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					School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences

           Division of Mathematics




    PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION




         MSc Actuarial Science




                September 11
                             MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


1     GENERAL INFORMATION

1.    Programme Title:                       Actuarial Science
2.    Final Award:                           MSc Actuarial Science
3.    Exit Awards:                           PgD Actuarial Science
                                             PgC Higher Education
4.    Awarding Body:                         Glasgow Caledonian University
5.    Approval Date:                         24 June 2004
6.    School:                                Computing and Mathematical Sciences
7.    Host Division:                         Mathematics
8.    UCAS Code:                             Not applicable
9.    PSB Involvement:                       Faculty of Actuaries
                                             Institute of Actuaries
10.   Place of Delivery:                     City Campus
11.   Subject Benchmark Statement:           Not applicable
12.   Dates of PS Preparation/Revision:      20 September, 2011




September 11                                                                       page 1
                              MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


2     EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE PROGRAMME

The programme aims to:

     Provide students with a sound knowledge of the mathematical, statistical and vocational
      underpinning necessary in actuarial work.
     Develop students’ competence in the formulation and application of relevant actuarial
      modelling tools.
     Enable students to employ fundamental knowledge in economics within the financial services
      industry.
     Enable students to analyse critically the formulations of actuarial models and their results.
     Provide mathematical and statistical expertise to aid decision making in actuarial work.
     Enable students to develop professional work skills that will enhance their employability.
     Provide students with the opportunity to explore, synthesise and develop a specific application
      of mathematics or statistics in finance or insurance within a research dissertation.

By the end of the taught element of the programme, a student will have acquired a sound knowledge
of mathematical, statistical and vocationally-oriented concepts applicable within actuarial work, be
aware of the interaction between the mathematical and finance/insurance disciplines, be able to
communicate effectively with professionals, and be poised to become an effective and successful
trainee actuary within the financial services industry.

Masters Award Objective: A student will, by means of the Dissertation, be able to develop self
confidence in actuarial modelling that will foster a spirit of independent critical inquiry and enable
it to be applied, creatively and appositely, in a wide variety of actuarially- and financially-oriented
situations.




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                             MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


3     INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES

Preamble
The programme aims to provide a professional education programme for students seeking an
actuarial career within the financial services sector. The programme adopts an inter-disciplinary
approach to the delivery of its aims and objectives to equip the students with a sufficiently broad
professionally-oriented education to enable them to make an effective contribution on employment.
Students undertake a fixed programme of study comprising core material in financial mathematics
and mathematical statistics complemented by appropriate vocationally-oriented topics to provide
them with the ability to study the more specialised mathematical and statistical concepts, and
applications pertinent to actuarial work. The students will, therefore, develop an understanding of
the type of Mathematics necessary to function as an actuary and this will allow them to develop an
inquiring and analytical approach to mathematical applications in the finance and insurance sectors.

Module linkage to the programme Learning Outcomes is provided in the Curriculum Map at the end
of this document.

A    Knowledge and Understanding
A1   Critically assess the theoretical and practical basis of mathematical and statistical methods
     constituting the actuarial scientific method.
A2   Construct solution methods and judge their practicality for problems within the fields of
     Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics.
A3   Develop competence in the theory, and practical application, of methods of stochastic
     modelling underpinning Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics.
A4   Formulate and appraise models relating to Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics.
A5   Acquire appropriate knowledge and understanding in essential topics within Economics that
     address the needs of a working actuary.

A6    Teaching, learning and assessment methods used to enable outcomes to be achieved and
      demonstrated
Lectures; Group-based tutorials/seminars; Practical computing laboratories (supervised and
directed); Problem-based learning scenarios; Directed study; Coursework assignments; Dissertation.

A7 Assessment
Unseen written examinations; Essays. For the Dissertation, research proposal, oral presentation,
and written report.


B    Intellectual Skills
B1   Identify, analyse and solve practical actuarial problems using Mathematics.
B2   Plan and conduct actuarial problem solving work.
B3   Evaluate solution strategies and their implementation for practical actuarial problems.
B4   Evaluate critically work undertaken by themselves and others.
B5   Present findings successfully to end users.
B6   Evaluate research material from a variety of sources and evidence critically.

B7    Teaching, learning and assessment methods used to enable outcomes to be achieved and
      demonstrated
Lectures; Group-based tutorials/seminars; Practical computing laboratories (supervised and
directed); Problem-based learning scenarios; Directed study; Coursework assignments; Dissertation.



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                             MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


B8 Assessment
Unseen written examinations; Essays. For the Dissertation, research proposal, oral presentation,
and written report.


C     Professional/ Practical Skills
C1    Build mathematical models of practical actuarial problems.
C2    Extract appropriate problem-focused information by analysing and understanding model
      output.
C3    Compare and contrast different approaches to actuarial modelling.
C4    Demonstrate effective use of a variety of techniques, and IT tools if appropriate, in the
      development and analysis of actuarial modelling problems.
C5    Solve practical problems relating to premium assessment and valuation of contracts.
C6    Develop an awareness of the professional requirements, both in attitude and skill, of a
      working actuary within the financial services industry.
C7    Appreciation of the professional and ethical requirements of working in the financial services
      industry.

C8    Teaching, learning and assessment methods used to enable outcomes to be achieved and
      demonstrated
Lectures; Group-based tutorials/seminars; Practical computing laboratories (supervised and
directed); Problem-based learning scenarios; Directed study; Coursework assignments; Dissertation.

C9 Assessment
Unseen written examinations; Essays. For the Dissertation, research proposal, oral presentation,
and written report.


D     Transferable/Key Skills
D1    Critical thinking and problem solving.
D2    Cognitive/intellectual skills.
D3    Knowledge and understanding in the context of the subject.
D4    Learning style and orientation to learning.
D5    Time management: organising and planning work.
D6    Independent working.
D7    Planning, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating own learning and development.
D8    Information retrieval skills.
D9    IT skills (including GCU Certificate in Basic ICT Competency).
D10   Communication skills, written, oral and listening.
D11   Numeracy skills.

D12 Teaching, learning and assessment methods used to enable outcomes to be achieved and
      demonstrated
The development of transferable/key skills is generally incorporated within modules and their
related assessment instruments.
Coursework assignments and examinations involve undertaking an assigned task based on module
material. This will involve comprehension (D2, D3), analysis (D2), and construction and critical
evaluation (D1).
The subject matter, involving advanced capabilities in postgraduate-level Mathematics, demands
fundamental numeracy, imagination, persistence and dedication – all key-life skills (D3, D5, D6,
D11).



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                               MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


PDP activities, aimed at creating reflective learners able to learn for life, will assist the students
understand the nature of learning, of how they learn and of how others learn (D4, D7).
The Dissertation module will demand excellent time management skills, the ability to search for
information, collate, evaluate and summarise information independently of others (D5, D6, D7, D8,
D9, D10, D11).
The production of a substantial report and the oral presentation of its results for the Dissertation will
require substantial skills in word processing, communication and the proper use of English (D7, D9,
D10).
The practical use of other software, including statistical software and spreadsheets, will
significantly enhance the students’ IT skills (D9).

D13 Assessment
Assessment of transferable/key skills occurs mostly through the module assessment instruments
with the more mature development of the skills resulting in work of higher quality. Communication
skills (D10) are specifically assessed in the Dissertation module through both an oral presentation
and a written report.


E    Dissertation Skills
The MSc programme is completed with a Dissertation module. This is designed to provide the
student with an opportunity for further development of practical, personal and professional
programme skills in a subject context.
E1 Gain additional competence in the application of the practical skills of the programme.
E2 Develop an understanding of the practical considerations that affect the application of
     Mathematics in the actuarial environment.
E3 Communicate and interact effectively in practical problem solving.
E4 Evaluate current practice and relate this to the programme of study undertaken.

E5    Teaching, learning and assessment methods used to enable outcomes to be achieved and
      demonstrated
These additional career-related skills build upon the skills obtained in the taught subject modules.
Additional learning is achieved through the supervision of the student in this dedicated programme
of actuarially- and financially-oriented work. This supervision is provided by an Academic
Supervisor (AS). The student is prepared for the Dissertation through a series of induction lectures
and support tutorials, and meetings with the Dissertation Co-ordinator.

E6 Assessment
The assessment of the Dissertation skills is based on a written dissertation proposal, an oral
presentation and a written report.




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                             MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


4     PROGRAMME STRUCTURE AND REQUIREMENTS,
      LEVELS, MODULES, CREDITS AND AWARDS
The programme follows the standard Glasgow Caledonian University structure for Postgraduate
programmes comprising 120 credits for PgD and 180 credits for MSc. An academic year consists
of two semesters, with three modules being undertaken and assessed in each semester. A semester
is 15 weeks in length constituting 12 teaching weeks followed by three revision/examination weeks.

Each module represents 200 hours of student learning effort, including staff delivery contact. Each
taught module normally consists of 48 hours of staff delivery (4 hours per week) for full-time
students and 36 hours of staff delivery (3 hours per week) for part-time students.


Core Modules
Module Code      Module Title                                     Credit     Potential Awards
MATM562          Contingencies                                 20 SHEM
MATM564          Financial Mathematics                         20 SHEM
MATM565          Models                                        20 SHEM
MATM566          Probability and Mathematical Statistics       20 SHEM
ECOEM19          Foundation Economics for Actuaries            20 SHEM


Option Modules
MATM563        Mathematical Finance                            20 SHEM
MATM567        Statistical Methods                             20 SHEM
                                                                             PgC (60 credits)
                                                                             PgD (120 credits)

Core Module
Module Code      Module Title                                     Credit     Potential Awards
MATM568          Dissertation                                  60 SHEM
                                                                             MSc (180 credits)


Full-time Programme Structure
Semester A                                   Semester B
Financial Mathematics                        Contingencies
Foundation Economics for Actuaries           Models
Probability and Mathematical Statistics      One option from:
                                                    Mathematical Finance
                                                    Statistical Methods
                                                         Potential Award: PgD Actuarial Science

Semester B and Post Semester
Dissertation
                                                           Potential Award: MSc Actuarial Science




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                             MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification



Part-time Programme Structure
Year 1 Semester A                            Year 1 Semester B
Financial Mathematics                        Contingencies
Probability and Mathematical Statistics      Models

Year 2 Semester A                            Year 2 Semester B
Foundation Economics for Actuaries           One option from:
                                                    Mathematical Finance
                                                    Statistical Methods
                                                         Potential Award: PgD Actuarial Science

Year 2 Semester B and Post Semester
Dissertation
                                                           Potential Award: MSc Actuarial Science




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                             MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


5     SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS AND THEIR LEARNING


     Induction Programme.
     Student Handbook.
     Module Descriptors booklet.
     Programme Organiser.
     ICT Skills programme.
     Caledonian Library and Information Technology Centre with access to other local and
      national library resources.
     Academic staff.
     University Computer laboratories equipped with full range of supporting software.
     Managed Learning Environment for teaching and learning.
     Effective Learning Centre which provides specific study skills support and guidance.
     Student e-mail and Web access facilities.
     Learning Services Department which provides student assistance and guidance.
     Student Staff Consultative Group.
     Student representatives on Programme Board.
     Student representatives on School Board.
     Student representatives on the Student Representative Council.
     Student representatives on Senate and its Standing Committees.
     PDP Adviser.

For the Dissertation:
     Dissertation Co-ordinator.
     Dissertation Study guide.
     Academic Supervisor.




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                             MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


6     CRITERIA FOR ADMISSION

Entry Requirements
The admission of applicants to the Actuarial Science programme is based upon the expectation that
they will be able to achieve the objectives and standards of the programme and will thereby benefit
from it. The Programme Development Board has produced an Admissions Criteria Profile specified
below.

Applicants to the Actuarial Science programme should normally possess one of the following:

     A good Honours degree or above from a UK University or equivalent in Mathematics or
      Mathematical Statistics or cognate discipline.
     A good Honours degree in any discipline which has substantial Mathematics or Mathematical
      Statistics content. Applicants in this category must have the prerequisites required for the
      programme modules. Such candidates will be expected to be able to demonstrate a level of
      previous experience and capability which is broadly comparable to that attained from an
      Honours degree in the Mathematics or Mathematical Statistics subject area.
     Substantial experience in an appropriate industry, business or commerce and supporting
      evidence of an ability to undertake a programme of study at postgraduate level.


International Students
International students whose first language is not English shall normally be required to demonstrate
evidence of satisfactory competence in English by holding one of the following recognised
qualifications:

     IELTS test with a score of 6.0.
     TOEFL with a minimum score of 550.
     Computer based test in English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of
      213.


Non-traditional Access Policy - Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
Candidates who do not fall into the above category may still be admitted to the programme if they
can satisfy the Programme Board of a sufficient level of expertise. The University’s processes for
Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) and Accreditation of Prior Experiential
Learning (APEL) will be used to assess the candidate’s claim to entry. This will normally be done
by having formal and/or other prior learning assessed through a portfolio as providing an
equivalence to an Honours Degree and showing relevance to the Actuarial Science programme.

Candidates may be granted entry with advanced standing, if they can demonstrate equivalence to
the learning outcomes of a module. Advanced standing will be granted by allowing exemptions
from relevant modules. The current University APCL and APEL guidelines will be adopted for this
process and these limit advanced standing to 50% of the credits associated with an award.


Equal Opportunities
The University will seek at all times equality of opportunity for all applicants and seeks not to
discriminate on any grounds irrelevant to the above general principle of admission.



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                              MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification



Applicants with a disability
All applicants for admission to the Actuarial Science programme who reveal a disability will be
invited to a meeting with the Admissions Tutor and/or University Disability Adviser in order that
the specific needs of the applicant can be assessed. This is not part of the selection process but
students may be advised at this stage if the nature of their disability means that they might be unable
to fulfil the academic or professional requirements of the programme. Equally it may not be
possible for the University to make reasonable adaptations to enable an applicant to undertake a
particular programme. Should this be the case, the University will respond positively and advice on
alternative programmes and options will be offered.




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                            MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


7     METHODS FOR EVALUATING AND IMPROVING THE QUALITY
      AND STANDARDS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING

Mechanisms for review and evaluation of teaching, learning, assessment, the curriculum and
outcome standards:
    Module review.
    Annual module monitoring.
    Development events and Internal subject reviews.
    Annual Programme Analysis.
    External Assessor reports.
    Academic Units.
    Programme Board.
    Professional and Statutory Body recognition.
    Academic strategy review and development by School Academic Planning and Monitoring
     Committee.
    School developed quality procedures for moderation of assessment instruments.
    External scrutiny of assessment instruments.

Committees with responsibility for monitoring and evaluating quality and standards:
  Programme Board.
  School Module Management Committee.
  School Academic Quality and Standards Committee.
  University Academic Quality and Standards Committee.
  Assessment Board.
  University Learning and Teaching Committee.

Mechanisms for gaining student feedback on the quality of teaching and their learning
experience:
    Student Staff Consultative Group.
    Student representatives on Programme Board.
    Student representatives on School Board.
    Student representatives on Senate and its Standing Committees.
    Student Affairs counsellor.
    University’s Module Evaluation Questionnaire.
    Module Leaders and Programme Organiser.

Staff development priorities include:
     Staff Development and Performance Review scheme.
     Seminar programme with visiting speakers.
     Conference presentations.
     Research Assessment Exercise submission.
     School learning, teaching and assessment workshops.
     Membership of the HE Academy.
     Membership of Professional and Statutory Bodies.




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                                    MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


8      ASSESSMENT REGULATIONS

Assessment Regulations
    A copy of the full University Regulations is available from the University web site.
    The pass mark for each module is 40%.1


Final Award Credit Points
     To qualify for the PgC in Higher Education exit award, a student must complete sufficient
      subject modules, excluding the Dissertation module, to achieve 60 credit points with at least
      40 credits at SHEM and have passed the GCU Certificate in Basic ICT Competency.
     To qualify for the PgD in Actuarial Science award, a student must complete sufficient subject
      modules, excluding the Dissertation module, to achieve 120 credit points with at least 90
      credits at SHEM and have passed the GCU Certificate in Basic ICT Competency.
     To qualify for the MSc in Actuarial Science award, a student must complete sufficient subject
      modules, including the Dissertation module, to achieve 180 credit points with at least 150
      credits at SHEM and have passed the GCU Certificate in Basic ICT Competency.


Regulations for Distinction
The Actuarial Science programme complies with the University’s Postgraduate Assessment
Regulations in respect of the award of Distinction.


Role of External Assessor
External Assessors are appointed to Assessment Boards by the School of Computing and
Mathematical Sciences School Board. The duties of an External Assessor include the following:
    To moderate the module assessments for modules within their jurisdiction.
    To attend Assessment Boards at which module results and programme awards will be
     considered.
    To be satisfied that the work and decisions of Assessment Boards are consistent with the
     policies and regulations of the University and best practice in Higher Education.
    To ensure that students are assessed appropriately for modules within their jurisdiction, that
     this takes place within the regulations approved by the University for the programme and to
     inform the University on any matter which, in their view, militates against the maintenance of
     proper academic standards.
    To report annually to the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences’ Academic
     Planning and Monitoring Committee on the standards attained by the students on the
     programme and on any other matters which may seem appropriate for report.




1
  This pass mark reflects University requirements. It should be noted the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries are at liberty
to set the pass level for exemption.

September 11                                                                                                       page 12
                            MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


9     INDICATORS OF QUALITY AND STANDARDS

Internal Indicators
    School Module Management Committee annual report on module performance.
    Annual Programme Analysis.
    Periodic subject/programme reviews as specified in the University Handbook of Procedures
     for Academic Quality Assurance.
    Prizes awarded by the School for outstanding performance.


External Indicators
    Quality Assurance Agency subject reviews.
    External Assessor reports.
    Approved programme accreditation from associated Professional and Statutory Bodies.




September 11                                                                               page 13
                             MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


10 INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROGRAMME

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the
learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if
he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed
information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of
each module can be found in the sources listed below. The accuracy of the information in this
document is reviewed by the University and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency for
Higher Education.


Key information about the programme can be found in:

Programme publicity material.
Programme Specification documents.
Programme Approval document.
Student Handbook.
Dissertation Guide.
School web site.
University Module Catalogue.
University Prospectus.
University web site.




September 11                                                                                page 14
                                                                                    MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


Curriculum Map for MSc/PgD Actuarial Science                                                                                                                                                          PSMAP
The curriculum map links the modules (Section 4) to the Learning Outcomes listed in Section 3.
          Title                     Code    A1 A2 A3 A4 A5             B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6             C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7                D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9               D10   D11   E1 E2   E3 E4
          Financial Mathematics     MATM563 X X X X                    X X X       X                 X X X X X X                         X X X X X X X                            X     X
          Foundation Economics
  Sem A




          for Actuaries             ECOEM19                   X                      X   X    X                                          X   X    X   X       X   X   X   X   X   X     X
          Probability and
          Mathematical Statistics   MATM566 X    X        X            X    X            X           X    X        X                     X   X    X   X       X   X   X   X   X   X     X

          Contingencies             MATM562 X    X   X    X            X    X   X        X           X    X   X    X   X    X   X        X   X    X   X       X   X   X   X       X     X
  Sem B




          Models                    MATM565 X    X   X    X            X    X   X        X           X    X   X    X   X    X   X        X   X    X   X       X   X   X   X       X     X
          Elective Module                   X    X   X    X            X    X   X                    X    X        X            X        X   X    X   X       X   X   X   X   X   X     X

          Dissertation              MATM568 X    X   X    X            X    X   X    X   X    X      X    X   X    X        X   X        X   X    X   X       X   X   X   X   X   X     X     X   X   X   X

Knowledge and Understanding
A1    Critically assess the theoretical and practical basis of mathematical and statistical methods constituting the actuarial scientific method.
A2    Construct solution methods and judge their practicality for problems within the fields of Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics.
A3    Develop competence in the theory, and practical application, of methods of stochastic modelling underpinning Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics.
A4    Formulate and appraise models relating to Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics.
A5    Acquire appropriate knowledge and understanding in essential topics within Economics that address the needs of a working actuary.

Intellectual Skills
B1       Identify, analyse and solve practical actuarial problems using Mathematics.
B2       Plan and conduct actuarial problem solving work.
B3       Evaluate solution strategies and their implementation for practical actuarial problems.
B4       Evaluate critically work undertaken by themselves and others.
B5       Present findings successfully to end users.
B6       Evaluate research material from a variety of sources and evidence critically.

Professional Practical Skills
C1      Build mathematical models of practical actuarial problems.
C2      Extract appropriate problem-focused information by analysing and understanding model output.
C3      Compare and contrast different approaches to actuarial modelling.
C4      Demonstrate effective use of a variety of techniques, and IT tools if appropriate, in the development and analysis of actuarial modelling problems.
C5      Solve practical problems relating to premium assessment and valuation of contracts.
C6      Develop an awareness of the professional requirements, both in attitude and skill, of a working actuary within the financial services industry.
C7      Appreciation of the professional and ethical requirements of working in the financial services industry.




September 11                                                                                                                                                                                                  page 15
                                                                                  MSc Actuarial Science Programme Specification


Transferable/Key Skills
D1     Critical thinking and problem solving.
D2     Cognitive/intellectual skills.
D3     Knowledge and understanding in the context of the subject.
D4     Learning style and orientation to learning.
D5     Time management: organising and planning work.
D6     Independent working.
D7     Planning, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating own learning and development.
D8     Information retrieval skills.
D9     IT skills (including GCU Certificate in Basic ICT Competency).
D10    Communication skills, written, oral and listening.
D11    Numeracy skills.

Dissertation Skills
E1      Gain additional competence in the application of the practical skills of the programme.
E2      Develop an understanding of the practical considerations that affect the application of Mathematics in the actuarial environment.
E3      Communicate and interact effectively in practical problem solving.
E4      Evaluate current practice and relate this to the programme of study undertaken.




September 11                                                                                                                                page 16

				
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