Study Abroad
Study Guide to Masters and Bachelors Degree Courses

MSc/Diploma Actuarial Science
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences

Heriot-Watt University


Address Heriot-Watt University,
Riccarton Campus,
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel. No. +44 (0)131 451 8176
E-mail address
Postgraduate courses MSc/Diploma in Actuarial Science
Type of courses Full-Time
Length of course one year
Date of commencement October
Accommodation All overseas students are guaranteed a place in a hall of residence on campus during their course of postgraduate study
Top recruiters of our graduates Pension Fund Commission
Standard Life
Watson Wyatt
Fees Enquire with the School for up to date fees
Student grants/Financial Assistance Scholarships are available to support study
Admission requirements The normal requirement for a place on the Diploma course is an upper second class degree (II(1)) or better in Mathematics, Statistics or a related subject.

Other countries have different ways of grading degrees but the requirement is simply that it should be the equivalent to the requirement for UK students.
Student Profile 1.Countries of origin - Heriot-Watt has a strong tradition of attracting students from overseas and extensive experience of advising and supporting them. Our students come from all over the world…China,, Malaysia, Japan, Greece, Spain, Norway, India, France
2. Ratio Men: Women - Our postgraduate programmes attract both male and female students – we see students as people not numbers.
3. Age Range - The ages of our postgraduate students vary – from 21 upwards.
4. Average Age - Average age for postgraduate study is 26.
5. Average Work Experience - Our postgraduate students often come with work experience – they finish their undergraduate degree, work for several years and then find their promotion chances are enhanced by studying one of our programmes.


About the Programme

Initially all students are registered for the Diploma in Actuarial Science. Progress to the Masters/MSc will be decided at the Board of Examiners' Meeting in June (and in exceptional cases in the autumn).

The minimum requirement for progress to the MSc will be a pass in the equivalent of 10 modules in the Diploma exams and an average mark of at least 50% in the best 10 modules. The Examiners reserve the right to exclude anyone who meets these minimum requirements but whom they consider to be unsuitable for project work.

Progress to the MSc is also conditional on the payment in July of the additional MSc registration fee (for 2007-2008 this fee is 2,500).

Project work will be carried out over the summer immediately after the end of the summer term - a period of 11 weeks is specified for this. The project dissertation must be submitted by 7 September 2007. The Examiners will award a mark and a grade to each dissertation: A, B, C (Pass grades), Resubmit for a Pass (grade C), or Fail. An MSc with distinction will be awarded to students who have achieved the level of distinction in the Diploma examinations and who produce an MSc dissertation graded A by the Examiners (a grade A corresponds to “first class work”, that is work which is significantly better than the minimum required for a pass).

A student who has achieved six or more module passes by June but who has not already qualified for progression to the MSc can re-sit any or all modules at the autumn diet of the same year. If he/she then achieves an average of at least 50% in his/her best 10 modules he/she may be allowed to return the following summer to register for the MSc. Only one re-sit opportunity will be permitted.

The course is primarily intended for graduates with a good mathematical background. While we are looking for at least a "2.1" or equivalent standard in appropriate subject areas, prior qualifications in statistics, economics or finance are not prerequisites for this course. We look for people whom we judge have the potential to succeed. A willingness to work hard and a drive to succeed are prerequisites.

The period of study commences in the first week of October and continues over three ten-week terms (with an extra few days for examinations in early January immediately prior to the start of the second term and an extra week in April immediately prior to the start of the third term) until the end of the following June. For those students who want to take the Masters/MSc option (and who are eligible to do so), work on a project with an academic Supervisor carries on during the period from late June to early September.

The School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences

MACS is a flagship School of Heriot-Watt University, leading in research and research-led teaching. Its departments cover three areas: mathematics, actuarial mathematics and statistics, and computer science. The departments of Mathematics and Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics are part of the Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences, a joint research institute in the Edinburgh Research Partnership collaboration between Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities. The Department of Computer Science has expanded in recent years, and is involved in many state-of-the-art initiatives and research projects. MACS has top research and excellent teaching ratings and is a lively international centre for leading-edge developments and exciting new courses. Professor Philippe De Wilde, Head of School.

There are around 140 staff and 1,000 students in MACS. About 200 students are working towards a Masters Degree, and another 70 are preparing for a PhD. The School is situated in Heriot-Watt's main campus in Scotland's capital city - if you've visited Edinburgh, you'll know that it really is a great place to live with its unmatched selection of cultural activities. For our students, MACS offers strong research and postgraduate courses and a wide range of high quality undergraduate courses.


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