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.
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.
In the taught element of the programme each student takes eight semester-long courses. These are linked in pairs, one per semester. One pair of courses – covering Actuarial Risk Management – is compulsory and corresponds to subject CP1. It applies the principles of actuarial mathematics to a wide range of financial and insurance settings. Students choose a minimum of two pairs of courses from a list including Life Office Management (subject SP2), Pensions (subject SP4), Investment and Finance (subject SP5), Derivatives (subject SP6) and Enterprise Risk Management (subject SP9).
The choice of courses may depend on the coverage of actuarial subjects in the student’s first degree. Depending on individual circumstances, other optional courses may be made available, for example courses from the MSc in Actuarial Science or in other disciplines. However, students choosing to take three pairs of courses, potentially leading to exemptions from three SP subjects, will have an exceptionally broad range of employment opportunities.
For more detailed course descriptions, please visit our current student website.
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 or 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 & listening)
- 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.
- Fee per course (module). Refer to the Course Content to see how many courses comprise the full programme.
- 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.