Postgraduate Course

Postgraduate Diploma Actuarial Science

Postgraduate Diploma Actuarial Science

Overview

The details
Actuarial Science
October 2023
Full-time
9 months
Colchester Campus

Actuaries provide assessments of financial security systems, with a focus on their complexity, their mathematics, and their mechanisms. Actuaries quantify the probability and manage the risk of future events in areas such as insurance, healthcare, pensions, investment, and banking and also in non-financial areas. This course is taught by the Department of Mathematical Sciences and is intended for students with a first degree in mathematics, statistics, economics or finance who would like to acquire knowledge in actuarial science.

Our Postgraduate Diploma Actuarial Science course is based on the syllabus of the majority of the core subjects of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, so you’ll cover subjects as part of your course CB1 (Business Finance) depending on the optional module selected, CM2 (Financial Engineering and Loss Reserving) and CS2 (Risk Modelling and Survival Analysis). This focus on up-to-date research findings in actuarial methodologies and actuarial applications means that you gain a solid training in actuarial modelling and actuarial analysis.

It is also possible to specialise on a topic of choice, with options including:

  • Actuarial and financial modelling
  • General insurance
  • Life insurance

You will also have the chance to study a problem in depth through a Masters thesis project on a subject chosen by you or your supervisor.

As part of our Department of Mathematical Sciences you’re a member of an inclusive and approachable research community with an international reputation in many areas including semi-group theory, optimisation, probability, applied statistics, bioinformatics and mathematical biology.

We are genuinely innovative and student-focused. Our research groups are working on a broad range of collaborative areas tackling real-world issues. Here are a few examples:

  • Our data scientists carefully consider how not to lie, and how not to get lied to with data. Interpreting data correctly is especially important because much of our data science research is applied directly or indirectly to social policies, including health, care and education.
  • We do practical research with financial data (for example, assessing the risk of collapse of the UK’s banking system) as well as theoretical research in financial instruments such as insurance policies or asset portfolios.
  • We also research how physical processes develop in time and space. Applications of this range from modelling epilepsy to modelling electronic cables.
  • Our optimisation experts work out how to do the same job with less resource, or how to do more with the same resource.
  • Our pure maths group are currently working on two new funded projects entitled ‘Machine learning for recognising tangled 3D objects’ and ‘Searching for gems in the landscape of cyclically presented groups’.
  • We also do research into mathematical education and use exciting technologies such as electroencephalography or eye tracking to measure exactly what a learner is feeling. Our research aims to encourage the implementation of ‘the four Cs’ of modern education, which are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
Why we're great.
  • Study the majority of the Core Technical subjects of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
  • Work alongside expert academics and practising actuaries.
  • Through our pioneering teaching approach we develop the actuarial scientists of the future.

Our expert staff

As well as being world-class academics, many of our academics have won research awards and grants from some of the largest actuarial society’s worldwide, national or regional awards for lecturing, and many of them are qualified and accredited teachers.

Teaching on our course are expert academics and practising actuaries. The key departmental contacts for our MSc Actuarial Science are Dr Junlei Hu, Dr Haslifah Hashim, Dr Spyridon Vrontos, and Dr Jackie Wong.

  • Dr Hu specialises in actuarial mathematics, actuarial modelling, data visualisation, life and general insurance, optimal (re)insurance, risk management and robust optimisation. Her recent research interests focus on actuarial modelling with machine learning.
  • Dr Hashim specialises in life and general insurance, pensions, financial mathematics, enterprise risk management, forensic economics, and Islamic finance and takaful.
  • Dr Vrontos specialises in actuarial mathematics and modelling, asset-liability management and performance measurement for pension funds, hedge funds and mutual funds, risk management and solvency, and risk theory.
  • Dr Wong specialises in mortality modelling and forecasting, uncertainty quantification, survival analysis, model comparison, Bayesian hierarchical modelling and computations.

Specialist facilities

  • You have access to our renowned maths and stats skills support, which offers help to students, staff and local businesses on a range of mathematical problems. Throughout term-time, we can chat through mathematical problems either on a one-to-one or small group basis
  • We have our own computer labs for the exclusive use of students in the Department of Mathematical Sciences – in addition to your core maths modules, you gain computing knowledge of software including Matlab and Maple
  • We host events and seminars throughout the year

Your future

As a new course, we expect our graduates of MSc Actuarial Science to become actuaries in a range of industries. It has been predicted by the US Department of Labor that the employment of actuaries is expected to grow faster than any other occupation, making it a great prospect for a graduate job.

Aside from a rewarding career as an actuary (actuaries were in the top ten jobs in 2016, careercast.com), clear thinkers are required in every profession, so the successful mathematician has an extensive choice of potential careers. The Council for Mathematical Sciences offers further information on careers in mathematics.

We also work with the University’s Careers Services to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MSc by Dissertation. We have an international reputation in many areas such as semi-group theory, optimisation, probability; applied statistics, bioinformatics and mathematical biology, and our department is strongly committed to research and to the promotion of graduate activities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

We will consider applicants with a 2:2 degree in one of the following subjects:

  • Mathematics,
  • Statistics
  • Operational research
  • Computer Science
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Pure Mathematics
  • Biostatistics
  • Economic Statistics
  • Statistics
  • Economics

OR

A 2.2 degree in any subject which includes:

One module in:
  • Calculus
  • Maths
  • Engineering Maths
  • Advanced Maths
And one module in
  • Statistics or Probability
  • Maths
  • Engineering Maths
  • Advanced Maths
And one additional relevant module, from
  • Algebra
  • Analysis
  • Programming language (R, Matlab or Python)
  • A second module in Probability or Statistics
  • Numerical Methods
  • Complex Numbers
  • Differential Equations
  • Optimisation (Linear Programming)
  • Regression
  • Stochastic Process
  • Maths
  • Engineering Maths
  • Advanced Maths

Applicants with a degree below 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience and previous modules studied.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Bayesian Computational Statistics
(15 CREDITS)

What do you understand about Bayes’ theorem and Bayesian statistical modelling? Or about Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation? Focus on Bayesian and computational statistics. Understand the statistical modelling and methods available. Learn to develop a Monte Carlo simulation algorithm for simple probability distributions.

View Bayesian Computational Statistics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Contingencies I
(15 CREDITS)

How do you define simple assurance contracts? What practical methods are required to evaluate expected values from a contract? How can you calculate gross premiums and reserves of assurance and reserves? Understand the mathematical techniques that can calculate, model and value cashflows dependent on death, survival or other uncertain risks.

View Contingencies I on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Statistical Methods
(15 CREDITS)

This module will enable you to expand your knowledge on multiple statistical methods. You will learn the concepts of decision theory and how to apply them, have the chance to explore “Monte Carlo” simulation, and develop an understanding of Bayesian inference, and the basic concepts of a generalised linear model.

View Statistical Methods on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Stochastic Processes
(15 CREDITS)

Ever considered becoming an Actuary? This module covers the required material for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries CT4 and CT6 syllabus. It explores the stochastic process and principles of actuarial modelling alongside time series models and analysis.

View Stochastic Processes on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Financial Derivatives
(15 CREDITS)

Why are arbitrage arguments important in modern finance? How can a binomial model evaluate derivatives? What are the main models for interest rates? Understand the mathematical techniques underlying the modelling of derivative pricing. Acquire skills in the development of pricing and risk management. Explore stochastic methods and credit risk.

View Financial Derivatives on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Survival Analysis
(15 CREDITS)

What are the principles of actuarial modelling? And what are survival models? Examine how calculations in clinical trials, pensions, and life and health insurance require reliable estimates of transition intensities/survival rates. Learn how to estimate these intensities. Build your understanding of estimation procedures for lifetime distributions.

View Survival Analysis on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Mathematics of Portfolios
(15 CREDITS)

How do you formulate financial decision problems mathematically? And how do you identify an appropriate method of solution? Understand the basic models and mathematical methods underlying modern portfolio management. Assess the limitations of these models and learn to correctly interpret your results from calculations.

View Mathematics of Portfolios on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

MA211-7-SP or MA312-7-SP
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 09: COMPULSORY

Research Skills and Employability
(0 CREDITS)

What skills do you need to succeed during your studies? And what about after university? How will you realise your career goals? Develop your transferable skills and experiences to create your personal profile. Reflect on and plan your ongoing personal development, with guidance from your personal advisor within the department.

View Research Skills and Employability on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Core components can be combined with optional modules, to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding
  • Learn to use LATEX to produce a document as close as possible to what professional mathematicians produce in terms of organisation, layout and type-setting
  • Our postgraduates are encouraged to attend conferences and seminars on a Thursday afternoon

Assessment

  • Courses are assessed on the results of your written examinations, together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£7,728

International fee

£16,560

What's next

Open Days

2022 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, October 22, 2022

Applying

You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

Set within the 200-acre award-winning beautiful parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

Whether you are planning to visit us at one of our Open Days, or coming to an Applicant day. Our campus conveniently located and easy to reach by car, train or bus.

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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