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School of Mathematical Sciences

5 reasons why you should study Actuarial Science

In this blog, we tell you exactly what an Actuary does and give you 5 reasons why you should be considering a degree in Actuarial Science. 


Before we jump in, let’s start with a quick definition. You may be familiar with the job title Actuary, but still not 100% sure what they do.

What is an Actuary?

Put simply, an Actuary is someone who uses mathematics and statistics to measure the probability and risk of future events.

Take the insurance industry for example, when calculating how much someone should pay for their home insurance, there are so many factors we need to take into account. Is there a flood risk? What are crime rates like? Has the person claimed before? It’s an actuary’s job to use mathematical and statistical models to assess these risks and help insurers set their premiums.

Insurance is just one of the industries you can work in, but you’ll also find lots of actuaries working in pensions, investments, risk management, corporate finance, government, healthcare and academia. 

Why study Actuarial Science?

Here are 5 reasons you might want to become an Actuary

1. Good salary
Actuaries are very well-paid and this is one of the main reasons people are attracted to the profession. It is a challenging job and it requires a lot of hard work and exams, but a newly qualified Actuarial Analyst working in London can expect to earn between £40,000 and £50,000 per year.

As you work your way up the ranks, the salary will grow with you. A Senior Actuarial Analyst can expect to earn around £70,000 although it is not uncommon to see salaries in excess of £100,000.

The most senior roles such as Chiefs or Partners may earn over £200,000. Source:

2. More than just a degree
Queen Mary’s BSc Actuarial Science degree was designed to help students get a head start on their career. To qualify as an Actuary, you need to pass 13 exams and because our degree accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), students can gain up to 6 exam exemptions by the time they graduate. Not only will you have a degree under your belt, but you’ll also be almost half way to qualifying as an Actuary.


3. Job security
Many of us are looking for a degree programme with clear outcomes and a clearly defined career path. A degree in Mathematical Sciences will open a lot of doors, but it doesn’t necessarily offer you a defined career path. If you know you want a job involving complex Maths and problem solving, but you’re looking for a degree programme that sets you up for a specific career, Actuarial Science might be for you. Actuaries are always in demand and it is a role with excellent job security.


4. Challenging
Qualifying as an Actuary requires hard work and lots of time studying for exams. The job itself can be challenging, but if you’re someone that enjoys a challenge and isn’t afraid of hard work, it could be for you. The role can be varied too as you work with companies and organisations to help them assess risk and make the right decisions. Actuaries have to wear many hats: they are consultants, mathematicians, number crunchers, risk assessors and financial advisers all in one.


5. You love Maths
If you’re thinking about Actuarial Science, there’s a good chance you enjoy Maths and you’re probably pretty good at it too. It is really important to enjoy what you do for work and if you’re excited by the idea of applying probability theory and statistical models to real world problems and data sets, you should definitely think about a career as an Actuary. You’ll work with numbers all day long and have a real impact on the decisions companies and organisations are making.


For more information on Queen Mary’s BSc Actuarial Science course, please visit our degree programme page. This programme is also available as a 4 year course with a placement year and we recommend you consider a year in industry as it’s great for making connections with future employers.





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