Key information

Mode of delivery
Delivery type
Full-time, Part-time
Start date
1 year


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You've completed all the maths. Now it's time to get ready for work. Our MSc in Actuarial Management is fully accredited with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and will get you close to qualification as an actuary.

The MSc in Actuarial Management is fully accredited with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK for subjects: CP1, CP2, CP3, SP2, SP4, SP5, SP6 and SP9.  In addition, studying subject SP9 leads to the internationally recognised Certified Enterprise Risk Actuary (CERA) qualification.  It is also possible to 'catch up' with some of the earlier subjects that you may have missed – such as CB1, CB2 or CM2.

These subjects cover a variety of areas including life insurance, risk management, investment, derivatives, pensions, communication and modelling.  You choose the best combination for you.

Completing this degree gets you close to qualification as an actuary, with only one or two exams left to complete after leaving university.  It typically speeds up your qualification by one or two years.

Why choose Heriot-Watt University?

Heriot-Watt university was the first in the UK to offer a degree in actuarial science.  We have been leading the way in the UK ever since and built a wonderful teaching team of world renowned academics and experienced industry professionals.  Each year we enable between 100 and 200 students to gain exemptions from actuarial subjects.  For the MSc in Actuarial Management, we also understand that you need to become an excellent professional and so we enable the development of your softer skills, and integrity, in this area too.

Heriot-Watt University is the only Centre of Actuarial Excellence (as recognised by the society of actuaries (SOA) – North America) in Europe.

We excel in student surveys (this mostly relates to teaching quality) and our research output is world class. 

Study in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a wonderful city close to the sea in Scotland in the United Kingdom.  Heriot-Watt Edinburgh campus is established just to the west of the city in a beautiful green space.  Transport links into the city centre are regular and travel by bus takes thirty minutes – and so you can choose the mix of city and campus life that you like best. 

Edinburgh is the financial heart of Scotland and many such companies are based there.  It is also a centre of arts and culture, with the famous Edinburgh International Festival taking place in August each year.

It is built on seven hills, and views regularly emerge and surprise as you walk the cobbled streets in the old town, or explore the beautiful sandstone buildings in the new town.  Edinburgh Castle rises high in the centre of Edinburgh and is a big attraction for tourists.

Access to all other cities in the UK is straightforward, with fast travel to London for instance taking only 4 hours.

Your Actuarial Career Path

An actuary is an expert in risk management and this is usually applied in the world of insurance.  In order to qualify as an actuary in the UK a number of exams are completed with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) in the UK.  The first set of exams cover the mathematical material you need to know and have IFoA course codes: CB1, CB2, CM1, CM2, CS1 and CS2.  These exams cover the subject areas: accounts, economics, financial/actuarial mathematics and applied statistics.  Heriot-Watt University has a BSc in Actuarial Science and an MSc in Actuarial Science that are both fully accredited with the IFoA for these subjects.  The MSc in Actuarial Science is a particularly quick way to obtain exemptions from these subjects as it takes only one year to complete.

The second set of exams is much more about the application of the mathematics you have already learned in real life.  This is in respect of subjects CP1, CP2, CP3, SP2, SP4, SP5, SP6 and SP9 with the IFoA and is covered by our MSc in Actuarial Management.  We also have an alternative MSc in Actuarial Management with Data Science that covers these subjects but also develops your machine learning ability – something that is increasingly desirable in the modern world.

It is possible to reduce your fees and move extremely rapidly along the actuarial path to qualification by taking our 2-year MSc in Actuarial Science and Management.  This covers the CB1, CB2, CM1, CM2, CS1 and CS2 material in the first year and the CP1, CP2, CP3, SP2, SP4, SP5, SP6 and SP9 material (of which you choose a subset of subjects) in your second year.  It is also possible to take the data science (machine learning) courses.

Completing these exams leaves you with only 1 or 2 exams left to allow your qualification as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries – and so as a professional actuary

Student Actuarial Society

Heriot-Watt has a very active Students' Actuarial Society which won several awards at a recent Heriot-Watt 'Oscars' ceremony. This body is completely managed, enthusiastically and professionally, by our students.


Course content

Year 1

The main course teaching on the programme takes place in the first and second semesters. Students normally take four courses in each semester. Two courses are normally required to cover all the material for one of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' exemption subjects.

Students must take courses associated with exemption subject 'CP1', and then usually choose courses in order to secure exemption from three 'SP' subjects.

(Although only two 'SP' subjects are required in order to qualify as an actuary, taking three enables you to develop a wide range of expertise and widens the job opportunities available to you.)

Eight courses ONLY across two semesters must be completed in total.

Some students replace an 'SP' subject with courses that enable them to secure exemption from earlier subjects 'CB1' and 'CB2', or 'CM2'.

The courses, and the corresponding actuarial exemption subject they are linked to, are as follows.

Semester 1

Compulsory courses

  • Actuarial Risk Management 1 (CP1)

Optional courses

  • Life Insurance 1 (SP2)
  • Pensions A (SP4)
  • Financial Markets (SP5)
  • Derivative Markets and Pricing (SP6)
  • Quantitative Risk Analysis (SP9)
  • Finance and Financial Reporting (CB1)
  • Economics (CB2)
  • Portfolio Theory and Asset Models (CM2)

Semester 2

Compulsory courses

  • Actuarial Risk Management 2 (CP1)

Optional courses

  • Life Insurance 2 (SP2)
  • Pensions B (SP4)
  • Finance and Investment (SP5)
  • Advanced Derivative Pricing (SP6)
  • Risk Management: Techniques and Tools (SP9)
  • Financial Economics 2 (CM2)

Semester 3

In semester 3 students undertake two actuarial/business related case studies or a single longer project with a supervisor from a company in the UK financial industry. The submitted work, and exams that take place in semester 3, are both linked to exemptions from Institute and Faculty of Actuaries subjects CP2 and CP3.

Go Global

Some of our Postgraduate Taught Masters Programmes are eligible for Inter-Campus Transfer. Please contact for further information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees
Status [footnote 1] Full-time Part-time
UK 27200 13600
Overseas [footnote 2] 27200 13600


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Heriot-Watt Actuarial Scholarship For Academic Excellence for 2024-25

Students with a strong academic record, or a strong record in passing Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) exams to date, will be awarded a 20% discount on their fees.  The award is at the programme manager's discretion - and they will make their assessment based on your application.

The award is made automatically on each application received.  If you are successful, then you will see details of the award on your offer letter.

Please be aware you can only receive one Heriot-Watt funded scholarship towards your programme of study. So, for example, you cannot receive both this scholarship and the Alumni Discount

Find out more

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.

Entry requirements


Entry requires an excellent Bachelors or Masters degree, and for the student to have studied, and be proficient in, the application of a wide range of the early actuarial mathematical material. Broadly speaking, students need to have covered previously much of the syllabus of early Institute and Faculty of Actuaries subjects: CM1, CM2, CS1, CS2, CB1 and CB2.

The degree is challenging but rewarding. Working hard will get you a suite of exemptions and the ability to perform well in interviews in order to secure your first role in business.

If you have not passed most or all of the early actuarial Institute and Faculty of Actuaries subjects then our MSc in Actuarial Science (1 year) degree or our MSc in Actuarial Science and Management (2 year) degree may be better for you.

English language requirements

Important: If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5, we also accept TOEFL (scores of 79 and higher).

We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master's programme:

  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)

Why Heriot-Watt?

Center of Actuarial Excellence

We are recognised as a Center of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), North America. We are the only Center of Actuarial Excellence in Europe and one of only 30 other schools worldwide with this designation.

Actuarial Research Centre (ARC)

We host the Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) - a ground breaking virtual network of actuarial researchers and partner organisations from around the world which delivers innovative research on behalf of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).

Maths Gym

Maths Gym is a cross-campus initiative which aims to support all Heriot-Watt students, across all our campuses, to strengthen their mathematical and statistical skills and to boost their mathematical confidence.

Clubs and activities

At Heriot-Watt we have an extensive programme of over 90 sports clubs and societies to get involved in. You can try as many as you like or start one of your own!

Edinburgh campus accommodation

Living on our beautiful Edinburgh campus is a great way to meet others from all over the world. Our student accommodation is within easy reach of the teaching buildings, sports facilities, catering venues and the Student Union

Edinburgh Campus facilities

At Heriot-Watt University, we offer a wide range of services to help you deal with all aspects of your life with us, whether these be academic, personal, technical, financial or just plain fun!

Health and wellbeing

Student Wellbeing Services aim to provide a range of support, guidance, activities and advice to help students to be their best, and get the most from their university experience. From counselling to coaching we'll sure you are fully supported.

Heriot-Watt Student Union

There's more to university life than simply getting your degree, and Heriot-Watt University Student Union is all about helping you to have the best possible experience while you study here.

Living in Edinburgh

Historic and beautiful, a cultural capital that fuels the senses whether you love the arts or nature, nightlife or study life, Edinburgh is stimulating and inspirational and never, ever boring.

Sport facilities

Oriam, Scotland Sports Performance Centre offers state-of-the-art sports facilities, for all levels of sport and ability

Your career

Employers around the world actively seek out our graduates because they are work-ready. All our degrees are career-focused and relevant to the needs of industry. Around 95% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

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