Actuaries: What degrees can help?

Graduation

One of the most straightforward routes to a career as an actuary is to study a maths-based degree at university. Although some people may think you can only study mathematics if you want to work as an actuary, in reality, as long as you enjoy working with numbers there are a handful of specialisms you can focus on during your time at university.

Most employers will look out for graduates with a 2:1 or above in a maths-based subject. To help you make the best decision for your future we’ve listed the various maths-based degrees that will teach you the skills needed to excel in actuarial science and how to become an actuary through any of these routes. It is really important to strive for a good result. The classification of your degree is actually more important than the degree itself when it comes to the application process.

Mathematics

Studying mathematics will give you a good grounding in the basics. You will be able to study a variety of topics that fall under the mathematics umbrella. These may include algebra, statistics, applied mathematics, probability, geometry, and computer science. It is the perfect degree to choose for a joint honours as your studies in mathematics will greatly compliment other degrees, such as statistics or computer science. This degree will teach you how to problem solve and use theoretical maths, making it the perfect foundation for a future as an actuary.

Statistics

Though statistics is taught within mathematics degrees, taking on a degree in statistics will allow you to dive deeper into the subject of data collection and analysis. This degree will give you a better understanding of probability, sampling methodology, and environmental and financial statistics. By showcasing the data analysis, theoretical maths and statistics skills you will have learned on this degree, you will be a great candidate for an actuarial science internship or entry-level job.

Economics

An economics degree will teach you about the financial and business sectors and the political, social, geographical and historical issues that impact on decisions made every day. You will learn about microeconomics, which is the study of the financial behaviours of individuals, households, and companies, and macroeconomics, which focuses on economies on a national and global scale. You could study economics as part of a joint degree and combine with another relevant degree such as mathematics or computer science. An economics degree will give you a good working understanding of business and the ability to use economic theory and statistical techniques to answer questions relevant to the business and financial fields.

Accountancy

Accounting degrees allow you to apply data analysis skills to the business world. You will learn how to manage financial accounts, analyse how money flows in and out of a business, and how to interpret financial regulations. The course will give you an overview of not only accounting but also economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics. The ability to analyse data combined with an understanding of business will help actuarial employers look favourably on your application.

Engineering

In general, engineering is a broad subject that could include subcategories such as electrical, chemical, mechanical, computer, civil, and architectural engineering. You will typically study mathematics, engineering design, computer-based modelling and much more. The focus on mathematics, as well as an understanding of technology and business will make you an interesting candidate for future employers.

Sciences (physics/chemistry)

Though a science-based degree in physics or chemistry may seem removed from the world of actuarial science, the skills you gain from these degrees are similar to a mathematics degree. These subjects require an inquisitive and curious mind which is also a useful skill for an actuary to possess. Studying science-based subjects will help develop your mathematical, statistical, and computer skills, which are all highly sought after in the actuarial field.

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