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BSc Honours Actuarial Science and Risk Management (UCAS Code: N323)

Actuarial Science and Risk Management

BSc Honours Actuarial Science and Risk Management (UCAS Code: N323)
Queen's University Management School

The Subject

The underlying cornerstone of the Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree is the application of financial and statistical theories to help solve real business problems.

The degree combines modules in actuarial modelling, financial reporting, insurance, pensions, economics, finance, mathematics and statistics to develop techniques and skills to assess, evaluate and manage future financial risk and thereby address a wide range of practical problems in long-term financial planning and management.

A lot of actuaries' work might be thought of as risk management, which assesses how likely an event may be and the costs associated with that event. This might include investigating how life insurance reserves and future premiums might balance future claims, analysing investment risks, or projecting the financial costs of an epidemic.

Why Queen's?

Accreditation: this degree has been accredited for subjects CT1-CT8 by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (level may vary from year to year and from individual exemption at the discretion of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries).

Placement: students undertake a nine-month minimum salaried work placement. Placement allows students to develop highly-valued practical skills, as well as gaining exemption from many of the early professional exams, and on successful completion, students are eligible for a Licentiateship award (a vocational qualification provided through the City and Guilds of London Institute). Recent placement providers have included Allstate (both in Northern Ireland and Chicago), Kerr Henderson, Mercer and Xafinity Claybrook.

Research-led Teaching: academics teaching this degree are at the cutting edge of their fields and are actively involved in research.

Course Content

The duration of the BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree is four years, with Year 3 spent in a salaried placement in an actuarial or risk management environment. In each of Years 1, 2 and 4, the following modules are studied:

Year 1
Actuarial Mathematics 1
Financial Reporting and Analysis
Introduction to Probability and Operational Research
Market Theory for Non-Economists
Principles of Economics
Statistical Methods

Year 2
Actuarial Mathematics 2
Actuarial Methods in General Insurance
Investment Analysis
Mutual and Pension Fund Management
Placement Learning Module
Principles of Actuarial Modelling

Year 3
Placement Year

Year 4
Actuarial Modelling
Capital Markets
Financial Econometrics
Financial Engineering
International Finance
Stochastic Processes

For module descriptions: choose your subject area from the dropdown list (please note that the modular system used at Queen's allows students access to a wide range of teaching across related subjects where appropriate eg Accounting includes modules from within the subjects of Economics and Finance)

Related Degrees

  • BSc Honours Actuarial Science and Risk Management (UCAS Code: N323)


Entry Requirements

BSc Honours

  • Actuarial Science and Risk Management 4-yr SW (N323)

How We Choose Our Students

In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.

Entrance Requirements

A*AA including Mathematics
AAA + A (AS) including A-level Mathematics

Irish Leaving Certificate

AAAB2B2B2 including Higher Level grade A in Mathematics

International qualifications
For information on international qualification equivalents, please click on Your Country in the International Students website.

For students whose first language is not English
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at:

If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO Queen's University Belfast is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including:
International Foundation in Business, Humanities and Social Science



Assessment and Feedback

Learning and Teaching

Queen’s University Management School is one of the largest Schools in the University with more than 1300 full-time undergraduate students and 300 plus postgraduate students.  The School has been delivering high quality programmes for more than 40 years and was one of the first schools in the UK to introduce undergraduate management education.  Since then, QUMS has been developing and enhancing its teaching portfolio for both local and international students and boasts students from more than 20 different nationalities. 


In recent years, the School has benefited from significant investment resulting in many new academic appointments and state-of-the-art facilities including computer teaching labs with specilaised software and a Trading Room in Riddel Hall.  In addition, the new McClay library houses an excellent selection of Management and related texts and there are extensive IT facilities throughout the campus. 


At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.  In line with this, one of QUMS’ primary objectives is to deliver innovative learning and teaching programmes that provide students with the competences and skills to make a positive contribution to business, economic and civic life.


On the BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management programme we achieve these goals by providing a range of learning environments which enable our students to engage with subject experts both academic staff and industry guest speakers, develop skills and attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world-class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this degree programme are:


  • Lectures: these introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading.  As the module progresses this information becomes more complex.  Lectures, which are normally delivered in large groups to all year-group peers, also provide opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification on key issues as well as gain feedback and advice on assessments.  Additional lectures are also delivered by employer representatives and staff from a number of actuarial firms are involved in the delivery of workshops. In addition to the academic content of the lectures and workshops, this enables employers to impart their valuable experience to QUMS Actuarial Science students, introduces important local employers to our students and allows ourstudents to meet and engage with potential future employers.


  • Seminars/tutorials: a significant amount of teaching is carried out in small groups (typically 15-20 students). These sessions are designed to explore, in more depth, the information that has been presented in the lectures.  This provides students with the opportunity to engage closely with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of their peers. During these classes, students will be expected to present their work to academic staff and their peers.
  • Practicals: Actuarial Science is a very theoretical yet vocational subject and as such we facilitate opportunities for students to engage in the application of theory. You will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts through the modules you study and through industry presentations and workshops that we host. 
  • E-Learning technologies:information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online.  A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree programme through the use of, for example, interactive support materials, podcasts and web-based learning activities.  There are also opportunities to develop skills in the use of industry software associated with actuarial practice.
  • Self-directed study:  this is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
  • Work placements: The BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management programme has a compulsory placement year with an actuarial organisation.  This begins after all Level 2 modules have been successfully completed. The dedicated Placement Office within the School facilitates students in sourcing and securing appropriate placements and provides appropriate support whilst the student is with the host organisation. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity and will ensure that the theory being understood in the lecture theatre is complemented by the development of practical, transferrable skills.
  • Supervised projects:  As part of the continual assessment on a range of modules, you will be expected to carry out projects. You will receive support from the module coordinators who will guide you in terms of how to carry out your projects and will provide feedback to you during the write up stage.
  • Student Support Systems: QUMS has an active and co-ordinated student support system to assist students in making the transition from school to university. This includes:
  • assigning each student an Adviser of Studies to assist with the choice of modules at the beginning of each academic year;
  • assigning each student a Personal Tutor (an academic member of staff) when they begin the degree programme.  The Personal Tutoring System includes individual scheduled appointments with personal tutors, small group tutor meetings (4-5 students) and e-mail contact to discuss academic matters, academic performance, skills development, careers and/or prospective placements and issues related to University policies and practices.  Students meet their Personal Tutor at induction and during the first and second year of study they are expected to meet with their Personal Tutor at least once per semester.
  • A Peer Mentoring Scheme whereby students in second and third year of their degree programme volunteer to mentor Level 1 students. Developing the programme themselves, with support from academic staff in QUMS, the mentors organise informal meetings, regular contact and a series of events ranging from ice-breaker type events to employer-led sessions with the Level 1 students.
  • a formalised induction for all undergraduate students.  For Level 1 students, this includes several half-day sessions the week before the programme begins to allow students to familiarise themselves with the campus and the degree programme.  During Level 1 there are a number of follow-up sessions throughout the year. Topics such as academic writing, referencing, plagiarism, communication skills, examination preparation and managing time effectively are all covered in these practical sessions.
  • Personal Development Planning to encourage students to engage in independent learning.

Assessment and Feedback

Assessment (general):  The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module.  Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction. Actuarial Science modules are typically assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and a final written unseen examination. Continuous assessment consists of tutorial submissions, short class tests, individual project work, small group projects and presentations – this involves three/four students per group working on a specific task, for example, a solution to an actuarial problem. 

Feedback (general):  As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers.  University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:


  • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted. 
  • Face to face comment.  This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
  • Placement employer comments or references.
  • Online or emailed comment.
  • General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
  • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid.  In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time. 
  • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.


Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work. 



The underlying cornerstone of the Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree programme is the application of financial and statistical theories to help solve real business problems. Actuarial Science and Risk Management combines courses/modules in actuarial modelling, financial reporting, economics, finance, insurance, pensions, mathematics and statistics to develop techniques and skills to assess, evaluate and manage future financial risk and thereby address a wide range of practical problems in long-term financial planning and management. Mathematical and statistical skills, through problem solving, constructing proofs and computer application, are at the core of all actuarial work and therefore are core elements in each year of the degree


Students pursuing a career in Actuarial Science should enjoy working with numbers, be effective communicators and work well with people as they will have to analyse and interpret financial and other information to meet the needs of different users, including managers and investors.


Employer Links




We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers including all the major actuarial employers in Northern Ireland and Ireland and a selection of employers from mainland GB. We host annual employer liaison meetings for the course as well as annual actuarial careers fairs at which students can engage with actuarial employers on a one-one basis. 


The establishment of SoNIA (Society of Northern Ireland Actuaries) by staff in QUMS has facilitated a continuous and seamless engagement between academics, actuarial employers and Queens’ students whereby students can gain access to the profession.  They have an opportunity to discuss issues that are concerning the industry and that are of importance to qualified actuaries. Students can also develop excellent networking, communication, and business awareness skills from the start to end of their academic progression ensuring that they can fully compete in the competitive graduate employment market.



Placement Employers


Recent placement providers have included Allstate (both in Northern Ireland and Chicago), Kerr Henderson, Mercer and Xafinity Claybrook. 



Graduate Careers and Achievements


Studying for an Actuarial degree at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions.  The degree has professional accreditation with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the professional body, such that students succeeding on the degree can also achieve exemptions from subjects CT1 – CT8 of the professional exams, subject to certain conditions being met.

Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) with approximately 90-95% of graduates finding high level actuarial employment within several months of graduation.  Further, several students are offered full-time positions with their placement provider.


The traditional areas in which actuaries are employed include:

  • Actuarial Consultancies - clients are provided with advice on mergers, corporate recovery and the management of occupational pension schemes;
  • Insurance Industry - actuaries in insurance design new insurance policies and calculate premium rates and reserving requirements;
  • Pensions Industry - here actuaries are involved in the management and valuation of pension scheme liabilities (for regulatory and expensing purposes). They are also involved in new design and restructuring of pension schemes, deficit management and any requirements of regulatory change on pension scheme.
  • Investment Industry - in this instance actuaries are involved in a wide variety of work such as pricing financial derivatives, working in fund management or working in quantitative investment research.


The Prospects website provides further information regarding the types of jobs that attract BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management graduates.

Further study is also an option open to BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management graduates. Students can choose from a wide range of Masters programmes as well as a comprehensive list of research topics, as shown on the Queen’s University Management School website.

Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers.  Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plus initiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.  See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.

Degree Plus and other related initiatives:  Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s.  Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports. 


Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students).  Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts.  As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.


Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plusin particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies.  These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.


Contact Us

For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838

For course information

Mark Farrell
Queen's University Management School
T: +44 (0)28 9097 4200

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