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 MSc in Applied Actuarial Science with an Industrial Placement is fully accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries; it also provides a fast-track route to qualifying as an actuary, because students who achieve a high enough overall mark in this programme can obtain exemptions from the professional examinations included within their studies.
The MSc is only available as a full-time (one-year) programme plus placement (of varying lengths) extending the MSc programe to between 15 and 24 months. It 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.
The start date and duration of the Industrial Placement depend on the employer. Students on a longer placement module (i.e. 6, 9 or 12 months) can transfer to a shorter module if the placement arrangement changes unavoidably once the student has embarked on it, but if a student cannot complete the minimum of three months placement he/she will be required to transfer to the MSc programme without a placement. Placements may be undertaken in the UK or overseas.
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, 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 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 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
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.
More about our research in this area
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.
More about our research in this area
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.
More about our research in this area
The 2017/18 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
Applied Actuarial Science with an Industrial Placement - MSc at Canterbury:UK/EUOverseasFull-time£11880£17210
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.*
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
General additional costs
Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus 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:
- University and external funds
- Scholarships specific to the academic school delivering this programme