by Gary L. Guthrie and Larry D. Lemon.

Class Meeting Times: MWF 9:00-10:00
Classroom: New Cabell Hall 340

Homework: Homework will be assigned regularly and will usually be due on Wednesdays. The homework will help you understand the material and you will get feedback. Your homework answers should be clear, concise, and correct. The examples in the textbook are an excellent model. Note the explanations that accompany the calculations. You need to show your work and explain the meaning of every variable. The homework is pledged. You are strongly encouraged to collaborate with your classmates, but you have to turn in your own solutions. More precisely, you cannot use any written or typed artifact from the meeting with your classmates. Copying the solution from another student is forbidden. As a rule of thumb, when in doubt don’t do it.
Class participation: Students are expected to be on time for class and attend regularly. To get full credit, students are expected to answer clicker questions correctly. Partial credit will be given for incorrect answers. The class participation is covered by the course pledge. We will use icliker. Please make sure you have one at the beginning of the semester. UVa bookstore should have it.
Project: The project is due on 30 November 2011. Students can choose what to do for the project, but it must be approved by the instructor. Here are some suggestions: analyze a publicly traded company, analyze a real estate deal, build a stock portfolio, or research causes of a financial crisis. Feel free to make it as interesting as you want. The projects will be presented during the last class. Students are encouraged to work in groups of three or four. More details about the project will be presented in class.
Project milestones:

  • 7 October 2011: Teams and brief project description (three-four paragraphs, no longer than one page)
  • 11 November 2011: Progress Report
  • 30 November 2011: Final Report
  • 5 December 2011: Presentation

Exams: There will be two exams given during the semester. Make-up exams will be given only in extraordinary circumstances. Tentative dates: Exam 1 on 26 September 2011, Exam 2 on 2 November 2011.
Final Examination: The final exam is scheduled for December 8, 2011, 19:00 – 22:00 pm. The date and time of the final exam will not be changed without the proper documentation from the dean’s office. The final exam will cover all material from the classes, quizzes, and homework.

Grading: The maximum number of points for each activity are:

  • Homework: 15
  • Class Participation: 15
  • Project: 15
  • Exams: 2×15
  • Final: 40

Grade scale: 90 and above = A; 80-89 = B; 70-79 = C; 60-69 = D; 59 and below = F

Class Rules:

  • Class attendance is required.
  • Late students are allowed in the classroom so long as it happens rarely and they take their seats quietly. If the class is disrupted then the student will receive a zero for that day’s class participation.
  • Leaving before the end of the class will result in zero for that day’s class participation.
  • Late homework will not be accepted.
  • Cell phones must be completely silenced. If someone’s phone disrupts the class, then the student or the instructor must bring cookies for everybody the following class.
  • The students are responsible for any announcements made in class and all the emails sent to the class mailing list as well as their individual UVa email accounts.

Free help: Math Tutoring Center.