The course

UCAS code
GG13
Duration
4 years
Location
Edinburgh
Delivery type
Full-time

Contact

Overview

Our Actuarial Science degree is ideal if you’re interested in maths and looking for a course that offers a rewarding career – both intellectually and financially. As 30% of teaching staff are qualified actuaries, this degree also offers current teaching that’s always applicable to the real workplace and current economy. There are also opportunities for industry placements and an exchange year in Canada or Australia.

Results from the latest Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) survey show that 85% of our Mathematics and Statistics (including Actuarial Science) graduates are employed with a graduate position, or continuing further studies.

Student satisfaction

91% of our 2018 graduates reported in the National Student Survey that they were satisfied overall with their Actuarial degree.

Accreditation

Center of Actuarial Excellence

2019/20: Our BSc in Actuarial Science is fully accredited for IFoA subjects CS1 and 2, CM1 and 2 and CB1 and 2.

The degree is accredited by the Royal Statistical Society.

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.

Students' Actuarial Society

Heriot-Watt has a very active Students' Actuarial Society (SAS) which won several awards at a recent Heriot-Watt 'Oscars' ceremony. This body is completely managed, enthusiastically and professionally, by our students. With over 250 members, it is one of the largest societies dedicated to actuarial studies in the UK. Regular conferences, professional development and networking events with leading actuaries keep students up-to-date with the profession and in a prime position to begin their careers.

SAS holds an Annual Actuarial Conference which brings together students and financial sector professionals, including many qualified actuaries, providing presentations and debates on topical actuarial issues. Last year's conference was attended by over 200 delegates, and included sessions on insurance investment strategy, insurance of terrorism risk, risk management in climate change, and the rising profile of pensions. The conference is also sponsored by the Scottish Board of the IFoA, which presents prizes for the best questions asked by student attendees.

Industry Prize Sponsors

A number of annual prizes, sponsored by employers, for overall student performance in each year, are available to our Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics students. These include:

  • Standard Life Prize
  • Worshipful Company of Actuaries Prize
  • Scottish Widows Prize
  • Longevitas Prize for Survival Models 
  • IMA Prize

External Speakers

A range of external speakers from industry present to our students throughout the year. These talks are organised by academics within the Department, who have close links to the actuarial profession and the financial sector. Recent participants have included Standard Life, Munich Re, Deloitte, Lloyds Banking Group and Hymans Robertson. The talks allow students to learn first-hand about what they can expect in their work in the future. They also raise awareness of graduate and internship roles available within these companies.

Facilities

Students will have many opportunities to develop their skills in specialist mathematical and statistical software throughout their degree to solve real-world problems, learn programming and mathematical modelling skills and handle large, complex data sets. This software includes:

  • R
  • Excel
  • Matlab
  • SPSS

Practical, computer-based project work is an integral part of many of our courses, to help students prepare for the modern workplace.

Watch a video

Visit our YouTube channel to watch short videos from our students and graduates, and see an example of a lecture at Heriot-Watt.

Detailed course information

Course content

Detailed course guide

Year 1

Introduction to Statistical Science; Calculus; Introduction to University Mathematics; Professional Development Planning; Finance; Economics, Professional Development Planning 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

Risk Theory; Risk Management; Pension Funds; Life Office Practice; Financial Economics;  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.

Employability

Work and study

This is what our BSc (Hons) Actuarial Science students are doing six months after graduating:

  • 74% are working
  • 5% are studying
  • 16% are working and studying.

Managerial/professional position

  • 95% of those working are in a professional/managerial position six months after graduating.

Salary

  • The average salary of students six months after graduating: £30000
  • The average UK salary of students six months after graduating from a similar course: £25000

Jobs

These are the most common jobs students go into six months after graduating:

  • Business, research and administrative professionals
  • Business and public service associate professionals
  • Information technology and telecommunications professionals
  • Administrative occupations

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements
  • Highers AAAB including Mathematics at A
  • A-Levels AAB including Mathematics at A
  • Int. Baccalaureate 28 points with higher level Mathematics at 6
  • BTEC DDD including sufficient Mathematics

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers ABBC including Mathematics at A
  • A-Levels ABC including Mathematics at A

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers AAB including Mathematics at A plus excellent Highers
  • A-Levels AAA including Mathematics
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points with higher level Mathematics at 7
  • BTEC DDD including sufficient Mathematics 

Additional information

  • As Actuarial Science is also taught at our Malaysia Campus, you will have the opportunity to transfer there for one semester or for one academic year, subject to satisfactory academic progress.
  • If you do not see your qualifications here please contact us at studywithus@hw.ac.uk
  • For all years, applications are welcomed from holders of non-school qualificationsmature candidates and overseas students.
  • Please check that you meet our University-wide National 5/GCSE (or equivalent) English and Maths requirements.
  • To find out about the difference between the 3 and 4 year honours courses, please watch our video to help you decide which route is best for your qualifications and experience so far.

English language requirements

  • The minimum requirement for English language for all our undergraduate Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics courses is IELTS 6.5. Please see our English language requirements.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2019 entry (by residency status)
Status* Scotland / EU** England / Northern Ireland / Wales*** International
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £14,640

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** European Union countries (not including England, Northern Ireland or Wales).

*** 'Rest of the UK' (RUK) students entering at Level 1 receive a fee waiver of one year's tuition fee. Normally this will be the final year, or a year during which students study abroad (either at a partnership institution, or at one of Heriot-Watt's overseas campuses).

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales starting undergraduate degree courses in 2020

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

Merit Awards for international students starting undergraduate degree courses in 2019

If you are an international fee-paying, self-funded applicant and have achieved, or are on course to achieve, the minimum entry requirements for the programme you wish to study you may be eligible for:

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.