Undergraduate Course

BSc Actuarial Science

Now In Clearing
BSc Actuarial Science

Overview

The details
Actuarial Science
N323
October 2022
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

Actuarial science teaches you the art of turning risks into opportunities. Actuaries provide assessments of financial security systems, with a focus on their complexity, their mathematics, and their mechanisms. You benefit from an excellent starting salary, with graduates earning upwards of £30,000 on average.

Our BSc Actuarial Science course encourages you to delve into your passions for mathematics and practical problem-solving. Our attractive blend of solid mathematics, an understanding of real-world financial issues, and computing skills provide you with the core skills essential for entering the actuarial profession. You learn the theory and methods used by professional actuaries; on how to apply mathematical and statistical skills to minimise financial risk when the stakes are high, in areas such as commerce, government, insurance and finance.

Study topics including:

  • Mathematical finance
  • Financial reporting
  • Contingencies, risk management and survival analysis
  • Mathematical, statistical and probabilistic techniques
  • Programming and computation in languages such as Matlab and R

Professional actuaries in the insurance industry, including influential businesses AXA and Buck Consultants, contribute to our employability module and also host students at their offices to show them typical challenges that actuaries face.

As part of our Department of Mathematical Sciences, you’re a member of an inclusive and approachable research community which allows you to explore topics in pure, high-level mathematics and applied mathematics.

Professional accreditation

Accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations.

Why we're great.
  • 84% of our Department of Mathematical Sciences graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2022).
  • We are continually broadening the array of expertise in our department, giving you a wide range of options and letting you tailor your degree to your interests.
  • You have access to our excellent dedicated computing facilities that provide real-world experience.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation, where you learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and the placements team.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

Many of our academics have won national or regional awards for lecturing, and many of them are qualified and accredited teachers – something which is very rare at a university.

Teaching on our course are expert academics conducting internationally excellent multidisciplinary research, with significant multi-year experience in consulting and practicing actuarial science. The key departmental staff for our BSc Actuarial Science are Dr Spyridon Vrontos (specialising in actuarial and financial data science, predictive modelling and predictability), Dr Junlei Hu (reinsurance and optimal risk transfer), Dr Jackie Wong (Bayesian methods and survival analysis), Dr Tolulope Fadina (mathematical finance) and Dr Peng Liu (applied probability in actuarial science and queueing systems).

Specialist facilities

  • In addition to teaching, we have a Maths Support Centre, which offers help to students 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 a dedicated social and study space for maths students in the department, which is situated in the STEM Centre
  • We host regular events and seminars throughout the year
  • Our students run a lively Actuarial Science Society, an active and social group where you can explore your interest in your subject with other students

Your future

We expect our graduates of BSc Actuarial Science to become actuaries in a range of industries. It is 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, 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 our University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

“Since graduating I have worked as a Trainee Actuary for a London brokerage, then took a year off to learn to code, and now I am working as an Actuarial Systems Analyst at Pacific Life Re. I help design actuarial models as well as working on tools for the actuarial systems team. My Essex degree definitely helped shape my career choices - and the maths is pretty useful!”

Frederick Coles, BSc Actuarial Science, 2017

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2022 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

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

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

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: CORE

Calculus
(30 CREDITS)

This module will allow you to build your knowledge of differentiation and integration, how you can solve first and second order differential equations, Taylor Series and more.

View Calculus on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Matrices and Complex Numbers
(15 CREDITS)

You'll be introduced to a range of important concepts which are used in all areas of mathematics and statistics. This module is structured in such a way that during learning sessions you'll develop good practical understanding of these concepts via discussion and exercises, and have an opportunity to ask questions. Theory is introduced via recorded videos and the corresponding notes published on Moodle, and also via recommendations of textbooks. The contact hours are dedicated to interactive activities such as lab exercises and flipped lecture quizzes; also you will have some additional formative tests in Moodle.

View Matrices and Complex Numbers on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Statistics I
(15 CREDITS)

How do you apply the addition rule of probability? Or construct appropriate diagrams to illustrate data sets? Learn the basics of probability (combinatorial analysis and axioms of probability), conditional probability and independence, and probability distributions. Understand how to handle data using descriptive statistics and gain experience of R software.

View Statistics I on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Introduction to Finance
(15 CREDITS)

Introduction to Finance is designed to give you an introduction to the wider finance subject area ass well as firm foundation for further studies in finance. You’ll gain a overview of the financial system, instruments and markets, and ideas about finance concepts and problems. The topics covered include investment companies, return and risk, and behavioural finance. You’ll develop and be able to transmit knowledge about the financial system, instruments and markets and ideas about finance concepts and problems at an introductory level; be aware of, at an introductory level, different ways of thinking about and analysing financial phenomena; and, reflecting the principles of how we approach Finance at Essex Business School, you’ll gain an appreciation of the role that finance plays in society as whole.

View Introduction to Finance on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: CORE

Economics for Actuaries
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Mathematical and Computational Modelling
(15 CREDITS)

This module introduces you to programming skills in the context of a range of mathematical modelling topics. Mathematical modelling skills will be an important focus alongside learning how to structure and implement codes in both Matlab and R. A key part of the module will be investigative open-ended computational modelling studies at both the group and individual level.

View Mathematical and Computational Modelling on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Mathematics Careers 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 Mathematics Careers and Employability on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Finance and Financial Reporting
(15 CREDITS)

What instruments are used by companies to raise finance and manage financial risk? What is the role of financial institutions operating in financial markets? What are the techniques of financial accounting? How do you use spreadsheets in financial analysis? Examine and develop the concepts and elements of corporate finance.

View Finance and Financial Reporting on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Financial Mathematics
(15 CREDITS)

How do you compare different income streams? You will be able to answer the question after studying this module which is critical in any financial decision making. In this module, all payments are assumed to be guaranteed and we will focus on the concept of valuing future monetary payments in terms of present. This module covers part of the CM1 course of the IFoA.

View Financial Mathematics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Statistics II
(15 CREDITS)

In this module you'll be introduced to the basics of probability and random variables. Topics you will discuss include distribution theory, estimation and Maximum Likelihood estimators, hypothesis testing, basic linear regression and multiple linear regression implemented in R.

View Statistics II on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

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 05: CORE

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 06: COMPULSORY

Optimisation (Linear Programming)
(15 CREDITS)

Are you able to solve a small linear programming problem using an appropriate version of the Simplex Algorithm? Learn to formulate an appropriate linear programming model and use the MATLAB computer package to solve linear programming problems. Understand the methods of linear programming, including both theoretical and computational aspects.

View Optimisation (Linear Programming) on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Ordinary Differential Equations
(15 CREDITS)

The subject of ordinary differential equations is a very important branch of Applied Mathematics. Many phenomena from Physics, Biology, Engineering, Chemistry, Finance, among others, may be described using ordinary differential equations. To understand the underlying processes, we have to find and interpret the solutions to these equations. The last part of the module is devoted to the study of nonlinear differential equations and stability. This module provides an overview of standard methods for solving single ordinary differential equations and systems of ordinary differential equations, with an introduction to the underlying theory.

View Ordinary Differential Equations on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY

Linear Algebra
(15 CREDITS)

How do you prove simple properties of linear space from axioms? Can you check whether a set of vectors is a basis? How do you change a basis and recalculate the coordinates of vectors and the matrices of mapping? Study abstract linear algebra, learning to understand advanced abstract mathematical definitions.

View Linear Algebra on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 09: COMPULSORY

Mathematics Careers 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 Mathematics Careers and Employability on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

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 02: CORE

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 03: CORE

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 04: COMPULSORY

Modelling Experimental Data
(15 CREDITS)

Can you calculate confidence intervals for parameters and prediction intervals for future observations? Represent a linear model in matrix form? Or adapt a model to fit growth curves? Learn to apply linear models to analyse data. Discuss underlying assumptions and standard approaches. Understand methods to design and analyse experiments.

View Modelling Experimental Data on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Contingencies II
(15 CREDITS)

What methods are available to model cashflows that are contingent on competing risk? What techniques for discounted emerging costs can be used in pricing, reserving and assessing profitability? Study the methods and techniques used in pricing and valuation of insurance policies and products, putting emphasis on those involving multiple lives.

View Contingencies II on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: 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 07: COMPULSORY

Capstone Project: Mathematics
(15 CREDITS)

This module will allow you to step out of the classroom and gain real experience in your selected branch of Mathematics that you could not gain from a lecture. You will be able to develop your ability to work independently on research and produce a project report on your topic of interest.

View Capstone Project: Mathematics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 08: 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 09: COMPULSORY

Mathematics Careers 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 Mathematics Careers and Employability on our Module Directory

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Teaching mainly takes the form of lectures – you study roughly two 50-minute lectures and one 50-minute class per week, per module
  • Take a mathematics careers and employability module, where you compile a portfolio of skills and experience

Assessment

  • Your final mark is a weighted combination of marks gained on coursework (eg homework problem sheets or tests) and your summer examinations
  • Your first year of study does not count towards your final degree class
  • Third-year students have the opportunity to complete a full-year or one-term project

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£18,600

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have 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

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2022 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, October 22, 2022

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision.

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following courses after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


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

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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.

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