Several universities offer undergraduate degrees in actuarial science. Some of these degrees offer exemptions from all the Core Technical subject examinations. Other actuarial degrees offer exemptions from a subset of these subjects.
The advantages of studying an actuarial degree:
- Finding out more about actuarial work before starting employment.
- Exemption from some professional exams, if a high enough standard is reached in the corresponding university course.
- Quicker qualification as an actuary in comparison to graduates from other courses. This could lead to quicker promotion.
- A higher number of exam passes may mean that the actuarial graduate may receive a higher salary (probably staggered and dependent on future exam success).
- An actuarial degree gives an excellent grounding in subjects like economics, finance, mathematics and statistics, as well as the more actuarial subjects (making actuarial graduates suitable for a range of careers, not just actuarial work).
The benefits to studying alternative degrees:
- Non-actuarial degrees enable students to experience a greater range of courses and to pursue a variety of interests outside actuarial work.
- Non-actuarial degrees may still lead to exemption from a few of the Core Technical subjects.
- Some employers are less enthusiastic than others about employing actuarial science graduates, so you may wish to seek the views of your favoured employers.
- Experience in the office is at least as important as exam passes. Actuarial graduates should not expect that they will necessarily be paid more than other graduates.
What about postgraduate degrees?
Postgraduate degrees that offer exemption from Core Technical subjects or Specialist Technical subjects are available. These have similar advantages to the actuarial science degrees noted above. However, students typically have to find private funding for these postgraduate courses.