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Postgraduate Diploma in Actuarial Science

Course Description

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.

Our Postgraduate Diploma (PDip) in Actuarial Science, MSc in Applied Actuarial Science and International Master’s are all fully accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries; they also provide a fast-track route to qualifying as an actuary, because students who achieve a high enough overall mark in these programmes can obtain exemptions from the professional examinations included within their studies.

This PDip in Actuarial Science programme gives you the opportunity to gain exemptions from eight of the Core Technical subjects (CT1 to CT8) of the professional examinations and provides you with a firm foundation for the later subjects. If you perform well enough on this course to obtain the full set of exemptions available, you could reduce your time to qualify as an actuary by three years or more.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/1/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.

MA319 - Probability and Statistics for Actuarial Science (15 credits)
MA501 - Statistics for Insurance (15 credits)
MA529 - Probability and Statistics for Actuarial Science 2 (15 credits)
MA639 - Time Series Modelling and Simulation (15 credits)
MA816 - Contingencies 1 (15 credits)
MA817 - Contingencies 2 (15 credits)
MA819 - Business Economics (15 credits)
MA820 - Financial Mathematics (15 credits)
MA825 - Survival Models (15 credits)
MA826 - Finance & Financial Reporting (15 credits)
MA835 - Portfolio Theory and Asset Pricing Models (15 credits)
MA836 - Stochastic Processes (15 credits)
MA837 - Mathematics of Financial Derivatives (15 credits)
MA840 - Financial Modelling (15 credits)


Assessment is usually by a mixture of coursework and examination; exact weightings vary from module to module.

- Accreditation
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 be exempt from all the CT subjects studied within the programme. If a student fails to achieve a suitable overall standard, they 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.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- give you the depth of technical appreciation and skills appropriate to a Master’s level programme in actuarial science

- provide successful students with eligibility for subject exemptions from the Core Technical series of examinations of the actuarial profession. This means obtaining a thorough knowledge and understanding of various core actuarial techniques and gaining current knowledge and understanding of the practice of some of the major areas in which actuaries are involved

- ensure you are competent in the use of information technology, and are familiar with computers, together with the relevant software

- introduce you to an appreciation of recent actuarial developments, and of the links between subject theories and their practical application in industry

- prepare you for employment within the actuarial profession and other financial fields

- provide suitable preparation for students who wish to proceed to the MSc in Applied Actuarial Science.

Research areas

- Genetics and insurance risks

Advances in human genetics, and medical sciences in general, have led to many gene discoveries; a number of single-gene disorders have been successfully identified and studied in detail. Researchers are now increasingly focusing on common multifactorial genetic disorders such as cancer, heart attack and stroke, caused by interaction of genes and environmental factors. It is important for the insurance industry to understand the full implications of these latest developments. First, can an insurer justify charging different premium rates to different risk groups? Second, if insurers are not allowed to discriminate between individuals based on their genes, by regulation or by law, is there a risk of adverse selection?

- Economic capital and financial risk management

Financial services firms are in the business of accepting risks on behalf of their customers. Customers do not always have the time or expertise to handle financial risks on their own, so they pass these on to financial services firms. However, even the most reputable firms can sometimes get it wrong, so it is fundamentally important for all stakeholders that financial services firms hold an appropriate amount of capital calculated on a robust scientific basis, to back the risks they are running. Economic capital can provide answers by specifying a unifying approach to calculating risk-based capital for any firm in the financial services sector.

From a public policy perspective, regulators and governments face the dilemma of whether to regulate against genetic underwriting or to allow market economies to take their own course. On one hand, there is a moral obligation not to discriminate against individuals for their genetic make-up. On the other hand, risk of adverse selection against insurance firms cannot be ruled out altogether. Maintaining an appropriate balance between the two is key.


- The UK Actuarial Profession

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 http://www.actuaries.org.uk

- Employability support

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 recognition

Offers exemptions from subjects CT1 to CT8 of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries professional examinations, with the option to take further subjects for exemption purposes.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the Postgraduate Diploma in Actuarial Science page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Wei Yang

Why did you choose Kent?
I chose to study at Kent mainly as the Master's course here can lead to exemption from the professional examinations required to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

I found that the living and tuition fee costs were relatively low compared to other universities providing courses in Actuarial Science. I also liked the environment in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science, which is friendly and enthusiastic, as well as the atmosphere on campus.

How would you describe the course?
It provides you with all the information you need to become an actuary, teaching you the essential skills required to start a career in the profession. These include writing and communication skills, teamworking and mastering important software such as Matlab, PROPHET, Excel and Latex. It's quite an intensive course, but it's also varied, involving different activities such as individual presentation, group presentation and computing projects.

What support did you receive?
The Graduate School provides a wide range of useful courses covering listening, writing and networking. The Student Advice Centre is also very helpful for sorting out visa issues and they can even help you to find accommodation. The personal tutor assigned by the School also helps out a lot during the course of your studies.

What are the advantages of undertaking a further degree?
Obviously, a further degree in Actuarial Science leads to more exemptions, which is important for entering the profession. It also gives you a deeper understanding of mathematical principles and how these can be applied in the real world.

What's next for you?
I'm currently studying for a PhD in Actuarial Science here at Kent. Once I've completed this, I'm planning to spend a few years working in the insurance industry. After gaining enough experience, I hope to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. After that, I'll either continue on this path or possibly start a new career as a university lecturer.


SMSAS Bursaries for Taught Postgraduate Students - 10 Awards

The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science has established a bursary scheme to support taught postgraduate students who wish to study for one of the following courses:Postgraduate Diploma in Actuarial Science
MSc in Applied Actuarial Science
MSc in Finance, Investment and Risk
MSc in Mathematics and its Applications
MSc in StatisticsThe school will award up to 35 bursaries of between £500 and £1500. All applicants who have accepted a place on one of the above courses will automatically be considered for a bursary. There is no need to make a separate application. Overseas/home/EU fee paying students are all eligible.There is no formal closing date but we recommend you apply for your chosen course before the end of July 2011. The selection process continues until all bursaries are awarded.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Between £500 and £1500 each


Overseas/home/EU fee paying students are all eligible.

Application Procedure

There is no need to make a separate application

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good first degree (usually in mathematics, statistics or economics, although other subjects with a high mathematical content are acceptable). For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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