Programmes

BSc Actuarial Science

  • Undergraduate
  • Department of Statistics
  • UCAS code N321
  • Starting 2018

Actuarial science applies mathematical skills to the social sciences to solve important problems for insurance, government, commerce, industry and academic researchers. If you have enjoyed studying mathematics at A level (or equivalent) and are interested in the applications of statistics to the social sciences, business and finance, then this could be the programme for you.

The BSc Actuarial Science programme has a heavy mathematical and statistical component. It is accredited by the Institute of Actuaries and courses taken as part of the degree can lead to exemptions. It is also accredited by The Royal Statistical Society, providing graduates with the status of Graduate Statistician, a grade of professional membership of the society.

Many students arrange internships in actuarial and financial firms or placement companies with help from LSE Careers or the Department of Statistics. Recent graduates from the programme have gone on to work in the areas of insurance (life and general), as well as banking, finance and statistics.

Programme details

Key facts

BSc Actuarial Science
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline 15 January 2018
Duration Three years full-time
Applications 2016 542
First year students 2016 73
Availability Open from September 2017
Tuition fee 2017 UK/EU fee: £9,250 for the first year (provisional)
2017 Overseas fee: £18,408 for the first year
Programme requirement GSCE pass at grade A or above in Mathematics (or equivalent)
Usual standard offer A level: grades A A A (including Mathematics)
International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 38 points including 7 6 6 at Higher level (with 7 in Mathematics)
English language requirements Proof of your English language proficiency may be required
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees, usual standard offers and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections below.

Programme structure and courses

The degree involves studying courses to the value of 12 units over three years, plus LSE100.

The BSc Actuarial Science, BSc Mathematics, Statistics, and Business and BSc Financial Mathematics and Statistics programmes have similar first year courses, and you may be able to move between these degrees in your second year, if you would like to.

First year

In your first year, you will take two compulsory courses in mathematics and statistics, and will have a choice between two courses for your third course. You will also take either Economics A or Economics B, depending on your economics background. Economics B is only for students with A level Economics or equivalent. In addition, you will take LSE100, which is taught in the Lent term only.

(* denotes a half unit course)

Elementary Statistical Theory
This 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
This 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.

Either
Elements of Accounting, Financial Institutions and Financial Management
Gives you an introduction to the role, nature, scope and limitations of accounting conventions, as well as managerial accounting and financial management.
Or
Introduction to Abstract Mathematics
Introduces you to rigorous mathematical thinking and is strongly recommended for first-year students.

Either
Economics A
Provides a foundation in economics, primarily to those without significant background in the subject.
Or
Economics B
An introductory course in microeconomics and macroeconomics.

LSE100
Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Second year

In your second year you will take two compulsory full-unit courses, two compulsory half-unit courses and will continue to take LSE100 in the Michaelmas Term only. You will also choose an outside option from courses in economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, sociology, statistics, or anything else that might interest you, or alternatively you can do an applied statistics project.

Probability, Distribution Theory and Inference
Develops 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*
This is a course on compound interest techniques from an actuarial viewpoint.

Survival Models*
An introduction to actuarial mathematics and statistics.

Courses to the value of one unit in economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, sociology, statistics, or an outside option

LSE100
Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Third year

In your third year you will take four compulsory half-unit courses, and a further full-unit course. You will also choose options to the value of one course unit from an approved list. Previous options have included Regression and Generalised Linear Models, Bayesian Inference, and Stochastic Simulation.

Stochastic Processes*
Explores stochastic processes and applications to insurance.

Time Series and Forecasting*
Introduces the statistical analysis of time series data and simple models.

Actuarial Mathematics: Life*
An introduction to the theory and techniques of life insurance and pensions.

Actuarial Mathematics: General*
Introduces actuarial work in non-life insurance.

Stochastic and Actuarial Methods in Finance
Offers applications of stochastic processes and actuarial models in finance.

One approved option from a list


You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up-to-date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated undergraduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

You will usually attend a mixture of lectures and related classes, seminars or workshops totalling between 10 and 15 hours per week. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

Your academic adviser will be available to offer general guidance and assistance with both academic and personal concerns, and you will be expected to meet them every term. There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Your timetable

The lecture and seminar timetable is published in mid-August and the full academic timetable (lectures/seminars and undergraduate classes) is published by mid-September and is accessible via the LSE Timetables webpages.

Undergraduate student personal timetables are published in LSE for You (LFY). For personal timetables to appear, students must be registered at LSE, have successfully signed up for courses in LFY and ensured that their course selection does not contain unauthorised clashes.

Every effort is made to minimise changes after publication, once personal timetables have been published any changes are notified via email.

The standard teaching day runs from 09:00-18:00; Monday to Friday. Teaching for undergraduate students will not usually be scheduled after 12:00 on Wednesdays to allow for sports, volunteering and other extra-curricular events. 

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment for most courses is 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. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Feedback on coursework is an essential part of the teaching and learning experience at the School. Class teachers must mark formative coursework and return it with feedback to you normally within two weeks of submission (when the work is submitted on time). You will also receive feedback on any summative coursework you are required to submit as part of the assessment for individual courses (except on the final version of submitted dissertations). You will normally receive this feedback before the examination period. 

Find out more about LSE’s teaching and assessment methods

Preliminary reading

The following documentary gives an insight into the exciting world of statistics: 
Watch the Joy of Stats

General books related to mathematics and statistics

P J Davis and R Hersh The Mathematical Experience (Houghton Mifflin, 2000)

K J Devlin The Millennium Problems: the seven greatest unsolved mathematical puzzles of our time (Granta Books, 2005)

D Hand Statistics: a very short introduction (Oxford University Press, 2008)

J A Paulos Innumeracy: mathematical illiteracy and its consequences (Fsg Adult, 2001)

J S Rosenthal Struck by Lightning: the curious world of probabilities (Harper Collins, 2005)

For more serious preparatory study

N L Biggs Discrete Mathematics (Oxford University Press, 2003)#

V Bryant Yet Another Introduction to Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1990)

P Eccles An Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning (Cambridge University Press, 1998)

T H Wonnacott and R J Wonnacott Introductory Statistics (Wiley, 1990)

Careers

Graduates from this programme will be able to go on to work in the areas of banking, insurance, business consultancy, data analytics, accounting, statistics, civil service and graduate studies.

This programme is accredited by the Institute of Actuaries and courses taken as part of the degree can lead to exemptions. It is also accredited by The Royal Statistical Society, providing graduates with the status of Graduate Statistician, a grade of professional membership of the society. 

More on Undergraduate Programme Accreditation and Exemptions.

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE.

Student stories

Anthony Waring

BSc Actuarial Science
Kirkham, UK

Antony-Waring170x230

The main enjoyment of my programme has been the technical ability I have developed, which has been very demanding but also incredibly intellectually rewarding. I have especially enjoyed how the statistical content of this course overlaps between courses, enabling me to understand new concepts more deeply. During the summer I undertook an internship placement in the Actuarial and Planning department at Allianz and have subsequently been offered a placement in their graduate training programme after I have completed my degree.

Djelila Delior

BSc Actuarial Science
Mauritius

Watch Djelila's video

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background. The programme guidance below should be read alongside our general entrance requirements information.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on the UCAS application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- subject combinations
- personal statement
- teacher’s reference
- educational circumstances

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

What we are looking for in an application for BSc Actuarial Science

Academic achievement

Successful applicants for this programme are usually predicted to achieve or have already achieved a minimum of A A A in their A levels, one of which must be Mathematics (or 38 and above International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) points, with 7 6 6 in Higher level subjects, including Mathematics). Further Mathematics is highly desirable.

Applicants should also have already achieved a strong set of GCSE grades including several at A and A*, including Mathematics at grade A , or equivalent. Your GCSE (or equivalent) English Language grade should also be no lower than B. We also consider your overall GCSE subject profile, and your AS grades, if available.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you are predicted or if you achieve the grades that meet our usual standard offer, this will not guarantee you an offer of admission. Usual standard offers are intended only as a guide, and in some cases applicants will be asked for grades which differ from this.

We express our standard offers and, where applicable, programme requirements, in terms of A levels and the IB, but we consider applications from students with a range of qualifications including BTECs, Foundation Courses and Access to HE Diplomas as well as a wide range of international qualifications.

Information about accepted international qualifications
Information about other accepted UK qualifications

Subject combinations

We consider the combination of subjects you have taken, as well as the individual scores. We believe a broad mix of traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE and expect applicants to have at least two full A levels or equivalent in these subjects.

For the BSc Actuarial Science, we are looking for outstanding mathematicians. Mathematics at A level or equivalent is required, and Further Mathematics is highly desirable. We are happy to consider applicants who have taken Mathematics, Further Mathematics and one other subject at A level for this programme.

Personal characteristics, skills and attributes

For this programme, we are looking for students who demonstrate the following skills:

- outstanding mathematical ability
- ability to ask pertinent questions
- ability to think independently
- ability to apply logic and manipulate data
- ability to adopt a creative and flexible approach
- intellectual curiosity
- motivation and capacity for hard work

Personal statement

In addition to demonstrating the above personal characteristics, skills and attributes, your statement should be original, interesting and well-written and should outline your enthusiasm and motivation for the programme.

You should explain whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how this relates to your current academic studies and what additional reading or relevant experiences you have had which have led you to apply. We are interested to hear your own thoughts or ideas on the topics you have encountered through your exploration of the subject at school or through other activities. Some suggestions for preliminary reading can be found below, but there is no set list of activities we look for; instead we look for students who have made the most of the opportunities available to them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their intended programme of study.

You can also mention extra-curricular activities such as sport, the arts or volunteering or any work experience you have undertaken. However, the main focus of an undergraduate degree at LSE is the in-depth academic study of a subject and we expect the majority of your personal statement to be spent discussing your academic interests.

Please also see our general guidance about writing personal statements.

Fees and funding

Every undergraduate student is charged a fee for each year of their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees

The 2018 tuition fees have not yet been set. Below are the details of the 2017 fees.

2017 UK/EU* students: £9,250 for the first year (pending final approval by Parliament)
2017 Overseas students £18,408 for the first year

UK/EU undergraduate fees may rise in line with inflation in subsequent years and the overseas fee usually rises by between 2.5 per cent and 4 per cent each year.

*The UK Government confirmed in April 2017 that the fee level for EU undergraduate new entrants in 2018/19 will be the same as Home UK for the duration of their undergraduate degree programme. Further information can be found on gov.uk website.

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information about fee status classification
Further information about tuition fees

Scholarships, bursaries and loans

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country. LSE provides generous financial support, in the form of bursaries and scholarships to UK, EU and overseas students. 

In addition, Government support, in the form of loans, is available to UK and some EU students.

Find out more about tuition fee loans.

Key Information Set

From September 2012, every undergraduate programme of more than one year's duration will have a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS allows you to compare 17 pieces of information about individual programmes at different higher education institutions.

Please note that programmes offered by different institutions with similar names can vary quite significantly. We recommend researching the programmes you are interested in and taking into account the programme structure, teaching and assessment methods, and support services available.

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