The course

UCAS code
Up to 5 years
Delivery type



If you want to start your career with a year's work experience in hand, then you should consider this programme. It combines the rigorous studies of the BSc (Hons) Actuarial Science with a year-long work placement in level 4. Good performance means exemptions from professional examinations (CT1 - CT8) as well as 12 months' experience of working in an organisation such as a life insurance company, a pension consultancy, an investment management firm or a bank. The Diploma in Industrial Training is gained through successful completion of this work placement. The work placement helps you to develop specific work-related skills, giving you the opportunity to apply and build upon the theory you learn in your studies. It allows you to take on real responsibilities, enhance your interpersonal skills through teamwork and communication and experience workplace culture.

The Diploma is available to all students, including those from overseas, as it does not require a work visa. If you are planning to come to the UK using a student visa you should check the Tier 4 Student Visa Policy Guidance to confirm you are permitted to undertake a work placement as part of your studies. It is your responsibility to find a suitable work placement; acceptance onto the programme does not guarantee you a placement. If you are registered on the programme and are unable to find a suitable work placement before the end of level 3 then you can transfer to the standard BSc (Hons) Actuarial Science degree.

Teaching excellence and student satisfaction

93% of our 2017 graduates reported in the National Student Survey that they were satisfied overall with their course.


Accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations.

Heriot-Watt Course Institute and Faculty (IFoA) Exam Passed Waiver from Society of Actuaries Exam
F78AA Actuarial and Financial Mathematics A
F78AB Actuarial and Financial Mathematics B
CT1 Exam FM
C37FF Finance and Financial Reporting CT2 VEE Corporate Finance
F78PA Probability and Statistics A
F78PB Probability and Statistics B
CT3 Exam P
C27OA Introductory Economics CT7 VEE Economics
F79SP Stochastic Processes &
F79SU Survival Models
F70LA Life Insurance Mathematics A
F70LB Life Insurance Mathematics B
CT4 and CT5 Exam MLC–Life Contingencies
F70RT Risk Theory
F70TS Time Series
CT6 Exam C and VEE Applied Statistics
F79PA Portfolio Theory
F79DF Derivative Markets
F70CF Continuous-time Finance
CT8 Exam MFE–Financial Economics

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.

PwC Actuarial Flying Start programme

The opportunity of a lifetime! The PwC Actuarial Flying Start programme offers, uniquely to Heriot-Watt University's Actuarial Science students, two six-month, paid, PwC work placements during Years Three and Five. It's the perfect way to gain valuable industry experience during your time at university. As an Actuarial Science student at Heriot-Watt University, you will have the opportunity to apply for this programme in Year Two. If successful, you'll join PwC's actuarial team in London and work directly with their clients - helping them plan for uncertainty as well as identifying, quantifying and managing their risks. They are known for the outstanding training they provide to graduates and if you do well, you could also get a job offer for when you graduate. Don't miss out!

Course content

   Detailed course guide
Year 1

Introduction to Statistical Science; Calculus; Introduction to University Mathematics; Professional Development Planning; Finance; Economics and practical work.

Year 2

Probability and Statistics; Actuarial and Financial Mathematics; Linear Algebra; Real Analysis; Multivariate Calculus; Numerical Analysis and practical work.

Year 3

Financial Mathematics; Survival Models; Portfolio Theory; Life Insurance Mathematics; Statistical Models; Stochastic Processes and a project.

Year 4

12 month work placement.

Year 5

Risk Theory; Risk Management; Pension Funds; Life Office Practice; Financial Economics; Time Series; Bayesian Inference and other statistical topics.

More in-depth information on the content of the courses listed above, how they are assessed and the learning outcomes can be accessed via our current student portal.

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