Actuarial science

Actuarial science applies mathematical and statistical skills to problems arising in applied subjects such as insurance, finance, commerce and government. Actuaries are in demand around the world due to their specialist skills.

Actuarial science

Undergraduate degrees

Actuarial science teaches you the art of turning risks into opportunities. It uses principles from mathematics, statistics and probability to evaluate risks in a broad range of areas such as insurance, finance, commerce and government.

What is an Actuary?

Actuaries provide assessments of financial security systems, with a focus on their complexity, their mathematics, and their mechanisms. If you're interested in using mathematical concepts in practical scenarios, such as determining insurance premiums, managing risks, or analysing financial data, actuarial science might be perfect for you.

What will you study?

You'll study a range of different topics such as:

  • 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

You’ll also have access to our dedicated computing facilities that provide real-world experience.

Why study here?
  • Actuarial science at Essex covers the full range of core skills essential for the profession. Our BSc Actuarial Science course exempts you from key Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) exams meaning you qualify as an actuary faster after graduating from Essex.
  • You’ll be part of an exceptional learning environment, with world-class lecturers, professional actuaries, and will be supported by Innovate UK.
  • You benefit from an excellent starting salary, with graduates earning upwards of £30,000 on average.

Career prospects

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

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. The profession enjoys strong job security and competitive salaries.

Aside from a rewarding career as an actuary, clear thinkers are required in every profession, so the successful mathematician, data scientist or actuary has an extensive choice of potential careers. Studying actuarial science at Essex will present you with a clear career path compared with a mathematics graduate. Actuaries work primarily in insurance, pensions, risk assessment, and finance. Find out more about employability in Mathematical, Sciences, Actuarial Science and Statistics.

Portrait photo of Frederick Coles, BSc Actuarial Sciences student who graduated in 2017
"Since graduating from Essex I 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 for Pacific Life Re. My role involves designing actuarial models as well as working on tools for the actuarial systems team. The skills and knowledge that I developed by studying at Essex includes my knowledge of actuarial science and an introduction into coding, which helped to shape my career choices. My plans for the future involve continuing to improve my coding skills as well as my understanding of the re-insurance industry. My advice for other students would be to not give up! There are so many jobs out there that I didn’t even realise existed."
Frederick Coles bsc actuarial science, 2017
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Your postgraduate masters degree

Our MSc 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 your choice, such as:

  • Actuarial and financial modelling
  • General insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Photo of MSc Actuarial Science graduate, George Brooks
    "My favourite modules were those where I was able to work hands-on with data performing analysis, building models, and learning to code. In the era of big data it is an important skill to be able to manipulate, interpret, and gain insights from your data. I had a brilliant experience at Essex, loved the Colchester Campus, and had a great relationship with the lecturers. I am currently working as a Pricing Analyst for RSA Insurance, the oldest property insurance company in the UK. I work within the SME Non-Motor team, pricing shops, offices, pubs, restaurants, hotels, tradespeople, and landlords."
    George Brooks msc actuarial science, 2018
    Join us at our next Open Day

    We have Open Days in June, September and October. Book your place to see where you could be calling home, and we'll make sure you have all the information you need to make the most out of your day.

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    Your research degrees

    The advent of the digital era has revolutionised the study of actuarial science, expanding its frontiers and posing new challenges. At research level, you will embark on a journey of independent study into this thriving subject at Essex.

    Our School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science is innovative and student-focused. We have staff members available to act as supervisors across a number of areas such as: survival analysis, forensic economics, risk management, Islamic finance and takaful, asset-liability management for pension funds, predictability of financial time series, and performance evaluation of funds. Our research groups are working on a broad range of collaborative areas tackling real-world issues in areas such as healthcare, education, insurance, and electronics.

    Why study with us?

    • Work alongside our staff who are strongly committed to research and teaching.
    • Our School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science has an international reputation in many areas like such as semi-group theory, optimisation, probability, applied statistics, bioinformatics and mathematical biology.
    • Students have access to computer labs and software including MATLAB, R, and LaTeX.

    Start your application with us

    Explore our Mathematical Science, Actuarial Science and Statistics research by theme or your area of interest and find a supervisor that can support your through your studies. More information can be found about research degrees on our school pages. Our courses below will help guide you through the various research degree programmes we offer.

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    Join us at our next Open Day

    We have Open Days in June, September and October. Book your place to see where you could be calling home, and we'll make sure you have all the information you need to make the most out of your day.

    Book your place
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    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.