MSc Actuarial Science

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The programme provides a solid foundation in mathematics, statistics, economics and finance for future actuarial studies. 

Download the UCD Science Graduate Taught Courses brochure (PDF)

  • Designed specifically for those seeking to enter the actuarial profession.
  • Fully accredited by the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries (UK)
  • Students who perform well in the programme may obtain block exemptions from the Core Examinations of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries (UK).
  • Paid research placements for some students with actuarial companies (subject to successful selection process)

MSc Actuarial Science won the Science Postgraduate Course of the Year at the gradireland Higher Education Awards in 2016.

Careers & Employability

As a graduate of the MSc Actuarial Science you can look forward to a career ranging from the traditional areas of insurance and pension consultancy to the rapidly expanding areas of investment and risk management. Successful graduates can expect early responsibility in their chosen career and the opportunity to work in a variety of challenging roles. Often students who undertake summer research placement with an Actuarial company progress into full employment. Throughout your actuarial career you can rely on the support and guidance of the Actuarial Profession and upon qualification you can expect a rewarding career that will continue to offer opportunities for further development. The Actuarial Profession is a global profession with actuaries in demand in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

The MSc Actuarial Science (MSc Act. Sci.) is designed for students from quantitative disciplines who ultimately wish to train as an actuary upon completion of the programme. The MSc can help fast-track your career as an actuary by supporting you through the initial examinations of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK).

The programme provides a solid foundation in mathematics, statistics, economics and finance for future actuarial studies. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a dissertation in a topical area of actuarial science under the supervision of a member of the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics. The dissertation will allow you to develop an understanding of how the theory and principles covered in the Core Subjects are applied in practice. Some students will have an opportunity to avail of paid research placements with actuarial companies as a means of completing their thesis (interviews with the relevant companies will be required). The programme is suitable for students with no prior exemptions and for students who wish to add to any exemptions they already have. In addition you may also be able to take advanced courses in finance at the world class UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business. You can learn more about the MSc Actuarial Science by watching Assistant Professor Andrew Smith's course video.

This programme is aimed at students from numerate disciplines who ultimately wish to train as an actuary upon completion of the programme. Students will be supported through the initial examinations of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK), thereby placing the graduates on a fast track to a career as a qualified actuary. Our students will be in demand by employers in the pensions and insurance industries, but also in financial services more generally. They will be well positioned to transition to careers in data analytics, financial engineering, stock and options trading and fund management if they so desire, such is the extent of the transferable skills conferred by their programme of study.

Our students will be able to use the tools they have learned to explain, describe and predict complex financial trends and manage risk accordingly.  We aim to provide a teaching and learning environment that develops confidence and independence through a wide variety of interactive formats, both inside and outside the classroom, in industrial and academic settings. In addition to traditional terminal written examinations, the programme includes individual continuous assessment and group assignments involving oral and written presentation, improving the communication skills of students for their future careers. Several subjects will feature software-based analysis and develop computer-programming skills in languages such as R and Excel that will position students well in the new age of analytically driven decision making in insurance and finance.

In addition to the core actuarial subjects that predominantly make up the MSc Actuarial Science programme of study, students will additionally have access to relevant subjects from the wider discipline of statistics and actuarial science where appropriate, broadening their education to meet the growing demands of big data that are set to shape the actuarial landscape in the years ahead. They will also be provided with CV preparation and interview skills workshops in cooperation with UCD Careers in preparation for transition to the professional workplace environment.

MSc Actuarial Science students will have the opportunity to complete a research thesis in the third semester of their course, a clear differentiating feature versus the Graduate Diploma Actuarial Science. This will be undertaken either as a research project implementing material from their academic courses in a focussed piece of actuarial or financial research; or as a research placement in collaboration with an actuarial or financial company. The latter option allows students who are successful in securing a research placement position to enhance their subsequent employability prospects via their workplace experience; the former option provides students with the capacity to demonstrate their ability to approach a complex, long-term task in a systematic manner and successfully tackle it using material mastered in the classroom.

  • Approach problems in an analytical, precise and rigorous way
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the key skills required by a trainee actuary, including data collection methods, statistical method development, analysis of statistical output.
  • Demonstrate strong proficiency in appropriate computational methods
  • Give oral presentations of technical material at a level appropriate for the audience
  • Model real-world problems in using the appropriate framework and on that basis, make forecasts and analyse risk
  • Prepare written reports on technical subjects in statistics, actuarial science, and finance in clear and precise language
  • Use the language of logic to reason correctly and make deductions

MSc Actuarial Science (F034) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 13470
nonEU    fee per year - € 23210

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

Some students will have an opportunity of paid research placement during the summer term.

The MSc Actuarial Science offers potential exemptions from the Core subjects of the examinations of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries (UK). If you have prior actuarial exemptions you may choose to study all or part of the syllabus for examination Core Practice 1 (CA1) of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK).** The programme is therefore suitable for students with no prior exemptions and for students who wish to add to any exemptions they already have. 

** No exemptions are offered from the examinations of the Institute and Faulty of Actuaries in respect of CA1.

  • This programme is intended for applicants with degree in a quantitative area such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering or economics and/or finance. An upper second class honours or international equivalent is required.  Degrees in Commerce or Accounting do not generally carry sufficient mathematics and statistics content to make students eligible for the MSc in Actuarial Science.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

School of Mathematics and Statistics Application Process FAQ

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes 

Graduate Profile
Troy Tyson,
Trainee actuary in the Product Management department of New Ireland Assurance

This course gave me the opportunity to acquire exemptions from the professional examinations of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, which are mandatory to become a fully qualified actuary. The research placement portion of the year for me was extremely beneficial with regards to my career as an actuary. It gave me an insight into the typical day of an actuary working in the life insurance sector, and also allowed me to show my enthusiasm toward the profession and my willingness to work hard to achieve my goals. I would highly recommend the UCD MSc in Actuarial Science to those in search of a challenging yet rewarding year and looking for the perfect launching pad to their career as an actuary.

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Actuarial Science FT (F034)
1 Years
Full Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised