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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 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).
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
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 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 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
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.
|Finance and Financial Reporting||CT2||1|
|Life Insurance Maths 1and 2||CT5||1 and 2|
|Stochastic Modelling/Survival Models||CT4||1 and 2|
|Risk Theory/Time Series Analysis||CT6||2|
|Financial Economics 1 and 2||CT8||2|
For more detailed course descriptions, please visit our current student website.
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.