The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date



Entry to the actuarial profession is by a demanding series of examinations, but the rewards after qualifying are great.  The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK has four levels of examinations to qualify. The first level, the Core Technical (CT) subjects, are taught in our BSc or MSc in Actuarial Science and lead to exemptions from CT1 to CT8.

Our MSc in Actuarial Management is an established and successful programme covering the more advanced actuarial subjects and offering exemptions from the syllabuses of the Core Application subjects CA1 and CA3 and Specialist Technical subjects ST2, ST4, ST5, ST6 and ST9 of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Students will typically study CA1, CA3 and up to three ST subjects (two ST subjects are needed to satisfy the profession's requirements).

Taking our MSc in Actuarial Management is a great way to speed your progress to this most prestigious of careers - it's designed to take you almost all of the way to qualification.  A student who graduates with a full set of exemptions from Heriot-Watt (CT, CA and ST subjects) will only have three more examinations to pass, as well as gaining the necessary work experience, to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Programme duration

The PG Diploma comprises the taught coursework component leading to exemptions from CA1 and the ST professional subjects and takes 9 months to complete.  Successful students can then progress to the project work in the summer.  This takes the form of industry-relevant case studies, assessed by written reports, which leads to the award of an MSc and exemption from the Subject CA3.  In exceptional cases a student may be allowed to write a research dissertation.

The programme is also available to be studied on a part-time basis, over a maximum of 4 years.


Center of Actuarial Excellence

The programme is fully accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Center of Actuarial ExcellenceHeriot-Watt University is 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. With roots dating back to 1889, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) is the world's largest actuarial professional organization with more than 28,000 actuaries as members.

Teaching excellence and student satisfaction

30% of our teaching staff are qualified actuaries, the others are leading Mathematicians, Financial Mathematicians and Statisticians, who are nationally and internationally recognised for their research.  This expertise ensures that what we teach you is current, applicable to the real workplace and current economy.  Our National Student Survey results are consistently high for overall student satisfaction.

Results from the National Student Survey for 2011 reveal that 88% of our Mathematics and Statistics (including Actuarial Science) graduates are employed with a graduate position and/or undertaking further study.  Our graduates go on to work for companies such as Swiss Re, Standard Life, Towers Watson, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays Capital, Scottish Widows, Ernst & Young and many more.  Graduates are employed locally in Edinburgh, London and throughout the world.

Watch a video

Visit our YouTube channel to watch short videos from our students and graduates, and see an example of a lecture at Heriot-Watt.

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

Detailed course guide

In the taught element of the programme each student takes eight semester-long courses. These are linked in pairs, one per semester. One pair of courses – covering Actuarial Risk Management – is compulsory and corresponds to subject CA1. It applies the principles of actuarial mathematics to a wide range of financial and insurance settings. Students choose a minimum of two pairs of courses from a list including Life Office Management (subject ST2), Pensions (subject ST4), Investment and Finance (subject ST5), Derivatives (subject ST6) and Enterprise Risk Management (subject ST9).

The choice of courses may depend on the coverage of actuarial subjects in the student’s first degree. Depending on individual circumstances, other optional courses may be made available, for example courses from the MSc in Actuarial Science or in other disciplines. However, students choosing to take three pairs of courses, potentially leading to exemptions from three ST subjects, will have an exceptionally broad range of employment opportunities.

Students may graduate with the Postgraduate Diploma at the end of the 2nd semester, after completing the taught coursework component leading to exemptions form CA1 and the ST professional subjects.  Successful students can then progress to the project work in the summer.  This takes the form of industry-relevant case studies, assessed by written reports, which leads to the award of an MSc and exemption from the Subject CA3.  In exceptional cases a student may be allowed to write a research dissertation.The dissertation is an extended research project, with regular supervision, undertaken in the summer. The diploma takes 9 months and the MSc takes 1 year full time and part time options are available.

For more detailed course descriptions, please visit our current student website

Entry requirements

Entry requires a strong Bachelors or Masters degree with a substantial actuarial content and covering a sufficient number of the Core Technical subjects CT1 to CT8 of the professional actuarial examinations.

A willingness to work hard and a drive to succeed are also important prerequisites.

If you have not already passed most or all of the Core Technical subjects (CT1 to CT8) then please refer to our MSc in Actuarial Science. 

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:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)


Tuition fees for 2018 entry (by residency status)
Status* Full-time Part-time Per course
Scotland / Non-UK EU £18800 £9400 £2350
England / Northern Ireland / Wales £18800 £9400 £2350
Overseas £18800 £9400 £2350

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

** Fee per course

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 taught scholarships.