The course

Course type
Entry date


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.


Data science today is becoming increasingly important within the actuarial field, and Heriot-Watt has developed this unique new programme to meet this growing actuarial demand.

Taking our MSc in Actuarial Management with Data Science is a great way to speed your progress to this most prestigious of careers - it's designed to take you almost all of the way to qualification. Our MSc in Actuarial Management is an established and successful programme covering the more advanced actuarial subjects.The MSc in Actuarial Management with Data Science introduces exciting new opportunities for actuaries of the future.

Entry to the actuarial profession is by a demanding series of examinations, but the rewards after qualifying are great. The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK has four levels of examinations to qualify. The first level, the Core Principles (CS, CM and CB) subjects, are taught in our BSc or MSc in Actuarial Science and lead to exemptions from subjects CS1, CS2, CM1, CM2, CB1 and CB2. Students will typically study CP1, CP2, CP3, two SP subjects (two SP subjects are needed to satisfy the profession's requirements) and two courses on data science applied to insurance.

Actuarial data science combines advanced statistical modelling and analysis with modern computational techniques in order to analyse potentially large datasets arising in insurance and finance. These analyses have the ability to improve forecasts and enhance decision making in an uncertain environment where rapid advancements in technology and data availability are transforming fields of actuarial work. Additionally, they are building synergies with new sectors such as medical and healthcare. This is an area of science and technology that is attracting significant interest and that will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, as more and more industries adopt data-driven and data-centric approaches.

Students graduating from the MSc will have excellent employment prospects that are not restricted to any one narrow sector of financial services. By their choice of IFoA subjects, they may target the life, pensions, asset management, investment and risk management sectors. They will be in demand in quantitative risk management roles in both banks and insurance companies, as well as fund management companies, hedge funds, consultancies, software vendors and regulatory authorities. The market for graduates with actuarial qualifications complemented with data science skills is growing fast and we expect that it will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

Student Actuarial Society

Heriot-Watt has a very active Students' Actuarial Society which won several awards at a recent Heriot-Watt 'Oscars' ceremony. This body is completely managed, enthusiastically and professionally, by our students.



This programme is accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFOA)

Course content

In semesters 1 and 2, students are required to take a total of 4 mandatory courses (F71CA/CB, F71RA/RB) and two pairs of optional courses (total of 4), totalling 120 credits.

Core courses

  • F71CA Actuarial Risk Management 1
  • F71RA Mach Learn Risk Ins 1
  • F71CB Actuarial Risk Management 2
  • F71RB Mach Learn Risk Ins 2
  • F71SD Dissertation

Optional courses

  • C31FM Financial Markets
  • F71DV Derivatives Markets & Pricing
  • F71LA Life Insurance 1
  • F71PC Pensions A
  • F71QR Quantitative Risk Analysis
  • C31FV Finance and Investment
  • F71AP Advanced Derivative Pricing
  • F71LB Life Insurance 2
  • F71PD Pensions B
  • F71TT Risk Man: Techniques and Tools

Entry requirements

Entry requires a strong Bachelors or Masters degree with a substantial actuarial content and covering a sufficient number of the Core Technical subjects CT1 to CT8 of the professional actuarial examinations.

A willingness to work hard and a drive to succeed are also important prerequisites.

If you have not already passed most/all of the Core Technical subjects (CT1 to CT8) then please refer to our MSc in Actuarial Science.

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 and listening)


Tuition fees for 2020 entry (by residency status)
Status* Full-time
Scotland / Non-UK EU £22000
England / Northern Ireland / Wales £22000
Overseas £22000

* 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.

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 scholarships.