Actuarial Management MSc/Diploma/Certificate

  • Delivery: Full Time, Part Time
  • Programme type: Taught Programme
  • Study location: Edinburgh
  • Entry date: September


*Accept your offer before 31st March 2015 and receive our Early Bird Scholarship (10% tuition fee reduction) No need to apply - the scholarship will be awarded automatically provided you enrol in September 2015.  Usual t&c's apply*

Entry to the actuarial profession is by a demanding series of examinations, but the rewards after qualifying are great. Taking the 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.

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK has four levels of examinations to qualify. The Core Technical (CT) subjects are taught in our BSc or MSc in Actuarial Science and lead to exemptions from the profession’s own CT examinations. The MSc in Actuarial Management offers exemptions in two of the Core Applications subjects (CA1 and CA3) and a choice of up to three of the Specialist Technical (ST) subjects from a choice of ST2, ST4, ST5, ST6 and ST9 (you only need two ST subjects to satisfy the profession’s requirements).

If you graduate with a full set of exemptions from Heriot-Watt then you will only have three more examinations to pass, as well as gaining the necessary work experience, to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Programme duration

The PG Diploma comprises the taught coursework component leading to exemptions from CA1 and the ST professional subjects and takes 9 months to complete.  Successful students can then progress to the project work in the summer.  This takes the form of industry-relevant case studies, assessed by written reports, which leads to the award of an MSc and exemption from the Subject CA3.  In exceptional cases a student may be allowed to write a research dissertation.

The programme is also available to be studied on a part-time basis, over a maximum of 4 years.

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.  

Results from the National Student Survey for 2011 reveal that 88% of our Mathematics and Statistics (including Actuarial Science) graduates are employed with a graduate position and/or undertaking further study.  Our graduates go on to work for companies such as Swiss Re, Standard Life, Towers Watson, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays Capital, Scottish Widows, Ernst & Young and many more.  Graduates are employed locally in Edinburgh, London and throughout the world. 

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.

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.

Professional recognition

The programme is one of only a few programmes accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Programme content

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 CA1. 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 ST2), Pensions (subject ST4), Investment and Finance (subject ST5), Derivatives (subject ST6) and Enterprise Risk Management (subject ST9).

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 ST subjects, will have an exceptionally broad range of employment opportunities.

Students may graduate with the Postgraduate Diploma at the end of the 2nd semester, after completing the taught coursework component leading to exemptions form CA1 and the ST professional subjects.  Successful students can then progress to the project work in the summer.  This takes the form of industry-relevant case studies, assessed by written reports, which leads to the award of an MSc and exemption from the Subject CA3.  In exceptional cases a student may be allowed to write a research dissertation.The dissertation is an extended research project, with regular supervision, undertaken in the summer. The diploma takes 9 months and the MSc takes 1 year full time and part time options are available.

For more detailed course descriptions, please visit our current student website

Entry requirements

Entry requires a strong Bachelors or Masters degree with a substantial actuarial content and covering a sufficient number of the Core Technical subjects of the professional actuarial examinations. It is not necessary to hold exemptions from all of the profession's CT subjects. 

A willingness to work hard and a drive to succeed are also important prerequisites.  

English language requirements

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 or equivalent. We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters 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)

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for 2015 entry (by residency status)
Scotland / Non-UK EU£17550£9660
England/Northern Ireland/Wales£17550£9660

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

Scholarships & bursaries