The course

Delivery
Full-time, Per course
Course type
Taught
Location
Edinburgh
Entry date
September

Contact

Overview

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.

Course length

The MSc Actuarial Science course lasts one year and covers the CT1-CT8 professional syllabus, examined over two semesters, followed by a  three month summer project. A nine month Postgraduate Diploma can be studied for CT1 to CT8 exemptions. You can also study part-time over a maximum of four years (available to students who don’t need a visa to study in the UK).

Accreditation

The programme is fully accredited by the UK Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, offering a valuable opportunity to gain exemptions from the Core Technical (CT1-CT8) examinations.

Our Actuarial Science degree is one of only a few to be accredited by the UK actuarial profession. A good performance can mean exemptions from professional examinations (CT1-CT8) too, giving you an advantage over students on other mathematics courses.

Center of Actuarial Excellence

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.

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 expertise

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 content

Detailed course guide

There are 12 courses available which correspond in total to CT1-CT8 of the actuarial professional syllabus.  To meet university award requirements you must pass at least 8 of the 12 listed below.  To achieve exemption from all of CT1-CT8 you must pass all 12 courses.

Course Professional Subject Semester
Financial Mathematics CM1 1
Finance and Financial Reporting CB1 1
Economics CB2 1
Statistical Methods CS1 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

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.

Career

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.

Entry requirements

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)

Fees

Tuition fees for 2019 entry (by residency status)
Status* Full-time Per course
Scotland / Non-UK EU £17100 £2137.50
England / Northern Ireland / Wales £17100 £2137.50
Overseas £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.