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BSc in Actuarial
This is our flagship course, attracting students from across the globe. It offers a comprehensive and respected qualification with its balance of mathematical, financial, actuarial, and statistical content. more...
BSc in Financial Mathematics
This degree offers a comprehensive and respected qualification with its balance of mathematical, financial, and statistical content. more...
BSc in Statistical Modelling
Our Statistical Modelling degree is a comprehensive and respected qualification, with a strong grounding in mathematics, and a blend of both theoretical and practical elements of modern statistics. more...
Our department has an international academic reputation for quality in teaching and research. For example, in the last Research Assessment Exercise the department was awarded a grade 5 identifying us as the leading centre for actuarial research in the UK
The course stands up as an excellent mathematical sciences degree in its own right. It contains standard maths subjects (algebra, calculus, mathematical modelling, and real analysis), and a strong statistics content, much favoured by employers. Most students also include modules in financial and management accounting, finance, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international economics. Many also include modules in investment. Many of our graduates go on to successful non-actuarial careers - in systems analysis, statistics, research, stock-broking, accounting and other financial areas, and of course teaching. We even count an airline pilot and at least one policeman in our list of graduates.
You need an IELTS score of at least 6.5
New students are guaranteed a place on campus, provided they have firmly accepted an unconditional offer for a degree and apply for accommodation by 22nd August. There is a variety of kinds of accommodation on campus, from simple study-bedrooms (with most catering included) to non-catered flats and hotel-standard rooms with private facilities. If interested, have a closer look at the accommodation options at Heriot-Watt.
A number of scholarships are available. These scholarships are awarded based on academic ability and financial need. There are scholarships for Scottish students, other UK students and EU students, all being £ 500 per year, and also scholarships for International students, being a reduction in fees in the first year of study of 15%. Find more information about scholarships on the respective University web pages.
The Alpha Sandwich Scheme provides actuarial students the opportunity to take a year out from their studies between 3rd year and 4th, to undertake a work placement with an actuarial company. Alpha Consulting collects CVs from any interested students and offers individual feedback on each one submitted - this is a valuable opportunity even for those who do not wish to take things further The next stage involves an interview by Alpha, either face to face or by telephone. Students are again offered feedback on their performance in the interview. Following these first interviews, CVs of selected students will be passed onto companies which Alpha believes may be interested in employing particular students. If the company thinks they are suitable, successful candidates will be appointed.
Career prospects for our students are very good - the main employers are insurance companies, finance houses, and consulting firms. There are high rewards available! Many of our graduates fill senior actuarial and managerial posts in the financial services sector all over the world, with some also in the UK Government Statistical Service. For more specific information on career opportunities click here.
In order to become a properly qualified actuary, trainee actuaries have to take several exams set by the Faculty of Actuaries (Edinburgh) and the Institute of Actuaries (London). Instead of doing these exams later when you have a job, you can gain exemptions from a substantial number of them during the course of your studies at our Department (by exams you need to take anyway for your degree). Having parts of the professional examinations behind you when leaving the University increases your employability within the actuarial industry. Our course is one of only a small number to be fully accredited by the UK Actuarial Profession.
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The Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics department has two undergraduate exchange agreements: with the University of Melbourne, Australia, and the University of Waterloo, Canada. You can find more information here.
Our staff is made up of a balance of experienced Actuaries, Statisticians and Financial Mathematicians. Many of us have close links with the actuarial profession - as authors, members of committees, examiners etc. Our staff is also very international. While the majority is from the UK, we also have people from Germany, China, Greece and Russia. If you want to have a closer look at us, click here.
Students' Association pages. There is also an Actuarial Students' Society for the students in our Department, if they wish to become involved.
Beside the mentor system, the University has an excellent support structure in place to help students when they encounter difficulties (e.g. family illness, accommodation, financial, etc.). To mention some, there are the Student Welfare Services, the University Health Service, the Chaplaincy, and the Students' Association.
All applications must be made through UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. All UK-based applicants who receive an offer for entry in September 2010 will be invited to join a group on a visit to the department on a Wednesday afternoon in the Spring of 2010.
Being a Scottish university our BSc degrees are four-year degree courses whereas similar degrees at English universities are three-year courses. In view of this and of the level of overseas students' fees, we offer direct entry into the second year of our BSc courses in Actuarial Science and in Financial Mathematics to well qualified applicants. The honours BSc can then be attained in three years. You can find more information here.
There are possibilities of transfer between the degrees of Actuarial Science, Financial Mathematics, Statistics and Mathematics - this is usually fairly straightforward. There is also the possibility to transfer to the degree of Mathematical, Statistical and Actuarial Sciences - this degree allows students to continue to study some of the modules in actuarial science and statistics, but also to choose from a wider range of mathematics options. In addition it may be possible to transfer to Engineering or Science departments and to Accountancy or Economics (the year of entry would be settled on a case-by-case basis and would depend on modules already taken). The Centre for Combined Studies is another major route for students wanting to transfer out of a particular degree course.
Financial mathematics is the branch of mathematics applied to financial markets, in particular to
derivative markets. Financial maths is used primarily to
but is also important in
The field sprang to life in the early 1970s with the development of the
Black Scholes Merton option pricing formula, which revolutionised finance. This formula was quickly extended by others into a general theory for the pricing of
derivatives. These authors showed that the fair price of an derivative can be determined by not allowing an
arbitrage to take place and that this condition has a deep mathematical significance related to probability.
Although the theory is based on
stochastic models, and there are immediate applications of statistics and data analysis, part of the explanation for the rapid growth of financial mathematics is that the field provides fertile grounds for collaboration between researchers with different backgrounds: numerical analysis and computational methods are required to calculate specific answers; functional analysis and the general theory of stochastic process have combined to give exact conditions for the fundamental theorems; and convex analysis is used to investigate difficult constrained investment problems via the dual functions.
(* With thanks to the organisers of the
DQF workshop held at the Newton Institute, 2005.)
The field sprang to life in the early 1970s with the development of the Black Scholes Merton option pricing formula, which revolutionised finance. This formula was quickly extended by others into a general theory for the pricing of derivatives. These authors showed that the fair price of an derivative can be determined by not allowing an arbitrage to take place and that this condition has a deep mathematical significance related to probability.
Although the theory is based on stochastic models, and there are immediate applications of statistics and data analysis, part of the explanation for the rapid growth of financial mathematics is that the field provides fertile grounds for collaboration between researchers with different backgrounds: numerical analysis and computational methods are required to calculate specific answers; functional analysis and the general theory of stochastic process have combined to give exact conditions for the fundamental theorems; and convex analysis is used to investigate difficult constrained investment problems via the dual functions.
(* With thanks to the organisers of the DQF workshop held at the Newton Institute, 2005.)
Courses in actuarial science and financial mathematics address problems relating to financial markets and in particular focus on issues relating to risk and uncertainty. Courses in economics, operations research, management science and finance develop skills useful in running a business.
A big advantage of an actuarial science or financial mathematics course is that the finance aspects are integrated with the mathematical concepts. This is particularly important if you are looking to have a career in financial markets where some of the mathematical tools being used are new and are based on difficult concepts.
At the simplest level, actuaries answer questions relating to how finances should be managed given you do not know for certain what obligations there will be in the future, for example, what premiums on an insurance policy are needed in order to ensure claims can be covered. Actuarial science has a long history, going back to the seventeenth century, and is used by pension funds, life and general insurance companies and banks.
Financial mathematics is a new science, based on mathematics developed to understand rocket dynamics, and is used primarily by people working in markets for financial derivatives (often referred to as "rocket scientists"), such as investment banks, commodity traders and hedge funds. A derivative is a financial asset who's value is determined by another asset, such as a company's share price. The job of a financial mathematician is to remove the risk of investing in derivatives, given that the prices of the underlying assets in the future are not known.
Actuaries and financial mathematicians work closely on problems relating to asset management and financial risk management.