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Our Masters in Actuarial Science has been accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFOA).
This MSc has been designed as the perfect starting point to a career as an actuary, preparing you for a leading role managing risk in financial institutions worldwide. Many of our staff are qualified actuaries that have worked for some of the biggest names in the Acturial world; You will be able to benefit from their extensive business knowledge, many years of experience working in industry and their research expertise.
The course offers hands-on experience solving real-life financial problems through interactive lectures, tutorials and practical coursework. What’s more, our close links to industry means you’ll have the chance of a summer placement within Edinburgh's financial sector.
The MSc Actuarial Science course lasts one year. It covers six subjects from the professional syllabus: CB1,CB2,CM1.CM2,CS1, CS2. It is examined over two semesters, followed by a three month summer project. A nine month Postgraduate Diploma can be studied for the same six subjects. You can also study part-time over a maximum of four years (The diploma and the part-time option are only available to students who don’t need a visa to study in the UK).
Our MSc in Actuarial Science has been fully Accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFOA), for subjects CS1 and 2, CM1 and 2 and CB1 and 2.
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.
Reputation for excellence
Established in 1972, we were the first UK university to introduce a dedicated programme in Actuarial Science, and have since evolved to become highly renowned as a world-leading centre in actuarial and financial teaching and research.
Our expert staff, many of whom are qualified actuaries, will guide and support you throughout your studies. You will benefit from their extensive business knowledge and research expertise, whilst gaining hands-on experience of solving real-life financial problems through interactive lectures, tutorial sessions and practical coursework. The MSc summer project gives you the opportunity to explore in greater depth the hot topics currently facing business, such as Solvency II and pensions autoenrolment. Our close links to industry through the Scottish Financial Risk Academy also creates the potential for undertaking a summer placement within Edinburgh's thriving financial sector.
Check out Professor Andrew Cairns Covid-19 research recently promoted through Prudential:
Students' Actuarial Society
We are very proud of our award-winning Students' Actuarial Society which is entirely managed, enthusiastically and professionally, by our students. As well as arranging a series of topical presentations by industry professionals, and popular social events, the Society's highly anticipated Annual Actuarial Conference attracts speakers and attendees from around the world.
Watch a video
Visit our YouTube channel to see videos from our students and graduates, as well as an example of a lecture in Life Insurance Mathematics.
The following table explains in which Heriot-Watt courses the material broadly corresponding to each IFoA exam is taught
|Finance and Financial Reporting||CB1||1|
|Life Insurance Maths 1and 2||CM1||1 and 2|
|Stochastic Modelling/Survival Models||CS2||1 and 2|
|Risk Theory/Time Series Analysis||CS2||2|
|Financial Economics 1 and 2||CM2||2|
Career prospects and salaries are excellent for graduates of our specialist actuarial science programmes – 93% of recent graduates have secured employment or gone onto further study within six months of graduating. Of those employed, 96% are in professional-level jobs.
Recent students have gone on to work for industry-leading organisations including Standard Life Aberdeen, Lloyds Banking Group, Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, Prudential, Royal London and many more.
The programme is primarily intended for graduates with a strong mathematical background. Our normal minimum entry requirement is the equivalent of a UK 2.1 degree in mathematics, statistics or a related discipline with a high mathematics or statistics content.
We are also looking for students who are keen to join the actuarial profession, have a willingness to work hard and a drive to succeed.
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.
Additional fees information
Contact us for the fee for the Diploma in Actuarial Science. This option is available only to UK and EU students
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.