The course

Full-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date



This exciting 2-year MSc programme is designed to kick-start your career as an actuary, preparing you to take a leading role in managing risk in financial institutions worldwide.

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 have four levels of examinations to qualify: The first level, the Core Technical (CT) subjects are taught in Stage 1 and lead to exemptions from CT1 to CT8. Students will typically study CT1, CT5 and can choose from some or all of the remaining CT subjects.

Stage 2 covers the more advanced actuarial subjects and offers exemptions from the syllabuses of the Core Application subjects CA1 and CA3 and Specialist Technical subjects ST2, ST4, ST5, ST6 and ST9. Students will typically study CA1, CA3 and up to three ST subjects (two ST subjects are needed to satisfy the profession's requirements).

Students who successfully meet the progression requirements will then go on to undertake a summer project after Stage 2.

Taking our MSc in Actuarial Science and 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 to pass three more examinations, and gain the necessary work experience, to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.



Centre 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.

Reputation for excellence

Established in 1972, we were the first UK university to introduce a dedicated programme in Actuarial Science, and have since evolved to become highly renowned as a world-leading centre in actuarial and financial teaching and research.

Society of Actuaries in North America

Graduates who go on to qualify as actuaries with the Society of Actuaries in North America can get credit from some of the SOA examinations on the basis of exemptions from the IfoA examinations. 

Course content

Detailed course guide

Stage 1

Mandatory courses:

  • F71AB Financial Mathematics
  • F71AF Life Insurance Mathematics 1
  • F71BF Life Insurance Mathematics 2

Optional courses:

  • C21A0 Economics
  • C31FF Finance and Financial Reporting
  • F71SM Statistical Methods
  • F71SZ Stochastic Modelling
  • F71AG Risk Theory
  • F71TS Time Series Analysis
  • F71AH Financial Economics 1
  • F71AJ Financial Economics 2
  • F71AE Survival Models

*progression to stage 2 requires an average mark of 60% over all examinations taken at the 1st attempt, with a grade C required in all mandatory courses.

Stage 2

Mandatory courses:

  • F71CA Actuarial Risk Management 1
  • F71CB Actuarial Risk Management 2
  • F71MD MSc Dissertation

Optional courses:

  • F71PC Pensions A
  • F71LA Life Insurance 1
  • C31FM Financial Markets
  • F71DV Derivative Markets and Pricing
  • F71ER Enterprise Risk Management 1
  • F71PD Pensions B
  • F71LB Life Insurance 2
  • C31FV Finance and Investment
  • F71AP Advanced Derivative Pricing
  • F71EM Enterprise Risk Management II