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MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Actuarial Science

Entry year
Entry requirements
2.2 (minimum 55%)
1 year (Full-time)
Places available
Open (Full Time)

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

The programme encompasses 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 provides students who have not undertaken an undergraduate Actuarial Science degree with the opportunity to accrue exemptions from six of the earlier Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ 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. Lecturers also bring in guest lecturers from industry (e.g. actuaries working in different practice areas) to speak to students during their courses.

Internationally Renowned Experts

There are four fully qualified FIA actuaries in the faculty, with extensive industry experience. You will be taught by these qualified actuaries as well as academics, many of whom also have industry experience in various fields such as banking and insurance.

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.

World Class Facilities

Queen’s Business School (QBS) has recently undergone an innovative expansion that establishes a benchmark of global excellence for one of the top business schools in the UK and Ireland. A stunning new 6,000 square metre building, adjacent to the listed red-brick Riddel Hall has been designed with the latest digital infrastructure for media lecture capture, TED Talk provision and collaborative breakout sessions.

Fostering an enhanced social and educational experience the new state-of-the-art QBS venue boasts a 250-seat tiered educational space; 120-seat Harvard style lecture theatre; 150-seat computer laboratory; breakout study spaces; FinTrU Trading Room; a café, and a Business Engagement and Employability Hub.

Student Experience

Some of our classes are supported by DataCamp, an intuitive learning platform for data science and analytics. DataCamp allows our students to build their data science skills any time, anywhere and become an expert in R, Python, SQL, and more.

World Class Facilities

Students on the course will be given the opportunity to develop their financial modelling skills and will use software such as Python and R and have access to the Bloomberg terminals in the FinTrUTrading Room.

Internationally Renowned Experts

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

Course Structure

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

The programme encompasses 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 Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ IFoA professional exams (CM1-2, CB1-2 and CS1-2) in addition to undertaking postgraduate study.

Course Structure

Students 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 1

Financial Mathematics
Statistical Analysis for Actuarial Applications
Corporate Finance
Economic Thinking for Actuaries

Semester 2

Actuarial Mathematics and Contingencies
Statistics for Insurance
Survival Modelling
Computational Methods in Finance

Semester 3

Applied Research Project

People teaching you

Programme Director for MSc Actuarial Science

Queen’s Business School
Mark Farrell is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and Senior Lecturer (Education) at The Business School, Queen's University Belfast. After obtaining a first class degree at Loughborough University, Mark spent a decade 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 and the founder of – a global networking and learning hub for actuaries.

Lecturer (Education) for Actuarial Science

Queen's Business 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 Senior Lecturer (Practice) and programme director of the BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree programme.

Lecturer (Practice) for Actuarial Science

Queen's Business School
Bronagh Heaney is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and a Lecturer of Practice on the Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree programmes at the Business School, Queen's University Belfast.

Lecturer (Education) for Actuarial Science

Queen's Business 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 Business 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 Business School in 2016.

Learning and Teaching

At Queen’s Business School, 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 QBS’ 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.

  • Lectures

    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 QBS 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.

  • Practicals

    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.

  • Seminars/tutorials

    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

    QBS 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.




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Corporate Finance (15 credits)
    Economics (15 credits)
    Actuarial Modelling (15 credits)

Entrance requirements


Normally a strong 2.2 Honours degree (with minimum of 55%) or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a highly quantitative discipline such as Mathematics, Statistics, Finance, Computer Science, Actuarial Science or Economics. This MSc requires prior mathematical knowledge therefore a strong performance in quantitative modules with mathematical content is required. Applicants must normally have achieved 2:1 standard or above in relevant modules such as Calculus; Linear Algebra; Differential equations; Probability; Statistics; Econometrics.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 16th August 2024 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

Please note: international applicants will be required to pay a deposit to secure a place on this course.

International Students

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

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.



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.

Actuaries primarily work in insurance and financial services, which are heavily regulated and require a number of statutory disclosures. Graduates from the Actuarial Science programme obtain employment across the world, but particularly in Dublin and London. 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 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 was implemented in 2023 and there is a healthy demand for actuaries to help insurance companies embed 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.

Actuaries are renowned for having excellent opportunities for strong salary progression, with many actuaries earning six figure incomes. Sample salaries for many different actuarial roles can be viewed here:

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £8,800
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £8,800
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £8,800
EU Other 3 £25,800 (£6,000 discount, see T&Cs link below)
International £25,800 (£6,000 discount, see T&Cs link below)

£6,000 Scholarship available for 2024 entry. Click this link to view the Terms and Conditions.

1EU 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.

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 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

Terms and Conditions for Postgraduate applications:

1.1  Due to high demand, there is a deadline for applications. 
1.2  You will be required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the course.
1.3  This condition of offer is in addition to any academic or English language requirements.

Read the full terms and conditions at the link below:

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 £6,500 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 £11,836 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 - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



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