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Our Masters in Actuarial Science is designed as the starting point to a career as an actuary – preparing you for a leading role managing risk in financial institutions worldwide. Many of our staff are qualified actuaries, meaning you’ll be able to benefit from their extensive business knowledge and research expertise.
The course offers hands-on experience solving real-life financial problems through interactive lectures, tutorials and practical coursework. What’s more, our close links to industry means you’ll have the chance of a summer placement within Edinburgh's financial sector.
The MSc Actuarial Science course lasts one year. From 2019, it covers six subjects from the professional syllabus: CB1,CB2,CM1.CM2,CS1, CS2. It is examined over two semesters, followed by a three month summer project. A nine month Postgraduate Diploma can be studied for the same six subjects. You can also study part-time over a maximum of four years (The diploma, and the part-time option are only available to students who don’t need a visa to study in the UK).
The School is currently in discussion with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries to secure the equivalent accreditation and exemptions under the new Curriculum 2019 education strategy.
Center of Actuarial Excellence
Heriot-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 organisation 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.
Our expert staff, many of whom are qualified actuaries, will guide and support you throughout your studies. You will benefit from their extensive business knowledge and research expertise, whilst gaining hands-on experience of solving real-life financial problems through interactive lectures, tutorial sessions and practical coursework. The MSc summer project gives you the opportunity to explore in greater depth the hot topics currently facing business, such as Solvency II and pensions autoenrolment. Our close links to industry through the Scottish Financial Risk Academy also creates the potential for undertaking a summer placement within Edinburgh's thriving financial sector.
Students' Actuarial Society
We are very proud of our award-winning Students' Actuarial Society which is entirely managed, enthusiastically and professionally, by our students. As well as arranging a series of topical presentations by industry professionals, and popular social events, the Society's highly anticipated Annual Actuarial Conference attracts speakers and attendees from around the world.
Watch a video
Visit our YouTube channel to see videos from our students and graduates, as well as an example of a lecture in Life Insurance Mathematics.
Course contentDetailed course guide
The following table explains in which Heriot-Watt courses the material broadly corresponding to each IFoA exam is taught
|Finance and Financial Reporting||CB1||1|
|Life Insurance Maths 1and 2||CM1||1 and 2|
|Stochastic Modelling/Survival Models||CS2||1 and 2|
|Risk Theory/Time Series Analysis||CS2||2|
|Financial Economics 1 and 2||CM2||2|
We have an excellent record of preparing students for successful careers - recent statistics show that around 90% of our postgraduate students were either in full-time employment or further study within 6 months of graduation. Our students consistently rate us highly - the Sunday Times University Guide 2013 named us "UK University of the Year for Student Experience" as well as "Scottish University of the Year" for the second year running.
The programme is primarily intended for graduates with a strong mathematical background. Our normal minimum entry requirement is the equivalent of a UK 2.1 degree in mathematics, statistics or a related discipline with a high mathematics or statistics content.
We are also looking for students who are keen to join the actuarial profession, have a willingness to work hard and a drive to succeed.
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)
|Scotland / Non-UK EU||£17100||£2137.50|
|England / Northern Ireland / Wales||£17100||£2137.50|
* 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
Additional fees information
The fee for the Diploma in Actuarial Science is £12,800. This option is available only to UK and EU students
*** Course Fees are £1,600 and the dissertation fee is £3,680
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.