MSc in Actuarial Science
- Programme Director
- Dr. Kees van Schaik
- kees.vanschaik [at] manchester.ac.uk
- +44(0)161 275 5853
- Admissions Tutor
- Dr. Saralees Nadarajah
- Saralees.Nadarajah [at] manchester.ac.uk
- +44(0)161 275 5912
The profession of an actuary has undergone a rapid development in recent years. Where two or three decades ago the main tools of an actuary in life insurance where his 'yellow book' containing mortality data and formulae for discounting with a constant deterministic interest rate, nowadays the products insurance companies offer are much more convoluted and complex. The introduction of so-called unit linked and universal life products, where premiums are transparently for customers invested in financial funds and in fact customers have a large degree of control over how much premium they pay in a particular month and how this money should be invested makes the management of such products a lot more demanding. A similar story applies to non-life insurance, where in particular more and more advanced risk models are necessary for insurance companies to continu to be able to compete in a fierce market while keeping a firm grasp on the risks they hold in their portfolios.
Furthermore, particularly also in the light of the recent major events in financial industry, the reports actuaries produce for both higher management and the outside world are under more intense scrutiny than ever and are subject to rapidly changing demands. For instance, the move from Embedded Value (EV/EEV) techniques to Market Consistent Embedded Value (MCEV) techniques implies a fundamental change in the way an insurance company reports its financial position to the outside world. MCEV requires valuation in a market consistent manner and hence a correct implementation requires a good understanding of how market consistent pricing works and modern valuation techniques similar to those in mathfinance. Similar considerations apply to other modern risk reporting frameworks such as Quantitative Impact Study (QIS).
Overall, modern actuaries are not just actuaries as we used to know them anymore: they are intensely trained, highly skilled financial risk managers with a strong background in mathematics in general and more in particular in probability and statistics.
For more information concerning all aspects of a career as an actuary the page Becoming an actuary on the website of the Actuarial Profession is an excellent resource.
The School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester has designed the MSc in Actuarial Science with exactly the demands outlined above in mind: it aims at giving the students a strong and deep training in the mathematics that makes up the core of the skillset of a modern actuary, while always keeping an eye on connecting the material presented to the actuarial practice through examples, exercises, coursework etc. As a student on this MSc you receive training in topics such as:
- Markovian models and their application to life insurance products;
- Risk models and ruin theory and their application to non-life theory, including (but not limited to) the Cramer-Lundberg model;
- Important models in the area of market consistent pricing such as the Black and Scholes asset pricing model, the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), interest rate models, credit risk models and modern extensions of these models;
- Relevant topics from statistics such as time series and their applications, survival analysis, generalised linear models etc.
The programme hence provides excellent training for those who seek a career as an actuary, but is also very well suited for those who are more broadly interested in a financial risk management career as well as for those who wish to subsequently pursue research an academic career or continue the study at doctoral level, particularly those wishing to pursue further advanced studies in actuarial science.
Exemptions and accreditation
Accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (the Actuarial Profession), contingent on satisfactory performance a student obtains the following exemptions after graduation from this programme: CT3, CT4, CT6 and CT8. If you are not familiar with the concept of exemptions a brief explanation is as follows. The Actuarial Profession offers an educational programme for gaining a professional qualification, ultimately you can become a Fellow i.e. a fully qualified actuary. This typically requires several years of study next to your job. Their programme consists of the Core Technical (CT), Core Applications (CA), Specialist Technical (ST) and Specialist Applications (SA) stages. If you hold one or more of the exemptions our programme offers then after joining the educational programme of the Actuarial Profession you will be exempted from the corresponding exam(s). More information about the educational programme of the Actuarial Profession can be found on the Students page of the website of the Actuarial Profession, and more in particular you can read about exemptions on the Exemptions from exams page.
There are eight course units to study over two academic terms (all compulsory), and a dissertation/project in the summer term. The course teaching is delivered through lectures, case studies, seminars and project-based work. More details can be found below (click on the course names for more information about the contents of the course).
Summer research term:
In the summer term students will carry out an original piece of research on a subject relating to the programme under direct supervision of one of our members of staff. This will typically be based on existing literature from the field of actuarial science and/or a research topic suggested by the industry (of sufficient mathematical depth). The student will write a report of their work in the form of a dissertation.
Admissions and entry requirements
Academic entry qualification overview: the entry requirement to the programme is normally an upper second class honours degree in Mathematics/Statistics, a Science degree with a strong quantitative component, a subject with a substantial mathematical content, or an equivalent overseas qualification in a mathematical subject. In particular also knowledge of probability and statistics equivalent to second year undergraduate maths degree level is required for entry to the programme.
English language: students whose first language is not English require a minimum score of IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 570 (paper-based) with not less than 5.0 in the TOEFL essay section of the test or 90 (ibtTOEFL).
Fees & Funding
For entry in September 2013, the tuition fees are £16,500 per annum for UK/EU students and international students.Latest News: We are pleased to announce that the School of Mathematics will be awarding significant bursaries to all UK/EU students starting MSc Actuarial Science in September 2013. Further details will be supplied on request.
There will be up to 10 scholarships spread across the five MSc programmes worth £1,500 each for the top students in the 2013/14 academic year.
In addition, all graduates from the University of Manchester will receive loyalty bursaries of £1,000 each. There will be a further 10% fee discount for University of Manchester graduates with a 1st Class Honours Degree. These apply to all MSc programmes.
Information regarding scholarships and bursaries is available on our funding page.
How to apply
Information regarding how to apply is available here.
In case of any remaining questions please don't hesitate to get in touch with the Programme Director Dr. Kees van Schaik (kees.vanschaik [at] manchester.ac.uk) who is happy to help you.