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 PhD in Actuarial Science offers the opportunity to begin or consolidate your research career under the guidance of internationally renowned researchers and professionals in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (SMSAS).
This research programme, which can be taken three to four years full-time or five to six years part-time, offers the opportunity to work in highly topical areas such financial modelling and estimation, quantification of diversification benefits, quantifying financial risks, and derivatives pricing. Applications for PhD research in these and other areas will be welcomed.
There's an active seminar programme involving a wide range of speakers and members of the PhD community regularly attend/present their work at leading conferences and institutes.
Before applying for this course, it is strongly recommended that you contact the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science in the first instance to discuss your study plans with the programme director.
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 13 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, research by the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science was ranked 25th in the UK for research power and 100% or our research was judged to be of international quality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A first or good second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent).
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
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
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
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
Professor Paul J Sweeting: Professor of Actuarial Science
Enterprise risk management; longevity; pensions.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 Home/EU PG Research programmes have not yet been set by the Research Councils UK. This is ordinarily announced in March.
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: