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Research Route

You can undertake some original research as an alternative to taking one of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' (IFoA's) Specialist Applications exams.

Your research must involve an actuarial approach to problem solving, and make an original contribution to actuarial science. The dissertation must demonstrate how the work links to relevant actuarial knowledge.

The research is expected to be of the level of MPhil or research degree and is likely to require at least two years of part-time study.

How do I apply?

You must have achieved passes in the following subjects from the former curriculum: CT1-8, CA1, CA3 and 1 ST subject before you will be accepted for the SA0 route. In the new curriculum this corresponds to passes in: CS1, CS2, CM1, CM2, CB1, CB2, CP1, CP3 and 1 SP subject. 

You need to send in a project proposal and a plan of work for a piece of original research on an actuarial topic which meets the criteria for SA0 projects discussed on this page.

The fee for SA0 is £1,340.

How does the process work?

This type of alternative assessment is resource intensive so a Board of Examiners Sub-committee will decide how many projects of this nature they can allow at any one time.

Preference will be given to projects in areas where no alternative examination is available. If your project proposal is approved we will appoint supervisors to oversee your work.

Once you have completed your dissertation we will discuss it with you, your supervisors and an independent external examiner at a viva exam. The assessment will result in one of the following:

  • pass
  • pass with minor modifications
  • re-submit after further work
  • fail.

There are key differences between this type of research project and one used to gain exemption from the Specialist Technical Subjects

  • The IFoA must be involved from the start, and agree the objectives of the research.
  • The project will test higher order skills, and have a greater length and depth of work.

Your work should be of a standard to pass peer review. This standard is one suitable for publication in refereed journals, although it is understood that some projects will be commercially sensitive.

Communication of your results will be important as well as the actuarial study. Your dissertation must contain an abstract and is likely to contain most of the following elements:

  • statement of the problem
  • literature review
  • data collection
  • analysis
  • conclusions and recommendations
  • non-technical communication of conclusions.

Contact Details

Education Services Team

education.services@actuaries.org.uk

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 1st Floor, Park Central, 40/41 Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1JD

+44 01865 268207

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

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Events calendar

  • Asia Conference 2021 webinar series

    Online webinar series
    26 July 2021 - 30 July 2021
    Spaces available

    We have made it through 2020 but the COVID-19 crisis continues to have a significant impact on individuals, societies, businesses and the wider economy across the globe. Navigating the world post COVID-19 in an uncertain and highly unstable time brings along many uncertainties, challenges and exciting opportunities. Hence the theme of this year’s IFoA Asia Conference Webinar Series is “Risk. Adapt. Thrive.”

  • CMI Income Protection

    30 July 2021

    Spaces available

    In April 2021, the CMI Income Protection Committee published Working Paper 149, which detailed the changes to analysis methodology for the Income Protection Investigation and the impact of past data issues. This webinar will provide an overview of the changes in the analysis approach and discuss the adjustments to the IP11 claim inceptions graduations.

  • Spaces available

    Louise Pryor, IFoA President, will chair this free-to-view session, in which Alex Darsley, TPR, Actuarial Regulatory Policy, will be discussing the regulator’s Climate Change Guidance Consultation, which is seeking views on new guidance designed to help trustees meet tougher standards of governance in relation to climate change ri

  • Spaces available

    Risk Management Webinar ProgrammeInternal audit is often the Cinderella of the audit world. It’s a regulatory requirement for insurance companies to have an internal audit function, so why not make it as useful as possible?  This session will look at how to link an internal audit plan to the risk register, and how that helps audit committees and boards to spot problems and fix them.

  • Spaces available

    Climate change is one of the greatest risks facing our world today. Addressing it will require multi-faceted solutions. Through this panel session, we will explore the different levers that can be used to meet net-zero targets including climate science and data, government engagement, and mobilising green finance.