6729 BSc in Actuarial Science

6729 BSc in Actuarial Science

What is an Actuary?

An actuary is a professional who deals with the application of probability and statistical theories to problems in insurance, investment, pensions and financial risk management. The majority of actuaries work for life, health and property/ casualty insurance companies, which heavily rely on actuaries’ judgement to ensure their financial security. Other actuaries work for actuarial consulting firms, offering their expertise on financial services, risk management, health care, pension plans and asset/liability management. Other opportunities are available for actuaries in a variety of industries.

Actuaries work with facts, figures and people to solve business problems. They are not only the statisticians of the insurance industry, but also have broader responsibilities in financial management. They frequently evaluate the past, make use of known changes, interpret expected changes and set future directions to determine insurance premiums and retirement benefits.

Actuaries work in many capacities within businesses, consulting firms, government agencies and universities, and often fill senior managerial roles in insurance companies, even becoming senior officers or company heads. Most importantly, all actuaries must have a strong aptitude for mathematics and the ability to apply actuarial knowledge to a range of financial situations. 

How to become an Actuary?

The Programme

The BSc (Actuarial Science), the only programme of its kind in Hong Kong, provides formal academic and professional training to students who wish to join the actuarial profession with internationally-recognised qualifications. The programme is designed to provide specialist training in actuarial science and prepare students for professional examinations of the (North American) Society of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society and the (UK) Institute and Faculty of Actuaries to Associateship level. The programme has exemption arrangements with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and has obtained Validation by Education Experience (VEE) course approval from the Casualty Actuarial Society, the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries in North America.

Furthermore, the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science was designated as a Centre of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries in December 2011. The designation is awarded for a period of five years to schools which demonstrate excellence in actuarial science through meeting strict criteria in quality of curriculum, number and quality of graduates, qualified faculty, strong ties to business, and beneficial research and scholarship. 

Exchange opportunities are available to students to study at world renowned universities such as Harvard University, Columbia Univeristy, University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Melbourne, University of Nottingham, University of Queensland, University of Toronto, University of Virginia and University of Waterloo. 

Internship Programme

Internship opportunities with major insurers, actuarial consulting firms, reinsurers, investment firms, auditing firms, and management consulting firms are provided.

The programme assists students by advertising part-time/summer/temporary full-time positions, sending to employers resumes of interested students, and assisting students in their preparation for the internships. Recruitment activities normally begin six months or more prior to the expected starting date of a position.

As an intern, the student will gain insight into the challenging world and daily activities of an actuary while increasing his/her technical, analytical and communication skills.

Non-exhaustive list of companies participating in the internship programme:

  • ACE Life Insurance Company
  • American International Assurance (AIA)
  • AXA China Region
  • BOC Group Life Assurance
  • Census and Statistics Department HKSARG
  • Ernst & Young
  • Ageas Insurance
  • HSBC Insurance (Asia-Pacific)
  • ING Life Insurance
  • JP Morgan
  • KPMG
  • Manulife
  • Prudential Assurance
  • PWC
  • RGA Reinsurance
  • Sun Life Hong Kong
  • Swiss Re
  • Towers Watson

Dr Patrick S C Poon Scholarship in Actuarial Science

Dr Patrick S C Poon, member of our Actuarial Science Programme Advisory Board and Distinguished Science Alumnus of the Faculty, kindly pledged his donation for establishing a maximum of 5 scholarships in the BSc (ActuarSc) Programme. The scholarships are awarded annually to freshly-admitted first year students with the most outstanding entrance records, each at HK$50,000 or $60,000 and renewable based on satisfactory performance in each year’s study in the programme. Dr Poon is currently the Chairman of Harvest SCP Group Company Limited.

Student Sharing

2015 BSc (Actuarial Science) graduate
Actuarial Intern at ACE Life Insurance Company Ltd., 2013
Actuarial Intern at Aon Benfield, 2014

"My past four years in HKU Actuarial Science were fruitful and unforgettable. Not only is the curriculum well-structured in a progressive manner but the courses are also taught by distinguished scholars specialised in different areas of Actuarial Science with the most up-to-date pedagogy and research findings. As the actuarial theories are taught with emphases on application, the knowledge I learnt is always useful when I need to tackle problems at work.

Beyond regular classroom learning, I also had chances to learn different practices and the latest developments in the industry through participating in actuarial internships in well-known insurance corporations, attending seminars given by famous actuaries and joining workshops conducted by our experienced alumni.”

Career Prospects

Actuaries’ duties are varied, challenging and so important that they are frequently called the “brains” of the insurance business. Given Hong Kong’s booming insurance industry and the rapid development of the mainland China market, actuaries enjoy very attractive career prospects. Recent graduates hold positions in major insurance and reinsurance companies, actuarial consulting firms, and investment banks, including but not limited to: 

• American International Assurance (AIA)
• AXA Insurance
• BOC Group Life Assurance
• HSBC Life
• Manulife
• Sun Life Financial
• Prudential
• Willis Re
• General Re
• Reinsurance Group of America
• JP Morgan
• Standard Chartered
• Ageas Insurance
• Ernst & Young
• Towers Watson
• Mercer
• Goldman Sachs
• Morgan Stanley
• Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science has introduced a new Career Advising Programme (CAP) to help students pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses in terms of interview/CV writing skills and better prepare students to seize career opportunities readily. Besides one-to-one tailored consultation on CV and cover letter, the CAP will organise other career-related activities, such as career talks, company visits, mentorship programme, etc., to deepen students’ understanding of the industries.

Student Sharing

TSE Hoi Ki Stephanie
2011 BSc (Actuarial Science) graduate
Actuarial Internship at Prudential Corporation Asia & AIA Company Limited, 2010
Publication Secretary of Statistics and Actuarial Science Society SS HKUSU, 2007-2008

"The Actuarial Science Programme has proven to be highly recognised in the industry! During my studies at HKU, I was not only exposed to in-depth academic knowledge including statistical application in economics and finance, the actuarial workshop instructed by current practitioners also provided students great insights into the industry development, enhancing our competence in pursuing internships and graduate jobs.

Outside the classroom were plenty of opportunities for self-elevation. Being an executive committee member of academic society had no doubt enhanced my communication skills and leadership. The 1-year internship also gave me hands-on actuarial experience that enhanced my analytical skills. Thanks to the Actuarial Science Programme for the fruitful experience! ”