Actuarial Science (1 year) [MSc]

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 were 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 continue to be able to compete in a fierce market while keeping a firm grasp on the risks they hold in their portfolios.

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.

We have designed this course 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 skill set of a modern actuary, including 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.

This course 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.


Accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 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 IFoA offers an educational programme for gaining a professional qualification, ultimately you can become a Fellow i.e. a fully qualified actuary. This normally 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 IFoA you will be exempted from the corresponding exam(s). More information about the educational programme of the IFoA can be found on the Students page of their website, and more in particular you can read more about exemptions on their Exemptions from exams page.

Course structure

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.

View all course units

Summer term

In the summer term students will carry out an original piece of research on a subject relating to the course 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.


Contact us:

Course Director: Dr Kees van Schaik


Tel: +44(0)161 275 5853

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