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Actuarial Science (MSc)

MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Actuarial Science

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
Places available
Open (Full Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    The MSc Actuarial Science is a full time postgraduate programme aimed primarily at students with undergraduate degrees from the disciplines of maths, statistics, finance or any other programme with a high mathematical content.

    The programme will encompass new and existing modules across the areas of actuarial mathematics, statistics, economics and finance, to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to pursue a career as an actuary. This programme will provide students who have not undertaken an undergraduate Actuarial Science degree with the opportunity to accrue exemptions from six of the earlier IFoA professional exams (CM1-2, CB1-2 and CS1-2) in addition to undertaking postgraduate study.

    Actuarial Science highlights

    Professional Accreditations

    • Subject to academic performance, students can gain up to six exemptions from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) professional exams.

    Industry Links

    • The Society of Northern Ireland Actuaries (SoNIA) is a regional society for local actuaries. It aims to offer a forum for Northern Ireland based actuaries and student actuaries to share opinions on actuarial topics, providing a networking opportunity.

    World Class Facilities

    • Students on the course will be given the opportunity to develop their financial modelling skills and will use software such as Model Risk, and Python and have access to the Bloomberg terminals in the Trading Room.

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • Students have the opportunity to engage with industry professionals who regularly deliver guest lectures.

    Student Experience

    • The Student Managed Fund gives students the opportunity to manage a real money portfolio where they do the research and decide on their investment strategy.
  • Course content

    Course Structure

    The MSc Actuarial Science is a full time postgraduate programme aimed primarily at students with undergraduate degrees from the disciplines of maths, statistics, finance or any other programme with a high mathematical content.

    The programme will encompass new and existing modules across the areas of actuarial mathematics, statistics, economics and finance, to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to pursue a career as an actuary. This programme will provide students who have not undertaken an undergraduate Actuarial Science degree with the opportunity to accrue exemptions from six of the earlier IFoA professional exams (CM1-2, CB1-2 and CS1-2) in addition to undertaking postgraduate study.

    Course StructureStudents pursuing a career in Actuarial Science should enjoy working with numbers, be effective communicators and work well with people as they will have to analyse and interpret financial and other information to meet the needs of different users, including clients, executive directors and investors.
    Semester 1Actuarial Mathematics 1
    Financial Reporting
    Statistics for Insurance
    Semester 2Actuarial Mathematics 2
    Actuarial Modelling
    Computational Methods in Finance
    Semester 3Applied Research Project

    People teaching you

    Dr Mark Farrell
    Programme Director for MSc Actuarial Science

    Queen’s Management School
    Mark Farrell is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and Senior Lecturer (Education) in the Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree programme at The Management School, Queen's University Belfast. After obtaining a first class degree in Mathematics and Sport Science at Loughborough University Mark spent a number of years working in various actuarial roles in London, Toronto, Belfast and Dublin before making a move into academia in 2009 where he teaches and researches in actuarial science related fields. Mark is also a Fulbright scholar.

    Mr Neil McConville
    Lecturer (Education) for Actuarial Science

    Queen's Management School
    Neil McConville is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and a former consulting pensions Actuary and Scheme Actuary certificate holder. Following his graduation from Queen’s University Belfast, with a degree in Finance, Neil commenced his career as an Actuary in Dublin before moving onto a number of senior roles within benefit consulting firms based in Belfast. Neil is a Lecturer (Education) and programme director of the BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree programme.

    Ms Gillian McMahon
    Lecturer (Education) for Actuarial Science

    Queen's Management School
    Gillian McMahon is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and a Lecturer on the Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree programme at the Management School, Queen’s University Belfast. After completing a master’s degree in Financial and Industrial Mathematics at Dublin City University and obtaining a first class bachelor’s degree in Theoretical Physics from University College Dublin, Gillian spent nine years working in an actuarial role with a Belfast based pensions consultancy. She joined the Management School in 2016.

    Career Prospects

    Employment after the Course
    Actuaries are constantly in demand and their skills are continually included in highly skilled occupation listings and for skills in demand listings. The Bureau of Labour Statistics project that employment of actuaries is expected to increase by 20% between 2018 and 2028, which is deemed to be faster than other occupations.

    Actuaries primarily work in insurance and financial services, which are heavily regulated and require a number of statutory disclosures. The majority of graduates from the BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management programme obtain employment in the Republic of Ireland and in particular Dublin. Dublin has seen an influx of financial services companies either entering the market for the first time or increasing their footprint in Ireland, as a result of the United Kingdom’s impending withdrawal from the European Union. Another primary driver for the demand for actuaries has been changes in legislation. A recent example is the implementation of Solvency II for the insurance industry, which caused a spike in the demand for actuaries and enabled actuaries to develop new transferable skills. Furthermore, the International Accounting Standards Board has published the new accounting standard for insurance contracts, IFRS 17. This standard is due to be formally implemented in 2022 and there is a healthy demand for actuaries to help insurance companies prepare for the standard.

    Finally, with the growth in data science and Insurtech, new, more technology based opportunities are available for actuaries. Rather than automation being a threat for actuaries, these new tools will enable actuaries to help their clients make better decisions, which contribute to the positive outlook for actuaries in the long term.

    Learning and Teaching

    Queen’s Management School is one of the largest Schools in the University with more than 1800 full-time undergraduate students and 300 plus postgraduate students. The School has been delivering high quality programmes for more than 40 years and was one of the first schools in the UK to introduce undergraduate management education. Since then, QMS has been developing and enhancing its teaching portfolio for both local and international students and boasts students from more than 20 different nationalities.

    In recent years, the School has benefited from significant investment resulting in many new academic appointments and state-of-the-art facilities including computer teaching labs with specialised software and a Trading Room in Riddel Hall. In addition, the new McClay library houses an excellent selection of Management and related texts and there are extensive IT facilities throughout the campus.

    At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential. In line with this, one of QMS’ primary objectives is to deliver innovative learning and teaching programmes that provide students with the competences and skills to make a positive contribution to business, economic and civic life.

    On the MSc Actuarial Science programme we aim to achieve these goals by providing a range of learning environments which enable our students to engage with subject experts both academic staff and industry guest speakers, develop skills and attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world-class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this degree programme are:

    E-Learning technologies

    Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Canvas. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree programme through the use of, for example, interactive support materials, podcasts and web-based learning activities (including MS Teams). There are also opportunities to develop skills in the use of industry software associated with actuarial practice.


    These introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. As the module progresses this information becomes more complex. Lectures, which are normally delivered in large groups, also provide opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification on key issues as well as gain feedback and advice on assessments. Additional guest lectures are also delivered by actuaries from a number of actuarial firms. In addition to the academic content of the lectures and workshops, this enables employers to impart their valuable experience to QMS Actuarial Science students and introduces important local employers to our students and allows our students to meet and engage with potential future employers.

    Personal Development Planning

    To encourage students to engage in independent learning.


    Actuarial Science is a very theoretical yet vocational subject and as such we facilitate opportunities for students to engage in the application of theory. You will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts through the modules you study and through industry presentations and workshops that we host.

    Self-directed study

    This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.


    A significant amount of teaching is carried out in small groups (typically 15-20 students). These sessions are designed to explore, in more depth, the information that has been presented in the lectures. This provides students with the opportunity to engage closely with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of their peers. During these classes, students will be expected to present their work to academic staff and their peers.

    Student Support Systems

    QMS has an active and co-ordinated student support system to assist students in making the transition from school to university.

    Support for students and their learning is provided through:
    • The Programme Director (or other nominee)
    • Student Guidance Centre, which provides access to University Counselling Service, Careers Service, Learning Development Service, and Disability Services.
    • International Student Support service
    • Postgraduate Centre
    • QUB Students’ Union
    • Library facilities
    • IT facilities (QSIS and Canvas)
    • Notes for students and programme handbooks

    Supervised Projects

    As part of the continual assessment on a range of modules, you will be expected to undertake project work. You will receive support from the module coordinators who will guide you in terms of how to carry out your projects and will provide feedback to you during the write up stage.


    Actuarial Science modules are typically assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and a final written unseen time bound examination.

    Continuous assessment consists of tutorial submissions, short class tests, individual project work, small group projects and presentations – this involves three/four students per group working on a specific task, for example, a solution to an actuarial problem.


    Students have access to Bloomberg software, a market leader in financial news, data and analytics, which is used by many financial institutions. The Trading Room allows for an interactive and exciting learning environment which, brings textbook theory to life.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a highly quantitative discipline such as Mathematics, Statistics, Finance or Economics. A strong performance in quantitative modules is required.

    International Students

    Our country pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £14,800
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £14,800
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £14,800
    EU Other 3 £21,500
    International £21,500

    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

    2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    When to Apply

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus