MSc Actuarial Science

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: MSc 12 months full-time, PgDip 9 months full-time, PgCert 6 months full-time
  • Accreditation: Accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA); Accreditation By Subject Agreement for IFoA subjects CS1 and CB2

Study with us

Studying an MSc in Actuarial Science at the University of Strathclyde, you'll be learning at a multi-award-winning academic institution - the only to have won the Times Higher Education University of the Year twice.

On this course you'll:

  • gain a strong foundation for the understanding of actuarial theory and analysis
  • prepare for a career in the financial services industry with a quantitative and data facing role
  • learn about the nature and functioning of financial markets and institutions
  • learn economic theory giving context to the above

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

Covid-19: information & FAQs
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Why this course

The MSc in Actuarial Science at Strathclyde has been developed to give students wishing to move into the actuarial profession a strong foundation in the statistical concepts, models and techniques used in actuarial calculations, their computer implementations, and the financial and economic contexts of these calculations.

The programme is an innovative cross-faculty alliance between the Strathclyde Business School and the Faculty of Science

The course is designed so that students with a strong aptitude for mathematics and statistics, but who have not studied these topics in detail in their undergraduate degree, can gain the necessary skills to move into the financial industry. It's intended as a conversion course, teaching material in statistics, economics and finance, and does not currently include specialist actuarial mathematics content (which will be studied in the actuarial professional examinations). It does produce graduates well equipped to apply for trainee actuary positions. Students reaching a sufficiently high level in core classes will be eligible for exemption from two of the professional examinations of the IFoA, namely CS1 and CB2.

Course video

Find out what our students and industry partners say about the course.

One of the things we like about Strathclyde graduates is that they come in with an appreciation of an industry focus.

Ji-Hyang Lee, Associate and Senior Consulting Actuary
Barnett Waddingham

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

The curriculum of our Actuarial Science degree provides a good balance between finance, economic, and statistical theory, computer implementations of this theory, and practical skills and knowledge all underpinning actuarial science.

Core classes are undertaken in the first semester, and address themes such as Principles of Finance, and foundation classes in Statistics and Economics. At the optional class stage (Semester 2), you can begin to tailor the programme to suit your own particular areas of interest and are able to choose from a wide range of classes, offered by all five contributing departments, including some management science and computer science options.

Major projects

The summer project will involve you working in some depth on a topic of relevance to the actuarial profession and this might involve you working directly with one of our industrial collaborators such as Isio, Hymans Robertson, M&G plc, XPS Pensions Group and Barnett Waddingham. Alternatively, university-based projects are also available on industrially relevant topics.


The Department of Mathematics & Statistics has teaching rooms which provide you with access to modern teaching equipment and access to University computing laboratories with all necessary software available.

You'll also have access to a common room facility which gives you a modern and flexible area which can be used for individual and group study work and is also a relaxing social space.


Industrial Advisory Board

This course has an Industrial Advisory Board. The views and contributions to the Industrial Advisory Board by its members are as an individual rather than on behalf of or representing their company. 

Our industry colleagues help to ensure that the course content is fully informed by industry needs.

Board MemberCompany
David Comerford  University of Strathclyde 
Steven Craig  Hymans Robertson 
Stephen Cunningham  M&G plc
Colette Donald  M&G plc
Eva Grace Barnett-Waddingham
Ji-Hyang Lee  Barnett Waddingham 
Dr Alison Gray University of Strathclyde 
Christopher Rice  XPS Pensions Group 
Craig Rodgers  Barnett Waddingham 
Alex McLeman Isio 
Danielle Gray M&G plc
Scott Steven Just Group plc
Alan Quinn M&G plc
About our Industrial Advisory Board members

Work placement

You may be able to undertake an industrial-based MSc project, mostly provided by practising actuaries. This takes place in the third semester of the course between June and September. The placement may be based in the UK or in another country.

The industry project helped grow my understanding of the pensions industry as well as the role of an actuary which assisted me in getting a job as an actuarial analyst.

MSc Actuarial Science Student

The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
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Course content

These are compulsory core classes taken by all students, giving  a total of 80 credits of taught classes in semester 1.

Principles of Finance

This class provides an introduction to the basic principles of financial decision taking and the theory of finance. It will develop the basic principles of valuation, the nature of risk and uncertainty, and the relationship between risk and returns. While the analysis will be developed in the context of corporate finance, looking at companies’ decisions on the investments in assets and how these investments will be funded and the nature of the markets in which they take place, it will also consider the principles underlying financial reasoning that can be applied on a more general basis.

Find out more in the class outline for Principles of Finance.

Foundations of Probability & Statistics

The course and thus this introductory class is aimed at graduates who have not previously studied statistics at university level. The class will provide the foundation elements of probability and statistics that are required for the more advanced classes studied later on.

Inference & Regression Modelling

The aim of this class is to equip you with the essential technical knowledge in probability and statistics required for the Semester 2 classes which then apply these ideas.

Fundamentals of Macroeconomics

You’ll learn about key macroeconomic variables and how changes in GDP, unemployment and inflation can impact on day-to-day policy and business decisions. You'll also study objectives and challenges in the design of macroeconomic policies by central banks and government’s finance departments and gain an understanding of how policies impact on the macroeconomic environment.

Fundamentals of Microeconomics

This class will introduce you to some key concepts and principles of economics, focusing particularly on consumer theory and the theory of the firm. You’ll be shown how these concepts and theories are applied to the analysis of a range of contemporary real world issues.

Students are advised to take Bayesian Spatial Statistics for the purposes of exemption from the IFoA professional examination CS1 and choose further classes to make up a total of  60 credits of taught classes in semester 2.

Behavioural Finance

The aim of the class is to provide you with an understanding of the main ideas of behavioural finance. A particular emphasis is placed on understanding the roles of non-rational actions and the development of new financial models that incorporate these ideas.

You'll engage with up to date research and develop a critical view of existing and new finance theories and models. It aims to introduce you to the rapidly evolving area of behavioural finance. You'll develop an understanding of behavioural finance and an appreciation of its possible implications and applications.

This class introduces you to behavioural finance and provides you with an understanding of the main flaws of 'traditional' finance theory from a behavioural finance viewpoint. It will allow you to develop the ability to discuss issues arising from violations of the rationality assumption and will enable you to evaluate new theoretical models based on research in psychology.

The course will allow you to appreciate the role of new developments in finance and their possible implications for established views of the functioning of financial markets.

Find out more in the class outline for Behavioural Finance.

Security Analysis

The aim of this class is to develop an appreciation of the investment characteristics of different types of securities, particularly bonds and shares, and to develop an understanding of how such securities are valued. This class will build on the analysis developed in the first semester class, Principles of Finance. It will consider the determination of interest rates, the valuation of bonds, the management of bond portfolios, and the valuation of equities.

Find out more in the class outline for Security Analysis.

Portfolio Theory & Management

The aim of this class is to examine the Markowitz (1952) approach to optimal portfolio selection. The class explores issues relating to optimal portfolio choice and issues in practical fund management.

Find out more in the class outline for Portfolio Theory & Management.

Risk Management for Banks

This is a core class for the MSc in International Banking & Finance. The aim is to develop further the analysis of risk introduced in the core finance class and to introduce you to some additional risk management techniques employed in practice.

It provides an overall view of risk management, but will focus on the application of the analysis within the context of the banking sector. The class employs some of the basic principles of financial analysis to consider the application of risk analysis. It explores issues relating to risk management in the banking sector, with a particular focus on the regulatory requirements stemming from the Basel Accord.

Find out more in the class outline for Risk Management for Banks.

Financial Econometrics

You'll be exposed to a number of diverse topics in econometrics that can be used to model real financial data, with an emphasis on the analysis of financial time series. The statistical software R is introduced for financial modelling.

Financial Stochastic Processes

The class aims to expose you to a number of diverse topics in stochastic processes that can be used to model real systems, with an emphasis on the valuation of financial derivatives. In additional to theoretical analysis, appropriate computational algorithms using R are introduced.

Quantitative Risk Analysis
This class will cover the theory of assessing risks under uncertainty. It will focus on the practical assessment of risk using simulation methods such as Monte Carlo simulation. You'll develop skills in communicating risk to risk managers as well as formulating practical risk questions that can influence policy decisions.
Risk Analysis & Management

This module will explore the entire process of structuring a risk problem, from modelling it to communicating recommendations, both theoretically and in practice.

Risk management is linked with decision analysis in so far as we explore decision making under uncertainty and it has links with quantitative business analysis as we explore the use of statistics in understanding risk. However, the topic has some unique attributes such as risk communication and the role that experts play in risk assessment.

Bayesian Spatial Statistics

This class provides an introduction to the theory and application of spatial statistics. It aims to develop an understanding of statistical methods for visualising and analysing different types of spatial data, in particular Bayesian approaches for constructing more sophisticated models. The class emphasises practical inference and application and introduces the most commonly used software tools for spatial statistical analysis.

With the approval of the Course Director, students may substitute other classes offered by the University for one or more of the optional classes listed above. In particular further relevant options are available in Economics and Computer Science.

Compulsory 40-credit module for students enrolled on the MSc. Opportunites are available for students to undertake an industrial summer placement on a competitive basis, as an alternative to the university-based summer project.

Actuarial Science Summer Project
The assessment will consist of both a written report and a mini‐viva.

Learning & teaching

Classes are delivered by a number of teaching methods:

  • lectures (using a variety of media including electronic presentations and computer demonstrations)
  • tutorials
  • computer laboratories
  • coursework
  • projects.

Teaching is student-focused, with students encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and development.

Classes are supported by web-based materials.


The form of assessment varies from class to class. For most classes the assessment involves both coursework and examinations.

Aerial view of students sitting around coffee tables

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Minimum second-class honours degree or international equivalent in:

  • engineering
  • science subjects (eg physics, chemistry or computing science)
  • business subjects (eg business studies, accounting or economics)

Prospective students with relevant experience or appropriate professional qualifications are also welcome to apply.

For Australia and Canada, normal degrees in relevant disciplines are accepted.

Mathematical knowledge

Some prior mathematical knowledge is required, for example:

  • A level or equivalent or undergraduate classes in:
    • Calculus
    • Linear Algebra
    • Differential equations
    • Probability
    • Statistics

If possible, please provide evidence of this in your application  (eg transcript, certificate, etc)

Any queries, please email our faculty directly on

English language requirements

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.0 (with no score below 5.5) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

As a university, we now accept many more English language tests other than IELTS for overseas applicants, for example, TOEFL and PTE Cambridge. View the full list of accepted English language tests here.

Potential students should note that this is an interdisciplinary course and the business classes, particularly Economics, do require a commitment to doing a lot of reading and working at understanding the concepts covered. For success in these classes, students therefore need to be comfortable reading in English.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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A career as an actuary is named one of the safest careers there is by a CareerCast report in 2016.

The increasing accessibility of healthcare and changes to insurance regulation are driving high demand for actuaries and, once qualified, actuaries are able to work anywhere in the world.

Graduates of this course wishing to pursue a career as an actuary will typically work at an insurance company or at a consultancy.

Most graduates enter the profession by joining a company as an actuarial trainee or risk analyst at the same time as studying for professional exams.

Most trainees begin their careers in the financial services industry, particularly in the traditional employment areas of insurance and pensions.


Actuaries typically work in the following areas:

  • banking
  • corporate finance
  • investment management
  • life, healthcare and general insurance
  • pensions

The Government Actuary's Department (GAD) is an independent actuarial consultancy working within government in the Government Actuary’s Department. Graduates wishing to pursue an actuarial career advising public sector organisations in the UK, and internationally, on insurance‐related issues, principally the regulation and supervision of insurance companies, can apply to the Trainee Actuary Programme.

A wide range of career opportunities that require high‐level quantitative skills will be open to graduates of this course, including within the wider financial services.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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Please note there is no deadline for submitting applications.

Start date: Sep 2022

Actuarial Science

Start date: Sep 2022

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Contact us

PGT Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)141 574 5147