Actuaries evaluate and manage financial risk. They make financial sense of the future for their clients by applying advanced mathematical and statistical techniques to solve complex financial problems.
Qualifying as an actuary is a passport to a wide variety of careers in insurance companies, investments, pensions, health care and banking – not just in the UK, but throughout the world. Kent is one of a very few universities in the UK to teach the subject.
The MSc is available as a full-time (one-year) programme and is suitable for those who have completed a first degree or postgraduate diploma in Actuarial Science, or those who have studied the majority of the earlier subjects in the Core Technical Stage subjects.
Accreditation - Institute and Faculty of Actuaries Curriculum 2019
This year, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is introducing a new actuarial qualification structure called Curriculum 2019. We are delighted to say that we have successfully achieved re-accreditation for all of our Actuarial Science programmes and will be offering exemptions under the IFoA's new qualification structure from September 2019.
About the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (SMSAS)
The School has a strong reputation for world-class research and a well-established system of support and training, with a high level of contact between staff and research students. Postgraduate students develop analytical, communication and research skills.
In 2010, the Centre for Actuarial Science, Risk and Investment (CASRI) was set up within SMSAS to reflect the widening scope of the teaching and research of the staff. Areas of research interest include economic capital and risk management for financial services firms, mortality and longevity modelling, longevity indices and markets. Other research topics include genetics and insurance, insurance economics, pensions and corporate reporting.
The Centre includes 11 professionally qualified actuaries with many years’ practical experience in insurance and pensions, and who maintain excellent links with the actuarial profession.
Think Kent video series
How long are you likely to live? Being able to model human longevity accurately is essential for pension schemes and life insurance companies. In this entertaining lecture, Professor Paul Sweeting, Professor of Actuarial Science at the University of Kent, explores the key issues, and how research is helping to address them.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 100% of our research was judged to be of international quality and we were ranked 25th in the UK for research power.
An impressive 92% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
The course is based on a ‘core modules plus options’ structure and exemptions can be gained from professional examinations.
You must take 180 credits in order to pass the MSc. If you take fewer than 180 credits, you may be eligible for the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Actuarial Science.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
|Compulsory modules currently include||Credits|
MA921 - Actuarial Risk Management 1
The aim of this module is to develop the student's ability to apply a wide range of key actuarial concepts in simple traditional and non-traditional situations.
Outline syllabus includes:
* providers of benefits;
* managing risks;
* life and general insurance products;
* regulatory regimes;
* external environment;
* cashflows of simple products;
* money, bond, equity and property markets;
* futures and options; collective investment vehicles;
* overseas markets; economic influences on investment markets;
* other factors affecting relative valuation;
* relationship between returns on asset classes;
* asset modelling;
* meeting institutional investor needs;
* personal investment;
* valuation of individual investments;
* valuation of asset classes and portfolios;
* developing an investment strategy.View full module details
MA922 - Actuarial Risk Management 2
The aim of this module is to develop the student's ability to apply a wide range of key actuarial concepts in simple traditional and non-traditional situations. Outline syllabus includes: how to do a professional job; contract design; modelling; data; setting assumptions; expenses; pricing and financing strategies; valuing liabilities; accounting and disclosure; surplus and surplus management; sources of risks; risks in benefit schemes; pricing and insurance risks; the risk management process; risk management tools; capital management and monitoring experience.View full module details
MA953 - Communications
Actuaries deal with complex actuarial and financial concepts in multi-disciplinary teams, so it is vital that they can communicate these concepts clearly and effectively to a wider audience. This module helps students to develop the ability to present fundamental actuarial ideas and concepts clearly to a wide range of different recipients. Students will be expected to demonstrate effective communication skills using a variety of different media, including PowerPoint slide presentations, and formal/informal letters and e-mails. Exercises are based on real-world commercial situations, and there are two group exercises, one of which is assessed.
Marks on this module can count towards exemption from the professional examination CA3 of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Please see http://www.kent.ac.uk/casri/Accreditation/index.html for further details.View full module details
|Optional modules may include||Credits|
MA909 - Enterprise Risk Management
The aim of this module is to introduce the key principles of Enterprise Risk Management ("ERM") within an organisation (e.g. insurance companies, banks, pension schemes). ERM involves the integration of risk management across an organisation, rather than treating each individual risk which an organisation faces separately. Students should gain an understanding of the implementation and application of ERM; as such successful students in MA909 will acquire skills which are applicable to a diverse range of organisations and scenarios. A number of syllabus items are highly technical - students will be introduced to a number of concepts such as copulas and GARCH models, whilst developing concepts introduced under CT6, CT8 and CA1. As such students intending to study this module should be confident with material studied in the CT6 and CT8 syllabuses. Outline syllabus: ERM framework and processes, risk classification, modelling risks and correlations, identifying, measuring and managing risks across an organisation, economic capital, application of quantitative techniques/models such as copulas, extreme value theory, credit risk models, GARCH models.
Marks on this module can count towards exemption from the professional examination ST9 of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Please see http://www.kent.ac.uk/casri/Accreditation/index.html for further details.View full module details
MA912 - Life Insurance
This module introduces students to the principles of actuarial planning and control, and mathematical and economic techniques, relevant to life insurance companies. The student should gain the ability to apply the knowledge and understanding, in simple situations, to the operation, on sound financial lines, of life insurance companies. Outline syllabus includes: principal terms used in life insurance; the main types of life insurance products; methods of distributing profits to with profits policyholders including the use of asset shares; effect of the general business environment on a life insurance company; risks to a life insurance company and methods to manage these risks (including the use of reinsurance and underwriting); use of actuarial models for decision making purposes; principles of unit pricing and the technique of actuarial funding for unit linked life insurance contracts; cost of guarantees and options; determining discontinuance and alteration terms for without profits contracts; factors to consider in determining a suitable design for a life insurance product; setting assumptions for pricing and valuing life insurance contracts; determining supervisory reserves; principles of investment for a life insurance company; monitoring actual experience of a life insurance company.View full module details
MA914 - Pensions and Other Benefits
The aim of this module is to develop student's ability to apply, in simple situations, the mathematical and economic techniques and the principles of actuarial planning and control needed for the operation on sound financial lines of providers of pensions or other employee benefits. The syllabus includes: providers of pensions and other benefits, meeting the needs of interested parties; environment in which benefits are provided; scheme design; risk and uncertainties; financing benefits; investment; actuarial valuations – use of models; asset and benefit valuation models; funding methods; assumptions; discontinuance; valuation data; the need for valuations; options and guarantees; asset liability matching; insurance; sources of surplus; analysis of experience.
To follow professional curriculum of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries examination ST4 – https://www.actuaries.org.uk/studying/plan-my-study-route/fellowshipassociateship/specialist-technical-subjects. This is a dynamic syllabus, changing regularly to reflect current practice.View full module details
MA915 - Finance and Investment
The aim of this module is to introduce students to various financing and investment opportunities available to participants in financial markets. The module covers various different asset classes like hedge funds, private equity, infrastructure and derivatives pricing and valuation. The module also explores the relationship between investors and investment managers in detail. The concepts of risk and return and the roles of regulators, central banks and governments are also analysed. Outline syllabus includes: the theory of finance, specialist asset classes, influence of regulatory and legislative framework on markets, fundamental analysis, valuation of assets, investment indices, performance measurement, risk control, actuarial techniques, portfolio management and taxation.
To follow professional curriculum of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries examination ST5 – https://www.actuaries.org.uk/studying/plan-my-study-route/fellowshipassociateship/specialist-technical-subjects. This is a dynamic syllabus, changing regularly to reflect current practice.View full module details
MA916 - Derivative Securities
This module introduces different financial derivative contracts available in the market, develops pricing techniques and risk management tools to manage risks associated with a portfolio of derivative contracts. Principle of no-arbitrage, or absence of risk-free arbitrage opportunities, is applied to determine prices of derivative contracts, within the framework of binomial tree and geometric Brownian motion models. Interest rate models and interest rate derivatives are discussed in detail. Credit risk models are introduced in the context of pricing defaultable bonds and credit derivatives. Outline syllabus includes: An introduction to derivatives, futures and forward, options and trading strategies, binomial tree model, Black-Scholes option pricing formula, Greeks and derivative risk management, numerical techniques, exotic options, interest rate models and interest rate derivatives, credit risk and credit derivatives.
To follow professional curriculum of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries examination ST6 – https://www.actuaries.org.uk/studying/plan-my-study-route/fellowshipassociateship/specialist-technical-subjects. This is a dynamic syllabus, changing regularly to reflect current practice.View full module details
MA917 - General Insurance Reserving and Capital Modelling
The aim of this module is to develop the student's ability to apply, in simple situations, the mathematical and economic techniques and the principles of reserving and capital modelling needed for the operation on sound financial lines of general insurers. Outline syllabus includes: insurance products; reinsurance products; the business environment; Lloyd's; risk and uncertainty; data; actuarial investigations; reserving by triangulation methods; reserving bases; stochastic claims reserving; assessment of reserving results; use of ranges and best estimates in reserving; investment principles and asset liability matching; capital modelling; determining appropriate reinsurance; reserving of reinsurance; accounting principles; interpreting accounts; regulation.
To follow professional curriculum of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries examination ST7 – https://www.actuaries.org.uk/studying/plan-my-study-route/fellowshipassociateship/specialist-technical-subjects. This is a dynamic syllabus, changing regularly to reflect current practice.View full module details
MA918 - General Insurance Pricing
The aim of this module is to develop the student's ability to apply, in simple situations, the mathematical and economic techniques and the principles of premium rating needed for the operation on sound financial lines of general insurers. Outline syllabus includes: insurance products; reinsurance products; the business environment; risk and uncertainty; data; actuarial investigations; aggregate claim distribution methods; introduction to rating methodologies and bases; rating using frequency-severity and burning cost approaches; rating using original loss curves; generalised linear modelling; use of multivariate analysis in pricing; credibility theory; rate monitoring; pricing of reinsurance; use of catastrophe models.
To follow professional curriculum of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries examination ST8 – https://www.actuaries.org.uk/studying/plan-my-study-route/fellowshipassociateship/specialist-technical-subjects. This is a dynamic syllabus, changing regularly to reflect current practice.View full module details
MA923 - Introduction to Actuarial Research
The aim of the module is to introduce the students to actuarial research topics. The students will be introduced to research tools which they will use to carry out a short project on one of these topics. Outline syllabus includes: Scientific word-processing and computing, in which students are introduced to, and gain experience of, the main computing utilities currently used in the School and across campus which are relevant to the course. Scientific word-processing will be taught using LaTex. Students will also be introduced to the statistical software R. Topics in advanced topical actuarial research: Students will be introduced to areas of actuarial research which are topical and are of interest to the actuarial profession. This may include, but is not limited to, advanced topics on financial risk management, mortality models and adverse selection. Project work: There is no fixed syllabus for this component of the course. Students will work on one of the areas of actuarial research introduced in the course. They will produce a review of existing literature on the particular topic to gain a better understanding of the issues involved. The students will then be required to make a contribution to the knowledge and understanding of that particular area of research and produce a written report.View full module details
MA924 - Short Project (Actuarial Research)
Students, either individually or as part of a group, will be assigned a project on an area of actuarial research. For each project, the students will be required to process and analyse information, form conclusions, and produce a written report in Latex that contains a review of existing literature on the particular topic, and a contribution to the knowledge and understanding of that particular area of research.View full module details
MA942 - Data Science with R
Introduction: Machine learning and data visualisation with R.
Classification and prediction: Generalised linear model (GLM), linear discrimination analysis (LDA), k-nearest neighbors (KNN). R-based worked examples.
Resampling methods: Cross-validation (CV) and bootstrap. R-based worked examples.
Regression tree-based methods: Classification and regression trees (CART), bagging, random forests and boosting. R-based worked examples.
Support vector machines (SVM): Support vector classifier, regression SVM. R-based worked examples.
Machine Learning in Action:
(a) Biomedical and health data analysis;
(b) Bond default data analysis;
(c) Insurance data analysis;
(d) Financial data analysis;
(e) Other big data analysis.View full module details
MA950 - Prophet
This module gives students practical experience of working with the financial actuarial model, PROPHET, which is used by commercial companies worldwide primarily for profit testing, valuation and model office work. On successful completion of the module, students will have developed skills in solving actuarial problems using appropriate computer techniques. They will also have developed skills using appropriate information technology. Outline syllabus includes: overview of the uses and applications of PROPHET; introduction on how to use the software package (including security implications); using Example Model Office to perform and check the results (for reasonableness) on new business profit tests on various products using the edit facility on the model point file, parameter file and global file; creation of a new product on PROPHET using an empty workspace and selecting the appropriate indicators and variables for that product; setting up a model point file, parameter file and global file for the new product and also setting up a run setting and run structure for this product; performing a profit test for the new product using one in force model point and one new business model point and checking the cash flow results obtained; performing a number of sensitivity tests on a series of new business model points to achieve a given profit criteria; reporting on dependencies in Diagram View; updating the library and product; using the re-scan and regeneration of products facilities.View full module details
MA951 - Prophet 2
This module builds on the knowledge of the use of PROPHET introduced to students in MACT9500 – PROPHET 1. Outline syllabus includes: using Example Model Office to perform and check the results (for reasonableness) on Model Office runs using multiple products and the total business summary file including when changes have been made to the assumptions to the global file; using the Model Office run view to analyse the effect that changes to the input data has had on the model; running Model Office with products from the Example Model Office and creating reports on model office runs summarising the results obtained; using PROPHET "goal seek" capability to find a premium rate that achieves a desired level of profitability for a new business model point; using PROPHET "goal seek" capability to find a premium rate that achieves a desired level of profitability for a new business model point using 3 further measures of profitability (Internal Rate of
Return, Break Even Month and Profit Margin); using the PROPHET Data Conversion System to read an input file in ASCII format to i) perform a number of calculations on the individual policy data and then produce output files for use by PROPHET system, ii) add validation checks and correction rules to the programme and iii) group the data so that grouped model point file rather than individual model point file data is produced.View full module details
MA952 - Financial Modelling
The curriculum is intended to be consistent with that of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries professional subject CP2.
Students will be given training to use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to a level that is needed for the module (some familiarity with the packages is assumed).
The curriculum provides an introduction to, and development of, practical modelling techniques including the need for appropriate documentation, with a series of exercises to develop skills in applying techniques. Exercises are completed and discussed in class, along with the methods and principles of financial modelling and documentation.View full module details
Teaching and Assessment
Assessment is usually by a mixture of coursework and examination; exact weightings vary from module to module.
Students who are considered to have performed sufficiently well in the programme (both in examinations and coursework), as determined by an examiner appointed by the UK Actuarial Profession will receive exemptions.
If you fail to achieve a suitable overall standard, you might still be awarded individual module exemptions as recommended by the Profession’s examiner. Please note that individual exemptions are granted based on the final written examinations only.
This programme aims to:
- provide successful students with eligibility for subject exemptions from the Core Application and Specialist Technical series of examinations of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. This means obtaining a thorough knowledge of core actuarial applications, developing the ability to apply this knowledge in a practical situation and gaining current knowledge and understanding of the practice of major areas in which actuaries are involved.
- develop your understanding, knowledge and awareness of current problems, much of which is at the forefront of current professional practice.
- ensure you are competent in the use of information technology, and are familiar with computers, together with the relevant software.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- complex techniques applicable to the solution of problems in all the major areas of current professional actuarial practice
- complex current issues in the major areas of current professional practice.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- the ability to demonstrate a high level of understanding of the main body of knowledge for the programme
- the ability to demonstrate skill in calculation and manipulation of the material written within the programme
- the ability to apply a range of concepts and principles in various contexts
- the ability for logical argument
- the ability to demonstrate advanced skills in solving problems in complex situations by various appropriate methods
- the ability to work with relatively little guidance.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- the specific mathematical and statistical techniques used in actuarial science, and in their application to solving actuarial problems
- understanding the practical applications of programme material in insurance.
You will gain the following transferable skills:
- communication: the ability to organise information clearly, respond to written sources, present information orally, adapt style for different audiences and use images as a communication tool
- numeracy: make sense of statistical materials, integrate numerical and non-numerical information, understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
- information technology: produce written documents, undertake online research, communicate using email
- improve your own learning: explore your personal strengths and weaknesses, time management, review your working environment (especially the student-staff relationship), develop specialist learning skills (eg foreign languages), develop autonomy in learning.
- problem-solving: identify and define problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them
- working with others: the ability to define and review the work of others, work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function
- the ability to make sound judgements
- the ability to make decisions in complex situations.
The UK Actuarial Profession is small, but influential and well rewarded. There are more than 6,500 actuaries currently employed in the UK, the majority of whom work in insurance companies and consultancy practices.
Survey results published by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries suggest that the average basic salary for a student actuary is £36,842 with pay and bonuses increasingly sharply as you become more experienced. The average basic salary of a Chief Actuary is £209,292.
As an actuary, your work is extremely varied and can include: advising companies on the amount of funds to set aside for employee pension payments; designing new insurance policies and setting premium rates; pricing financial derivatives and working in fund management and quantitative investment research; advising life insurance companies on he distribution of surplus funds; and estimating the effects of possible major disasters, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, and setting premium rates for insurance against such disasters. For more information about the actuarial profession, see www.actuaries.org.uk
Helping our students to develop strong employability skills is a key objective within the School and the University. We provide a wide range of services and support to equip you with transferable vocational skills that enable you to secure appropriate professional positions within industry. Within the School we run specialist seminars and provide advice on creating a strong CV, making job applications and successfully attending interviews and assessment centres.
Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in the actuarial, finance, insurance and risk sectors.
Professional accreditation by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
The University’s Templeman Library houses a comprehensive collection of books and research periodicals. The University of Kent has entered into an exclusive arrangement with SunGard, a global leader in integrated software and processing solutions primarily for financial services, who market the industry’s leading actuarial software package PROPHET. As a result, our taught postgraduate courses include optional modules on the uses and applications of PROPHET.
Links with industry
The Centre for Actuarial Science, Risk and Investment maintains close relationships with industry actuaries through the Invicta Actuarial Society, a regional actuarial society which holds its meetings at the Canterbury campus and is organised by University of Kent students and academic staff. The Society hosts an annual lecture in conjunction with the Worshipful Company of Actuaries, featuring prestigious speakers from industry and the profession. The Society also arranges talks from external speakers including practitioners, careers advisers and recruiters from the UK and overseas.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: British Actuarial Journal; Actuary Australia; Annals of Actuarial Science; Journal of Pension Economics and Finance. Details of recently published books can be found under staff research interests.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
A good first degree in Actuarial Science, or a degree that covers all or most of the Core Technical Stage subjects of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ examinations. We may also accept applicants who have a good first degree in another subject and who have passed most of the Core Technical Stage subjects.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Work in actuarial science at the University of Kent can be divided into three broad themes achieving a balance of theoretical and applied investigations, as well as addressing social policy implications.
Economic capital and financial risk management
With the advent of new risk-based regulations for financial services firms, specifically Basel 2 and Basel 3 for banks and Solvency 2 for insurers, there is now a heightened focus on the practical implementation of quantitative risk management techniques for firms and defined benefit pension schemes operating within the financial services sector.
In particular, financial services firms are now expected to self-assess and quantify the amount of capital they need to cover the risks they are running. This self-assessed quantum of capital is commonly termed risk, or economic, capital.
At Kent we are actively involved in developing rigorous risk management techniques to explicitly measure how much risk a firm or pension scheme is taking, holistically, across the entire spectrum of risks it accepts.
Longevity risk represents a substantial threat to the stability of support programmes for the elderly, most notably to the subset that provides income protection but also to non-traditional products such as home equity release schemes.
One approach to dealing with longevity risk is to model key factors that influence mortality; this may be achieved using aggregate (causal) mortality rates or panel data with individual-specific covariates. Another approach to modelling longevity risk is via an investigation of positive quadrant dependence between lives, which requires a multivariate framework. Once this is in place, longevity risk may be investigated on various fronts ranging from entire populations to couples.
Public policy aspects of risk classification
Restrictions on risk classification can lead to adverse selection, and actuaries usually regard this as a bad thing. However, restrictions do exist in many countries, suggesting that policymakers often perceive some merit in such restrictions. Careful re-examination of the usual actuarial arguments can help to reconcile these observations.
Models of insurance purchasing behaviour under different risk classification regimes can quantify the effects of particular bans, e.g. on insurers’ use of genetic test results, or gender classification in the European Union.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Dr Daniel Alai: Lecturer in Actuarial Science
Longevity risk and lifetime dependence modelling; stochastic claims reserving; quantitative risk management.View Profile
Dr Pradip Tapadar: Senior Lecturer in Actuarial Science
Economic capital and financial risk management; genetics and insurance.View Profile
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|Applied Actuarial Science - MSc at Canterbury:|
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: