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BSc Actuarial Science

The beauty of Statistics is that if you can take a large enough group of people, you can predict really well what the outcome will be overall

Dr George Tzougas200x200

If you have enjoyed mathematics at A level and are interested in the applications of statistics to the social sciences, then you should consider this subject. Actuarial science applies mathematical skills to a range of applied subjects and helps to solve important problems for insurance, government, commerce, industry and academic researchers.

If you choose the actuarial science degree then you take additional courses, which together with the mathematics and statistics required, can lead to exemptions from all of the first of the examinations of the Institute of Actuaries. See undergraduate programme accreditation and exemptions for more information.

Take a look at what Statistics graduates have gone on to do.

Dr George Tzougas 
BSc Actuarial Science Course Tutor 

Entry requirements

  • Course requirement: A level Mathematics at grade A or International Baccalaureate Higher level Mathematics (with 7).
  • Normally required: A level: grades A A A, one of which must be Mathematics. Further Mathematics is highly desirable.
  • International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 38 points including 7 6 6 at Higher level (with 7 in Mathematics).

Details of how to apply

Degree structure

The BSc Actuarial Science degree involves studying courses to the value of twelve units over three years as indicated below.

First year

  1. ST102 Elementary Statistical Theory
  2. MA100 Mathematical Methods  
  3. AC104 Elements of Accounting, Financial Institutions and Financial Management or MA103 Introduction to Abstract Mathematics
  4. EC102 Economics B

Elementary Statistical Theory is a theoretical statistics course which is appropriate whether or not your A level Mathematics course included statistics. It forms the basis for later statistics options. Mathematical Methods is an introductory level 'how to do it' course designed to prepare you for using mathematics seriously in the social sciences or any other context. Elements of Accounting and Finance will give you an introduction to the preparation, uses and limitations of accounting information and problems of finance and investment. You will also take an Economics course.

Second year

  1. ST202 Probability, Distribution Theory and Inference
  2. MA212 Further Mathematical Methods
  3. ST227 Survival Methods (half) and ST226 Actuarial Investigations - Financial (half)
  4. Courses to the value of one unit (to be discussed with tutor)

Probability, Distribution Theory and Inference will develop your knowledge of probability and statistics beyond the first year course. It will also provide the probability and statistics basis for all third year courses. Further Mathematical Methods covers the mathematics needed for statistics and actuarial courses. Actuarial investigations (Financial) is a course on compound interest techniques from an actuarial viewpoint and Survival models provides an introduction to actuarial mathematics and statistics. Within in the optional unit you can choose from courses in economics, mathematics, sociology, psychology, information systems, or anything else that might interest you. Alternatively, you can do an applied statistics project.

Third year

  1. ST302 Stochastic Processes (half unit) and ST304 Time Series and Forecasting (half unit)
  2. ST301 Actuarial Mathematics (Life) (half unit) and ST306 Actuarial Mathematics (General) (half unit)
  3. ST330 Stochastic and Actuarial Methods in Finance (full unit)
  4. Options to the value of one course unit from a list, which includes ST300 Regression and Generalised Linear Models (half unit), ST303 Stochastics Simulation (half unit), ST308 Bayesian Inference Half unit), and others.

You can replace courses to the value of one unit with another approved subject, but this will affect exemptions from examinations set by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. ST302 Stochastics Processes and ST304 Time Series and Forecasting cannot be substituted.

You might be able to gain exemptions from the core technical stage of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries examinations if you reach a sufficient standard in the relevant LSE courses. This is normally well above a pass mark.

There could be changes in the programme given here for the second and third years of the degree to keep up with developments in Actuarial Science.

Have a look at the BSc Actuarial Science regulations page for more information on option courses.

Teaching and assessment

You will usually attend a mixture of lectures and related classes totally between ten and fifteen hours per week. Your Academic Mentor will be able to offer general guidance and assistance with both academic and personal concerns and you will be expected to meet him or her at least three times a term.

Most courses are assessed by a three hour examination in June. A small number of courses are assessed by project work. The class of degree you will attain is based on the assessment over all three years with the emphasis on marks gained in the second and third years.

Suggested preliminary reading

The following books can help prepare for the programmes:

  • J S Rosenthal: Struck by Lightening: the curious world of probabilities (Harper Collins, 2005)
  • V Bryant: Yet Another Introduction to Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1990)
  • N L Biggs: Discrete Mathematics (Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • P Eccles: An Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
  • D Hand: Statistics: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2008)

The following are books on mathematics and statistics containing little to no formulas:

  • A Dilnot: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Profile books, 2007)
  • K J Devlin: The Millennium Problems: the seven greatest unsolved mathematical puzzles of our time (Granta Books, 2005)
  • P J Davis and R Hersh: The Mathematical Experience (Houghton Mifflin, 2000)