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How to choose a university course

When choosing a university course you need to think ahead to what future employers will be looking for when you come to apply for a trainee position.

You should also think about which subjects you enjoy and perform well in.

Actuaries need to have excellent mathematical skills - therefore most employers require candidates to have a 2:1 degree in a numerate subject 

Most employers prefer candidates with degrees from university departments with a strong reputation  You will also need very good A-levels, including a grade A or B in Mathematics.

Depending on the modules taken and the grades you obtain, a numerate degree may lead to exemptions from some of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA's) exams.  Listen to the advice from Eve Finn FIA, below, on how to go about deciding on your degree:

 

Choosing a degree in actuarial science

Several universities offer undergraduate degrees in actuarial science.  Some of these carry exemptions from some of our examinations.

The advantages of studying for an actuarial science degree are:

  • you find out more about actuarial work before starting employment
  • you may be eligible for exemptions from some of our exams
  • you  may be able to qualify quicker than if you take a course which gives fewer exemptions
  • you will receive an excellent grounding in subjects like economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics, as well as actuarial subjects. This makes actuarial science graduates suitable for a range of careers, not just actuarial work.

Listen to Ren Lin FIA talking about how actuaries' way of thinking enables them to excel as problem solvers:

Choosing another numerate degree

There are benefits to studying numerate degrees other than those in actuarial science:

  • non-actuarial degrees enable students to experience a greater range of subjects
  • non-actuarial degrees may still lead to exemption from some of the exams 
  • not all employers select actuarial science graduates, so you may wish to seek the views of your favoured employers.

There is also the option to go on to take an MSc in Actuarial Science to further your understanding.

Contact Details

You can contact the Careers team at:

careers@actuaries.org.uk

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 7th Floor Holborn Gate, 326-330 High Holborn, London WC1V 7PP

We aim to respond to all enquiries within five working days.

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Events calendar

  • Autumn Lecture 2020: Professor Elroy Dimson

    Online webinar
    14 October 2020

    Spaces available

    Many individuals and institutions have a long-term focus, and invest funds for the benefit of future generations. Their strategy should reflect their long horizon. University endowments are one of the oldest classes of institutional investor, and I will present the first study of the management of these endowments over the very long term.

  • GIRO Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Available to watch globally in November.
    02-13 November 2020
    Spaces available

    This year's GIRO has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the general insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's GI Online Learning Resource area.

  • Life Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Online
    16 November 2020 - 27 November 2020

    Spaces available

    This year's Life Conference has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the life insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's website.

  • Spaces available

    The webinar will discuss the challenges and opportunities schemes face in evaluating end game options, choosing a target state and understanding the impact this strategic decision could have on member outcomes long after the “end state” is reached. Adolfo, Kevin and Rhian bring over 60 years of experience in the industry and a variety of perspectives as scheme actuary, covenant adviser, trustee, de-risking adviser and insurer.

  • Spaces available

    Cash-flow driven investing is a game-changer for DB pension funds navigating their end-game. Suitable for sponsors who want to reduce risks on their balance sheets. And for trustees, it shifts the focus to providing greater certainty of returns, managing funding level volatility and ensuring they have enough income to pay cash-flow requirements.

  • Spaces available

    The talk will provide an understanding of the priorities and relationships between deficit reduction contributions, in the context of wider scheme funding, and different types of value outflow from the employer based on the working party’s recently published report.