Actuarial Science Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Actuarial Science?

Actuarial Science deals with evaluating risks and maintaining the economic stability of insurance or financial organizations.

An actuary evaluates, manages, and advises on financial risks. They use their knowledge of business and economics, together with their understanding of probability theory, mathematics, statistics, and investment theory, to provide strategic, commercial, and financial advice and to anticipate the likelihood of a particular event occurring so that preventive measures can be taken.

In simple words, actuaries analyze past data and use that information to determine how much money should be set aside to cover the financial losses which could occur in the future.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Actuarial Science courses in the following subject areas:

  • Actuarial Science – Gain a solid foundation in statistics, financial mathematics, economics, and business finance.
  • Business and General Maths – Discover how much numerical and logical thinking play a part in so many everyday activities.
  • Statistics Essentials for Analytics – Gain a strong foundation in the machine learning field and acquire a complete understanding of statistical techniques and how these techniques can be applied in real-world data.
  • Statistics Essentials – A study of the basics of statistics and how they can be applied in business, research, and more.
  • Mastering Statistics – Expand on the fundamentals of statistics and gain a better understanding of the statistical world.
  • Advanced Statistics – A study of the advanced aspects of statistics and how they can be applied in business, research, and more.

Studying Actuarial Science in college

There are many Actuarial Science courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification. You could also consider work experience or internships, internships and placements can potentially help secure a graduate job, however, this is dependent on the organization. Approach professionals at careers events or enquire about work shadowing where possible.

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Actuarial Science you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of statistics and mathematics.

Once qualified, actuaries can progress quite quickly to managerial positions with greater levels of responsibility for project work and team management, including mentoring new trainees.

An actuarial career offers a great deal of flexibility, and although an actuary may choose a particular area of specialization such as consultancy, investments, life assurance, general insurance, pensions, or reinsurance, it is still possible to change areas later in your career. For instance, some actuaries move from pension firms to work in investment banks or asset management firms, or into large corporations.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours are usually full-time, Monday to Friday. You should expect to work overtime on occasion to meet deadlines, but not necessarily at the weekends or in shifts.

Opportunities to travel vary between employers. An insurance company with offices around the country or abroad may require actuaries to travel from time to time, for instance. Visits to corporate clients may also be necessary, e.g. for those working in reinsurance. The amount of travel varies according to the type of actuarial work and the regional area.

Related jobs include:

  • Actuarial analyst
  • Actuary
  • Civil Service fast streamer
  • Data analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Financial risk analyst
  • Investment analyst
  • Market researcher
  • Operational researcher
  • Statistician
  • Business analyst
  • Chartered accountant
  • Economist
  • Financial manager
  • Financial trader
  • Insurance underwriter
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Research scientist
  • Acoustic consultant
  • Chartered accountant
  • Chartered certified accountant
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Software engineer
  • Sound engineer
  • CAD technician
  • Civil Service fast streamer
  • Game designer
  • Meteorologist
  • Operational researcher
  • Private tutor
  • Quantity surveyor
  • Radiation protection practitioner
  • Software tester

Further study

After completing a course in Actuarial Science you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as business or finance, economics, engineering, mathematics or statistics, risk management, or science such as physics and chemistry.

Actuaries who wish to continue their studies to an advanced level or who wish to specialize in a particular actuarial field may take further specialist exams to qualify as a fellow, becoming an expert in areas such as investments, enterprise risk management, pensions, or insurance. Qualifying for fellowship can take between three and six years.


Why is Actuarial Science important?

Actuaries use their knowledge of statistics, finance, and business to assess the risk of events occurring and help create policies for businesses and clients that minimize the cost of that risk. For this reason, actuaries are essential to the insurance industry.

What skills could be helpful for a career in Actuarial Science?

Skills that would be very useful to have for a career in Actuarial Science include a high level of numeracy, good communication skills, including the ability to convey complex information to clients, analytical, research, and creative problem-solving skills, IT skills, the ability to write clear reports and a commitment to an actuarial career.

Some other generic skills that would be useful for any professional career include: the ability to take responsibility, excellent people, interpersonal and listening skills, a strong teamwork ethic, self-discipline, determination and an appreciation of the demands of studying while working, sound judgment, and a genuine interest in business

Where can I study Actuarial Science?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· The word “hundred” comes from the Old Norse term, “hundrath”, which means 120 and not 100.

· In a room of 23 people, there’s a 50% chance that two people have the same birthday.

· Most mathematical symbols weren’t invented until the 16th century. Before that, equations were written in words.

· Markings on animal bones indicate that humans have been doing maths since around 30,000BC.

· The spiral shapes of sunflowers, snails, and shells follow the Fibonacci sequence, where the two previous numbers are added together to get the next. (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…)

Mariza Halliday

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