The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date

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.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


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.

Our MSc in Actuarial Management is an established and successful programme covering the more advanced actuarial subjects.

Students will typically study CP1, CP2, CP3 and up to three SP subjects (two SP subjects are needed to satisfy the profession's requirements).

Taking our MSc in Actuarial Management 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. 

September 2022 entry

The deadline for applications from Scottish and RUK students is 31 August 2022. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by the 8 August 2022.


Center of Actuarial Excellence

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

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.

Teaching excellence and student satisfaction

30% of our teaching staff are qualified actuaries, the others are leading mathematicians, financial mathematicians and statisticians, who are nationally and internationally recognised for their research.  This expertise ensures that what we teach you is current, applicable to the real workplace and current economy.  Our National Student Survey results are consistently high for overall student satisfaction.

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.

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. The most recent video made is of the following Actuarial student Sherry Zhang. It was filmed in the Edinburgh city centre near the famous landmark, the Edinburgh Castle.

Course content

The main course teaching on the programme takes place in the first and second semesters. Students normally take four courses in each semester. Two courses are normally required to cover all the material for one of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ exemption subjects.

Students must take courses associated with exemption subject 'CP1', and then usually choose courses in order to secure exemption from three 'SP' subjects.

(Although only two 'SP' subjects are required in order to qualify as an actuary, taking three enables you to develop a wide range of expertise and widens the job opportunities available to you.)

Eight courses ONLY across two semesters must be completed in total.

Some students replace an 'SP' subject with courses that enable them to secure exemption from earlier subjects 'CB1' and 'CB2', or 'CM2'.

The courses, and the corresponding actuarial exemption subject they are linked to, are as follows.

Semester 1

Compulsory courses

  • Actuarial Risk Management 1 (CP1)

Optional courses

  • Life Insurance 1 (SP2)
  • Pensions A (SP4)
  • Financial Markets (SP5)
  • Derivative Markets and Pricing (SP6)
  • Quantitative Risk Analysis (SP9)
  • Finance and Financial Reporting (CB1)
  • Economics (CB2)
  • Portfolio Theory and Asset Models (CM2)

Semester 2

Compulsory courses

  • Actuarial Risk Management 2 (CP1)

Optional courses

  • Life Insurance 2 (SP2)
  • Pensions B (SP4)
  • Finance and Investment (SP5)
  • Advanced Derivative Pricing (SP6)
  • Risk Management: Techniques and Tools (SP9)
  • Financial Economics 2 (CM2)

Semester 3

In semester 3 students undertake two actuarial/business related case studies or a single longer project with a supervisor from a company in the UK financial industry. The submitted work, and exams that take place in semester 3, are both linked to exemptions from Institute and Faculty of Actuaries subjects CP2 and CP3.

Entry requirements

Entry requires an excellent Bachelors or Masters degree, and for the student to have studied, and be proficient in, the application of a wide range of the early actuarial mathematical material. Broadly speaking, students need to have covered previously much of the syllabus of early Institute and Faculty of Actuaries subjects: CM1, CM2, CS1, CS2, CB1 and CB2.

The degree is challenging but rewarding. Working hard will get you a suite of exemptions and the ability to perform well in interviews in order to secure your first role in business.

If you have not passed most or all of the early actuarial Institute and Faculty of Actuaries subjects then our MSc in Actuarial Science (1 year) degree or our MSc in Actuarial Science and Management (2 year) degree may be better for you.

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:

  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time Part-time Per course
UK £23112 £11556 £2889
Overseas £23112 £11556 £2889


  1. 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.
  2. Fee per course (module). Refer to the Course Content to see how many courses comprise the full programme.
  3. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

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.