Who is it for?
If you have strong technical ability and an interest in solving business problems, becoming an actuary is one of the most rewarding career choices you can make. Changes in the world bring new risks, which mean new challenges for actuaries.
The revamped MSc in Actuarial Science course will propel you into the profession and also prepare you towards non-traditional actuarial directions such as business analytics (from 2020/21 we are proposing a new award: MSc Actuarial Science with Business Analytics – this is subject to university approval and terms will be confirmed soon).
It will offer you a firm grounding in the fundamentals of actuarial science in insurance, finance and investment, business analytical methods, machine learning, data management systems and natural language processing. You will undertake a detailed study of the mathematical and statistical techniques for measuring the probability and risk of future events and their financial impact on a business and/or their clients.
As the needs of the actuarial profession and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries evolve, the skill set of actuaries is used in wider applications in both traditional and non-traditional fields, and the intake of overseas members increases, this programme is designed to reflect these challenges and ensure that it is fit for purpose for actuaries in an ever-changing global business environment.
On this postgraduate course, you will study statistics, probability, stochastic processes, survival models, economics, finance and investment, insurance, pensions and financial contracts valuation, with computer-based applications. This broad and varied syllabus is equivalent to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Core Modelling, Core Statistics and Core Business professional examinations (Subjects CM1, CM2, CS1, CS2, CB1, CB2), and enables you to gain exemptions from them.
In addition, this programme will give you the opportunity to study business analytical methods and learn how data analysis is performed in the real world. You will be able to study machine learning techniques and their use in analysing complex data and designing predictive analytics methods.
The master's in actuarial science is delivered via face-to-face lectures from qualified actuaries, academics and other subject-specialists, complemented by dedicated online support and computer-based applications, easy access to faculty members, and advice on study and exam techniques. Lecturers use their commercial experience and research expertise to deliver a challenging, relevant and intellectually stimulating course. Cass Business School has been ranked as second in the world in the new Global Research Rankings of Actuarial Science and Risk Management & Insurance.
Successful candidates on the MSc in Actuarial Science programme may also proceed to the MSc in Actuarial Management
Daria Prychantovska was a student on the MSc in Actuarial Science in 2015/16.
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What will you learn
On the Actuarial Science MSc course, you will:
- Summarise and critically assess fundamental concepts in statistics, economics, finance, investment and business.
- Recognise and apply actuarial theory used in investment, insurance and probability modelling.
- Evaluate research papers and professional texts to produce an independent synthesis of knowledge and ideas.
- Demonstrate proficiency in the use of actuarial and statistical methods to solve problems in insurance, investment and analytics problems.
- Evaluate and apply alternative approaches in the analysis of financial reports.
- Develop and communicate effectively reasoned arguments on current issues relating to actuarial theory and practice.
- Use software as an effective tool for data analysis and financial modelling.
Eight modules corresponding to the actuarial professional subjects CM1, CM2, CS1, CS2, CB1 and CB2 are taught over Terms 1 and 2, in addition to the Research Methods for Actuarial Professionals taught in Term 1 and two (non-exemption) Business Analytics modules in Term 2.
All of our MSc courses start with two compulsory induction weeks which include relevant refresher courses, an introduction to the careers services and the annual careers fair.
Financial Mathematics (CM1(1)) compulsory module unless you hold a prior exemption
Students will learn how to apply compound interest theory to find the present value or the accumulation of a cash flow, and to apply financial mathematics to solve a broad range of practical problems also via computer-based applications. In addition, this module will demonstrate how loan repayments can be determined, once interest rate assumptions have been made. Students will analyse and compare alternative capital projects and value fixed-interest stock.
Probability and Mathematical Statistics (CS1)
This module will enable students to master the axioms of probability and conditional probability, the concept of a random variable and a probability distribution, and to define and use generating functions. They will apply and debate the principles of statistical inference, explain and evaluate the theory of underlying statistical techniques. They will construct statistical displays of data, solve problems with more than one random variable, find moments of distributions, carry out and interpret analysis of variance, linear regression, and generalised linear regression models. They will test hypotheses and derive confidence intervals. They will explain the fundamental concepts of Bayesian statistics and use them to compute Bayesian estimators. They will also apply bootstrap methods. Finally, students will become proficient in a broad range of related computer-based applications in R.
Finance and Financial Reporting (CB1)
Students will be able to explain the structure of joint stock companies, define the principal forms of financial instruments, and discuss the characteristics of different financial statements. They will master the principles underlying the construction of financial statements and be able to apply and evaluate alternative approaches in interpreting the financial statements of companies and financial institutions. They will also be able to construct financial statements in a form suitable for publication.
Business Economics (CB2)
This module will give students the ability to understand the key aspects of the operation of markets, consumer demand, the production decisions of a firm, the determinants of market structure, and the effects of market structure on a firm’s supply and pricing decisions. Students will discuss the economic analysis at both the micro and macro levels, focusing on those areas most relevant to actuarial science, as well as the implications of changes in relevant variables on the equilibrium operation of markets. They will also develop an understanding of macroeconomic analysis and interpret the economic environment with regard to inflation, investment returns, stock market behaviour, exchange rates and economic growth.
Research Methods for Actuarial Professionals
Strong research is a key element of development strategy for companies and institutions, large and small. This module aims to provide a grounding in research, particularly in financial modelling and information gathering, which students will be able to use to support their learning on the rest of the course. The content is specifically tailored to support actuarial students and help them develop their research and modelling skills by utilising training in a financial modelling package.
Contingencies (CM1(2)) compulsory module unless you hold a prior exemption
Students will gain an understanding of a broad range of life insurance products, their pricing and reserving, and a mastery of life insurance mathematics. They will also be able to evaluate means and variances of present values of cash flows for complex insurance contracts, and calculate gross premiums and reserves using the equivalence principle, profit testing and related ideas. Finally, they will be able to apply mathematics and statistics to related practical problems via computer-based applications.
Students will develop an understanding of modelling principles, stochastic processes, the Markov property and the application of Markov processes. They will construct mathematical models for business problems involving uncertainty, design and calibrate stochastic models, and carry out data analyses. They will analyse the theory of survival models and multiple state transfer models, including transition intensities and conditional probabilities, and be able to estimate mortality and hazard rates and carry out graduations of mortality data. Techniques learnt will be implemented also using appropriate computer package.
Statistical Methods (CS2(2))
Students will develop proficiency in using statistical models and probabilistic arguments in risk modelling to solve problems relating to general insurance losses and premium setting. They will also gain an understanding of dependence and measures of association and how the analysis of extreme/rare events works in practice, perform random sampling from risk models, time series modelling, and explain and apply principles of machine learning. Various topics will be accompanied by computer-based applications.
Financial Economics (CM2)
Students will develop a proficiency in the application of models used in financial economics and understand how these models are used, also via computer-based applications. They will analyse insurance problems in terms of utility theory, define measures of investment risk, and describe how insurance companies help reduce or remove risk. They will be able to explain the assumptions and ideas underlying different financial models, and apply finance theory to assess risk, make portfolio decisions, model asset prices and interest rates, and value derivatives.
Analytics Methods for Business
This module provides a collection of standard analytical methods and explains how data analysis is performed in the real world. Practical solutions are developed and represent an introduction to specific tasks that a business analyst completes on a daily basis that ultimately would help in analysing, communicating and validating recommendations to change the business and policies of an organisation.
All concepts are introduced by providing the necessary theoretical background followed by real-life data analytics tasks that inevitably involve computer-based exercises that fully exemplify how the entire analysis is performed before the recommendations are disseminated to the end-user. Python and R are the targeted programming languages used to elaborate the numerical illustrations.
The pure essence of this module is to help you with understanding and applying essential analytical methods that are fundamental when dealing with complex analytical tasks, which require personal judgement in selecting the most appropriate tools learnt over the time.
This module provides on overview of machine learning concepts, techniques and algorithms used in practice to describe and analyse complex data, and design predictive analytics methods. You should expect to engage with the main idea and intuition behind modern machine learning tools from a practical perspective. Standard computing skills in R,Python and Matlab will be used to put in practice the theory discussed during the lectures.
Students have the option of studying five specialised electives in Term 3 to give them a breadth of subject matter. Alternatively, if students would like to study one particular area of interest in depth, they have the option of either taking one elective and completing a Business Research Project (BRP), which in some cases may be completed in partnership with a sponsoring organisation, or three electives and completing an Applied Research Project (ARP).
The BRP will be of approximately 10,000 words. The BRP offers an opportunity to specialise in a contemporary topic in actuarial science or finance related to students’ future careers. The BRP should be based on independent research. Students are encouraged from the start of the course to think about a topic for their BRP. A member of academic staff, allocated on the basis of the student’s project proposal, supervises the BRP. Alternatively, the ARP will be of approximately 3,000-5,000 words. In this case, the topic is supplied by Cass faculty and initial guidance is offered but no formal supervision. BRP or ARP must be completed and submitted by the end of August.
Over the years, several students taking research projects in this programme have been recipients of the prestigious SCOR award.
Option one: Five elective modules to be taken
Option two: Three elective modules to be taken and the Applied Research Project
Option three: One elective module to be taken and the Business Research Project
Term 3 online pre-courses
Introduction to Python Programming
This module is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of Python programming and no previous programming experience is expected. The teaching model is learning-by-doing and basic concepts are built up in an incremental manner.
The online material is formulated via multiple Python code examples that enable the students to work independently when dealing with small Python programming tasks.
Introduction to R Programming
This module is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of R programming and no previous programming experience is expected. The teaching model is learning-by-doing and basic concepts are built up in an incremental manner.
The online material is formulated via multiple R code examples that enable the students to work independently when dealing with small R programming tasks.
Term 3 electives
- Applied Machine Learning
- Introduction to Copula Modelling
- Introduction to Model Office Building in Life Insurance
- Modelling and Data Analysis
- Stochastic Claims Reserving in General Insurance
- Topics in Quantitative Risk Management
- Ethics, Society & the Finance Sector
- Emerging Global Risks
- FinTech (international elective – Italy)
- Liability Insurance
- Pension Finance
- VBA with Application for Finance
- Technical Analysis and Trading Systems
Assessment of modules on the MSc in Actuarial Science, in most cases, is by means of coursework and unseen examination. Coursework may comprise computer-based components, unseen tests and problem sets, classwork, individual and group presentations, group reports and standard essays. Please note that any group work will include an element of peer assessment.
To satisfy the requirements of the degree, students must complete:
- at least five modules (across Terms 1 and 2) in addition to the Research Methods for Actuarial Professionals module (Term 1)
- five electives in Term 3
- one elective and a Business Research Project in Term 3
- three electives and an Applied Research Project in Term 3
Term dates 2020/21
In-Person ID Checks (all students must attend): Commences 14 September 2020
Compulsory Induction: 14 - 25 September 2020
28 September 2020 - 11 December 2020
Term I exams
11 January 2021 - 22 January 2021
25 January 2021 - 09 April 2021
Term II exams
26 April 2021 - 07 May 2021
10 May 2021 - 09 July 2021
Term III exams
12 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
Students who are required to resit an examination or invigilated test will do so in the period:
09 - 21 August 2021
Submission deadline for Business Research Project or Applied Research Project
31 August 2021
Official Course End Date
30 September 2021
Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.
Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.
The teaching staff on the MSc in Actuarial Science have many years of practical experience working in the insurance, pensions and financial services sectors and are also active researchers in their fields. This knowledge and experience inform the highly interactive lectures that make up the MSc in Actuarial Science.
Module Leaders include:
- Dr Vali Asimit
- Dr Zoltan Butt
- Dr Michail Chronopoulos
- Dr Russell Gerrard
- Mr David Hargreaves
- Dr Zaki Khorasanee
- Dr Pietro Millossovich
- Professor Jens Perch Nielsen
- Dr Iqbal Owadally
- Professor Keith Pilbeam
- Dr Rosalba Radice
- Professor Ben Rickayzen
- Mr Nick Silver
- Dr David Smith
- Dr Jaap Spreeuw
- Dr Douglas Wright
- Dr Rui Zhu
How to apply
Documents required for decision-making
- Transcript/interim transcript
- Current module list if still studying
- Personal statement (500-600 words)
- Confirmation of professional qualification examinations/exemptions/passes
- At least one reference
Documents which may follow at a later date
- IELTS result
- Second reference
- For a successful application to receive an unconditional status all documents must be verified, so an original or certified copy of the degree transcript must be sent by post to the Master's Programme Office, 106 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8TZ, UK
We cannot comment on individual eligibility before you apply and we can only process your application once it is fully complete, with all requested information received.
If you would like to visit us to discuss your application please do arrange an individual appointment.
Terms and conditions
Students applying to study at Cass Business School are subject to City, University of London's terms and conditions.
- A UK upper second class degree or above, or the equivalent from an overseas institution, in a highly quantitative programme such as mathematics or statistics is required to enter this course
English language requirements
If you have been studying in the UK for the last three years it is unlikely that you will have to take the IELTS test
If you have studied a 2+2 degree with just two years in the UK you will be required to provide IELTS results and possibly to resit the tests to meet our requirements.
The required IELTS level is an average of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in the writing section and no less than 6.0 in any other section.
Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study for continuing students (where applicable).
Deposit: £2,000 (usually paid within 1 month of receiving offer and non-refundable unless conditions of offer are not met)
First installment: Half fees less deposit (payable during on-line registration which should be completed at least 5 days before the in-person ID–checks)
Second installment: Half fees (paid in January following start of course)
Career destinations for MSc Actuarial Science
Actuaries are experts in risk management. They mainly work for insurance companies, consultancy firms, banks and investment managers in the areas of General Insurance, Health and Care, Investment, Life Insurance, Pensions and Financial Risk Managment.
An actuarial career is a global professional passport. The employment opportunities available for those with an actuarial skill set continue to develop and grow, in some cases outside the traditional areas. Our graduates from the MSc in Actuarial Science are well prepared to tackle actuarial and risk analyst, consultancy and underwriting roles in leading firms such as EY, PwC, KPMG, Willis Towers Watson, Munich Re, to name a few, that are as challenging as they are rewarding with starting salaries that far outstrip their peers in other industries.
A career as an actuary has been consistently ranked within the top 10 best jobs (CareerCast).
Class of 2018 profile
Recent graduates have secured positions such as
- Actuarial Analyst - AXA P&C Insurance Company
- NA - China - Continent Company
- Assistant CRO - Hellenic Bank
- Assistant Manager - Ariva
- Graduate - Trafigura
- Associate Actuary - Milliman
- Principal pv -Axa
- Actuarial Analyst - Buck Consultants
- Actuarial Trainee - Cambridge Guarantee Limited
- Actuarial Consultant - EY
- Actuarial Trainee - Gen Re
- Junior Trainee Actuary - Government Actuarial Department
- Finance Actuarial Analyst - Pension Insurance Corporation
- Credit Risk Analyst - Santander
Where they are working now
- North America:5%
- Africa and Middle East:0%
The remaining industries are made up of Oil/Gas (7%), Government Agency (5%), Asset Management / Investment Management and Other financial services (10%)
Data provided from alumni who completed the annual destination data survey 2017/18
Shriya Gupta,Pensions Graduate Offer, Aon, Class of 2017
'Using the experience and relevant knowledge of the career team helped me greatly through the job application process and also gave me the confidence to be successful in them'
Sean Quinn, Director, Cambridge Guarantee Group, 2016
'We have been recruiting actuarial trainees from Cass Business School for the past two years. The quality of the candidates has been high and the careers team have been extremely helpful and proactive. For us, Cass Business School is a treasure trove of talent ready to enter the business world.'
Daria Prychantovska, MSc in Actuarial Science, Class of 2016
'This year at Cass Business School has been one of the most challenging and fascinating experiences of my life. My high expectations were fulfilled: exceptional professors, incredible people from all over the world, an amazing city and, to top it all, a desirable job offer, obtained with a massive support from our careers professionals. Thank you, Cass! Thank you, London!'
The MSc in Actuarial Management serves as a continuation of the MSc in Actuarial Science allowing successful candidates to focus on the application of concepts learned, study the key areas of actuarial practice and choose from the various actuarial specialist subjects and attain further technical knowledge. Students taking that MSc get an opportunity to obtain further exemptions from the later Core Practice and Specialist Principle subjects of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
Course information and statistics
The programme is accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries to offer exemptions from their Core Modelling, Core Statistics and Core Business professional examinations (Subjects CM1, CM2, CS1, CS2, CB1, CB2). The MSc in Actuarial Science was introduced in 1985. Today it remains cutting edge, following regular reviews from employers through our Advisory Board, and has been revamped to welcome the profession’s new curriculum. Please note that all accreditations and exemptions are subject to change. Please check if you have specific requirements.