How to choose a course

When choosing a university course you need to think ahead to what future employers will be looking for when you come to apply for a trainee position You should also think about which subjects you enjoy and perform well in.

Actuaries need to have excellent mathematical skills - therefore most employers require candidates to have a 2:1 degree (an average 65%) in a numerate subject 

Most employers prefer candidates with degrees from university departments with a strong reputation. You will also need very good A-levels (equivalent to high school level), including a grade A or B in Mathematics.

Depending on the modules taken and the grades you obtain, a numerate degree may lead to exemptions from some of the IFoA’s exams.

For information on universities that offer exemptions from the IFoA exams, please see the university courses with exemptions page.

Choosing a degree in actuarial science degree

Several universities in the UK and SE Asia offer undergraduate degrees in actuarial science.  Some of these carry exemptions from some of the examinations.

If you already have an actuarial background, the programme you enrolled in may have been awarded exam exemption recognition from the IFoA. You will have, in addition to our professional exams, another route to qualify as an FIA. In East Asia, the following accredited universities are with part or full accreditation and currently offerring courses under new curriculum:

  • Central University of Finance and Economics
  • Dongbei University of Finance and Economics
  • Zhongnan University of Economics and Law,
  • The University of Hong Kong
  • Fudan University
  • Beijing Technology and Business University
  • Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University

In addition, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics has been using the IFoA syllabus for their actuarial degree programmes. If you are interested in university exemption application, please contact the IFoA Beijing Office:

Tel:010-6535 0248 / 0249

The advantages of studying for an actuarial science degree are:

  • you find out more about actuarial work before starting employment
  • you may be eligible for exemptions from some of our exams
  • you may be able to qualify quicker than if you take a course which gives fewer exemptions
  • you will receive an excellent grounding in subjects like economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics, as well as actuarial subjects. This makes actuarial science graduates suitable for a range of careers, not just actuarial work.

Choosing another numerate degree

There are benefits to studying numerate degrees other than those in actuarial science:

  • non-actuarial degrees enable students to experience a greater range of subjects
  • non-actuarial degrees may still lead to exemption from some of the Core Subjects
  • not all employers select actuarial science graduates, so you may wish to seek the views of your favoured employers.

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