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Actuarial Science (Including Year Abroad)

Course overview

(BSc) Bachelor of Science
Actuarial Science (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Mathematical Sciences
Colchester Campus
Accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations.
Honours Degree
Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research
BSC N324

A-levels: BBB, including Mathematics or Further Mathematics
Please note we are unable to accept A-level Use of Mathematics in place of A-level Mathematics

IB: 30 points, including Higher Level Mathematics grade 5. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level.

Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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.

External Examiners

Prof Fionn Murtagh
Professor of Data Science

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 MA101-4-FY Calculus Core 30
02 MA114-4-AU Matrices and Complex Numbers Core 15
03 MA108-4-SP Statistics I Core 15
04 MA126-4-SP Financial Mathematics Core 15
05 BE302-4-SP Introduction to Finance Core 15
06 EC111-4-FY Introduction to Economics Core 30
07 MA199-4-FY Mathematics Careers and Employability Compulsory 0

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 MA202-5-SP Ordinary Differential Equations Compulsory 15
02 MA211-5-SP Finance and Financial Reporting Core 15
03 BE311-5-SP Corporate Finance Core 15
04 MA200-5-AU Statistics II Core 15
05 MA216-5-SP Survival Analysis Core 15
06 MA212-5-AU Contingencies I Core 15
07 EC201-5-FY Macroeconomics (Intermediate) Core 30
08 MA199-5-FY Mathematics Careers and Employability Compulsory 0

Year Abroad/Placement - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 AW600-6-FY Compulsory 60

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 MA319-6-AU Stochastic Processes Compulsory 15
02 MA312-6-AU Contingencies II Compulsory 15
03 MA318-6-AU Statistical Methods Core 15
04 EC202-6-FY Microeconomics (Intermediate) Core 30
05 MA311-6-SP Mathematics of Portfolios Core 15
06 MA830-6-SP Capstone Project: Mathematics Compulsory 15
07 MA320-6-SP Financial Derivatives Core 15
08 MA199-6-FY Mathematics Careers and Employability Compulsory 0

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

The course aims to provide an advanced understanding of the theoretical, practical and technological developments that affect the whole of the actuarial discipline.

The aims of the BSc in Actuarial Science are:

To offer an innovative, dynamic and flexible programme that considers developments in the academic study of actuarial science.

To develop students' ability to formulate and solve problems.

To develop in students appreciation of actuarial methods, and of the links between the theory of the subjects and their practical application in industry.

To develop in students a logical, formal and quantitative approach to solving problems.

To provide a foundation of knowledge about the financial sector and risk management.

To equip and develop tools and skills to tackle issues and problems in financial analysis.

To provide students with a knowledge and skills base from which to develop further abilities to understand and analyse financial markets and institutions.

To form all rounded actuarial professionals with good grounding in the mathematical and statistical approach.

To provide a favourable teaching and learning environment for students to evolve, thrive and achieve their potential.

The course also provides the foundation for a career in many areas of finance and risk.

It also offers the opportunity to prepare for eight of the Core Technical Subjects (CT1 to CT8) of the professional examinations of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

The course will produce specialists who will help meet the demand for actuaries to support the local, and national economy, and beyond.

The third year is spent abroad, typically at a US University such as Utah State University (Salt Lake City, Utah) or California State University, Chico but students can choose from a wide variety of countries provided that there is a suitable programme on offer and that any language requirements are met.

The purpose of this year is to broaden the students' University experience through undertaking a year of study at the associated campus.

The purpose of the formal study would be to add variety to the student's mathematical and actuarial study experience.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Knowledge and understanding of the basic mathematical methods and techniques of linear mathematics, calculus and statistics that underpin the study of more advanced mathematical ideas.
A2 Knowledge and understanding of some of the ideas and methods used in mathematical proof of results in algebra, analysis, and discrete mathematics and familiarity with some specific examples.
A3 Knowledge and understanding of the power and potential pitfalls of computer use and mathematical computer packages, and experience in their use.
A4 Knowledge and understanding of the use of mathematics for modelling and as an investigative tool for the solution of practical problems. An appreciation of the importance of assumptions.
A5 Appreciation of one or more specialist areas of economics in depth
A6 Understanding of the application of economic reasoning to the study of relevant problems and policies.
A7 Understanding of contemporary theories relating to portfolio analysis, asset allocation and the market efficiency debate
A8 Knowledge and understanding of the principles of finance relevant to Actuarial Science.
A9 Knowledge and understanding of the principles of economics relevant to Actuarial Science.
A10 Knowledge and understanding of the principles of specific actuarial mathematics techniques
A11 Knowledge and understanding of the subjects of probability and inference and specialist statistics applications in insurance
A12 Knowlede and understanding of information technology skills as relevant to an actuary
A13 A range of ideas concerning Mathematics and Finance, including methods appropriate in specialized applications and some knowledge of relevant probabilistic/statistical/computing ideas.
A14 Knowledge and understanding of the application of reasoning in financial analysis to applied topics.
A15 Knowledge and understanding of the debate on the performance of national and international financial markets
A101 Experience of education in actuarial science in the year abroad
Learning Methods: Lectures are the principal method of delivery for the concepts and principles involved in A1-A15.

Students are also directed to reading from textbooks and material available online.

In some modules, understanding is enhanced through the production of a written report.

Understanding is reinforced by means of classes (A1-A15), laboratories (A3, A4) and assignments (A1-A15).
The 3rd year of this 4 year scheme is spent abroad (A101).
Assessment Methods: Achievement of knowledge outcomes is assessed primarily through unseen closed-book examinations and also, in some modules, through marked coursework, laboratory reports, statistical assignments, project reports and oral examinations.

Regular problem sheets provide formative assessment in most modules.
A101 is demonstrated by successful completion of the year spent abroad.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Analyse a specified problem and choose the most suitable methods and tools for its solution.
B2 Assess the relative merits of a range of theories, techniques and tools needed for a problem's solution or to articulate arguments and policies.
B3 Synthesise and interpret information from a range of sources (lectures, classes, journals, books, etc.) developing a critical evaluation of the importance and relevance of the sources to an area of study.
B4 Construct reasoned, informed and concise descriptions and assessments of accounting or finance ideas.
B5 Critically evaluate contemporary theories and empirical evidence, marshal evidence, develop an argument (in writing) and present ideas in a coherent and effective manner;
B6 Manipulate and analyse numerical (including financial) data and appreciate the nature and limitations of basic statistical concepts;
Learning Methods: The basis for intellectual skills is provided in lectures, and the skills are developed by means of recommended reading, guided and independent study, assignments and project work.

B1-B6 are developed through exercises supported by classes.

B1-B6 are all important aspects of the projects which constitute a part of some modules.
Assessment Methods: Achievement of intellectual skills is assessed primarily through unseen closed-book examinations, and also through marked assignments and project work.

C: Practical skills

C1 Use computational tools and packages.
C2 The ability to apply a rigorous, analytic, highly numerate approach to a problem.
C3 Identify, select and gather information, using the relevant sources.
C4 Organise ideas in a systematic way.
C5 Present financial ideas and arguments coherently in writing.
C6 Use and apply the terminology and concepts of finance.
Learning Methods: The practical skills of actuarial science including mathematics, finance and economics are developed in exercise classes, laboratory classes, assignments and project work.

C1 is acquired through the learning of at least one programming language and the use of a number of computer packages, as a part of the teaching of module for which they are relevant.

C2-C6 are acquired and enhanced throughout the programme.
Assessment Methods: Achievement of practical skills is assessed through marked coursework and project reports.

D: Key skills

D1 Communicate effectively, both mathematical arguments and textual accounts of ideas.
D2 Use appropriate IT facilities as a tool in the analysis of mathematical problems.
D3 Use mathematical techniques correctly.
D4 Analyse complex problems and find effective solutions.
D5 Organise activity and manage time in the course of study.
D6 Capacity to organise and implement a plan of independent study.
Learning Methods: D1 is practised throughout the course in the writing of solutions to mathematical problems, both for assessment and as exercises, and (in some modules) writing reports or projects.

D1 and D2 are developed in group and individual project work.

D2 is developed through the use of computer packages in a number of modules.

D3 - D6 are developed in exercises and assignments throughout the course.
Assessment Methods: D1 is assessed through examinations, coursework and oral examinations.

D2 is assessed primarily through coursework.

Assessment of the key skills D3 - D6 is intrinsic to subject based assessment.


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 a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or 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 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.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: