The BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management programme has been designed by qualified actuaries to enable students to develop the theoretical and practical skills required to pursue a career as an actuary in the pensions and insurance sectors, or in the wider financial industry. In addition, students may gain exemptions from the initial technical professional exams required to qualify as an actuary via our accreditation with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
Actuarial Science and Risk Management Degree highlights
The Actuarial, Accounting and Finance department at Queen’s is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the UK by the Sunday Times and the Complete University Guide.
- Subject to academic performance, students can gain various exemptions from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) professional exams.
- 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.
- During the third year of the degree, students complete a 9 to 12 month placement with an actuarial firm. These placements are usually in Belfast, Dublin, London or the Isle of Man. Example placements include Aviva, Irish Life, Kerr Henderson, Spence & Partners, SCOR, The Pension Protection Fund and Pramerica. There are three dedicated placement officers in the Management School who will help you to prepare for placement, and obtain positions of the highest quality.
World Class Facilities
- Students on the course will be given the opportunity to develop their modelling skills and will use software such as Model Risk and the Bloomberg terminals in the Trading Room.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Students have the opportunity to hear from and network with industry professionals who regularly deliver guest lectures.
- 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.
- The Finance & Actuary society runs social and educational events for members, such as the end of year formal.
As an Actuarial Recruitment agency for actuaries in Ireland, Acumen Resources have been proudly sponsoring a prize every year for students excelling on the QUB Actuarial Science Programme. Over the last number of years, we have placed many students from the QUB Actuarial Science degree into jobs across Ireland. We have always found the actuarial students from QUB to be technically strong as well as generally having well-developed communication skills following their degree.
Paul Walsh FIA (CEO of Acumen Resources)
Stage 1 Actuarial Mathematics 1
Financial Reporting and Analysis
Introduction to Statistics and Operational Research
Economy, Society and Public Policy 1
Economy, Society and Public Policy 2
Introduction to Statistical and Operational Research Methods
Stage 2 Actuarial Mathematics 2
Actuarial methods in General Insurance
Financial Risk Modelling
Excel and VBA
Principles of Actuarial Modelling
Stage 3 Placement Year
Students undertake a nine-month, minimum-salaried work placement. Placement allows students to develop highly-valued practical skills, as well as gaining exemption from many of the early professional exams, and on successful completion, students are eligible for a Licentiateship award (a vocational qualification provided through the City and Guilds of London Institute). Recent placement providers have included Scor, Pramerica, Spence and Partners, Milliman and the Government Actuaries Department (GAD).
Stage 4 Actuarial Modelling
Actuarial Econometrics and Data Science
Stochastic Processes for Finance
People teaching youDr Mark Farrell
Programme Director for BSc Actuarial Science
Queen’s Management SchoolMr Neil McConville
Mark Farrell is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Senior Lecturer (Education) and Programme Director of 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.
Lecturer (Education) for Actuarial Science
Queen's Management SchoolMs Gillian McMahon
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) on the Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree programme and lectures across all teaching years within the degree.
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.
Contact Teaching Times
Large Group Teaching 6 (hours maximum)
hours of lectures
Medium Group Teaching 6 (hours maximum)
hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week
Personal Study 24 (hours maximum)
22–24 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities, etc.
Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial 2 (hours maximum)
hours of tutorials (or later, project supervision) each week
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 BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management programme we 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:
- Adviser of Studies
Who acts as a first point of contact for students with academic or personal issues that they may require guidance and/or support with.
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. 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. There are also opportunities to develop skills in the use of industry software associated with actuarial practice.
A formalised induction for all undergraduate students. For Stage 1 students, this includes several half-day sessions the week before the programme begins to allow students to familiarise themselves with the campus and the degree programme. During Stage 1 there are a number of follow-up sessions throughout the year. Topics such as academic writing, referencing, plagiarism, communication skills, examination preparation and managing time effectively are all covered in these practical sessions.
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 to all year-group peers, 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.
- Peer Mentoring Scheme
Whereby students in second and third year of their degree programme volunteer to mentor Stage 1 students. Developing the programme themselves, with support from academic staff in QMS, the mentors organise informal meetings, regular contact and a series of events ranging from ice-breaker type events to employer-led sessions with the Stage 1 students.
- 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.
- Supervised Projects
As part of the continual assessment on a range of modules, you will be expected to carry out projects. 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.
- Work placements
The BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management programme has a compulsory placement year with an actuarial organisation. This begins after all Level 2 modules have been successfully completed. The dedicated Placement Office within the School facilitates students in sourcing and securing appropriate placements and provides appropriate support whilst the student is with the host organisation. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity and will ensure that the theory being understood in the lecture theatre is complemented by the development of practical, transferrable skills.
Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
- The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction. Actuarial Science modules are typically assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and a final written unseen 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.
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
- Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
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.
- Adviser of Studies
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by Queen's University Management School. Once your application has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by a member of administrative staff from the Admissions and Access Service and, if appropriate, the Selector from the School. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
Applicants for the BSc Honours in Actuarial Studies must be able to satisfy the University's General Entrance Requirement and in addition, all applicants must have A-level Mathematics. Offers are normally made in terms of grades rather than UCAS Tariff points.
Actuarial Science and Risk Management is one of the most popular degree courses at Queen's, where the number of applicants far outnumbers the places available. Part of the criteria used for making offers is by means of assessing an applicant's GCSEs. The best nine subjects are considered, with 4 points being awarded for an A*/9-8 grade and 3 points for an A/7 grade, B/6 and C*-C/5-4 grades are not scored. From 2021 entry, in view of the re-alignment of the A* with a Grade 9, scoring will change to 4 points for a Grade 9 and 3 points for Grades 7 and 8. We initially make offers to those applicants who score a minimum of 34 points. During the admissions cycle we constantly review the admissions statistics comparing them to previous years, to assess if the point's threshold can be lowered and more offers made. For last year’s entry, the final threshold was 30 points.
Applicants offering a range of other qualifications e.g. BTEC Extended Diplomas, Higher National Diplomas and Foundation Access courses are not normally considered unless the applicant is studying or has studied A-level Mathematics.
In addition to the academic requirements above, the information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted, but these are not the final deciding factors as to whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking will not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking 4 A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to an Open Day organised by Queen's University Management School, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University, to find out more about the degree programme of your choice, the facilities on offer together with a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
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.
International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
The INTO progression course suited to this programme is
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
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 managers and investors.
Employment after the Course
The traditional areas in which actuaries are employed include:
Actuarial Consultancies - clients are provided with advice on mergers, corporate recovery and the management of occupational pension schemes
Insurance Industry - actuaries in insurance design new insurance policies and calculate premium rates and reserving requirements
Pensions Industry - here actuaries are involved in the management and valuation of pension scheme liabilities (for regulatory and expensing purposes). They are also involved in new design and restructuring of pension schemes, deficit management and any requirements of regulatory change on pension scheme.
Investment Industry - in this instance actuaries are involved in a wide variety of work such as pricing financial derivatives, working in fund management or working in quantitative investment research.
Graduate employers include: Kerr Henderson, Spence & Partners, NFU Mutual, Invesco, Boal & Co, Towers Watson, Allianz Insurance, Mercer, AXA Insurance, Deloitte, Capita, Liberty Mutual Insurance, PwC, Pramerica, Metlife, Xafinity.
"Queen’s gave me the tools to succeed, such as the ability to solve problems and analyse complex situations. It helped me develop strong communication and presentation skills as well as a commercial awareness of the financial industry. I now work as a Commercial Actuary at Allianz which involves estimating the value of claims and premiums to ensure solvency and profitability. I am also involved in pricing work for our main property and small business accounts and through building actuarial models I advise the underwriters on how they should determine technical premiums for customers. I hope to further develop my leadership skills to accompany my technical knowledge and move into more senior roles, gaining experience across a wide range of areas such as reserving, pricing and capital modelling.”
Kevin O’Reilly, Commercial Actuary at Allianz Insurance
Recent placement providers have included Aviva, Irish Life, Kerr Henderson, Spence & Partners, SCOR, The Pension Protection Fund and Pramerica.
What employers say
Additional Awards Gained
Year in Industry
Prizes and Awards
A number of local employers and professional bodies sponsor prizes on an annual basis for best students in their level, module or category.
These include Invesco, The Company of Actuaries Charitable Trust Fund, Buck Consultants, SCOR Global Life, Mercer, Pramerica, Spence and Partners, Acumen Resources, Xafinity Consulting, and Allianz Re Dublin.
Degree plus 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 Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £4,395 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250 Other (non-UK) EU * £4,395 International £16,900
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
* The tuition fees that EU students starting courses at UK universities following the agreed transition period are required to pay will depend on what is agreed as part of the UK's exit negotiations. Please refer to www.qub.ac.uk/brexit
Additional course costs
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. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
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 final year 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.
Actuarial Science and Risk Management costs
Students undertake a placement in year 3 and are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. These costs vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. Students should be aware that placement and internship modules do not normally involve payment or financial support from either Queen’s or the placement/internship provider.
If the placement is undertaken under the European Erasmus programme, students are normally eligible to receive a top-up grant to contribute towards these costs of approximately €300 per month. A limited number of Erasmus grants are available.
Student who undertake optional study tours are expected to make a contribution, of approximately £150.
How do I fund my study?
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How and when to Apply
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/students.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2020 from 1 September 2019.
Advisory closing date: 15 January 2020 (18:00).
Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.
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.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2020.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
Fees and Funding
- Applying through UCAS