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Actuarial Science

Study programme

In the BSc Actuarial Science we train you to quantify risk by using mathematics, probability and statistics. How likely is it that a factory will burn down? What would be the financial damage if that were to unexpectedly happen? What is the likelihood of you living to 110 so that your pension fund has to pay out for 45 years? As an actuary or risk manager you analyse data, make calculations and make a decision or recommendation.

The programme

The first 2 academic years of the BSc Actuarial Science are in common with the Bachelor's programme in Econometrics. 

  • Year 1: develop a solid foundation

    This year is all about your basic knowledge of mathematics, statistics and economics. During the courses:

    • you will get acquainted with the quantitative economics programmes: Actuarial Science, and Econometrics. 
    • you will examine case studies and complete assignments on the computer. 
    • you will learn to work with advanced mathematical and statistical software such as R.
  • Year 2: extend your foundation

    The 2nd year enhances your mathematical, statistical and research skills. You will start to apply these tools to econometrics and data science. You will execute your first ever research project. Also, you will take mandatory courses like Risk Theory and Life Insurance Mathematics.

  • Year 3: analyse and solve problems

    The 1st semester of this year is all yours to construct: take electives, follow a minor, or study abroad. In the 2nd semester, you will become more and more familiar with the process of mathematically translating and clarifying the financial and economic risk-management problems faced by insurers, financial institutions and government bodies. And of course, you will be writing your BSc thesis. 

  • Thesis

    Are you enthusiastic about a new development or idea in Actuarial Science? Wile writing your thesis, you have the chance to explore it fully while simultaneously training your ability to independently conduct and communicate relevant research. Your thesis is the final requirement to be completed for your graduation.

Do you have any questions about this Bachelor's?

Would you like to know what studying Actuarial Science at the UvA is like? Or do you have any other questions for our students?

'I love to explain why something is the way it is'
'Insurance, pensions and banks are things everyone has to deal with and everyone has an opinion about. I love being able to give background information about current events, explain why something is the way it is and reflect on difficult issues such as pension cuts.'
Daniëlle Ruiter, student BSc Actuarial Science

Interactive Online Learning at UvA Economics and Business

During your Bachelor’s, you will experience an inspiring combination of both offline and online education. We work with a blended learning teaching method. By applying this method, you will be able to combine different types of learning into 1 approach and enjoy mastering knowledge at your own pace. During class there will be more time for in-depth analyses and interaction with your lecturer and peers.

Types of education
In this programme, you will find that in your education there’s a balance between innovative teaching methods and traditional forms. Writing an academic paper can be alternated by an online challenge. A peer-feedback assignments or a video recording with explanation can also be part of the teaching method.

Our Centre for Educational Innovation and our Teaching and Learning Centre are continuously working on improving our teaching methods. We take the interactions between students, teachers, and learning resources into account. In doing so, we hope to offer you the right combination of challenging, effective, and efficient education.

What does online education look like at the moment?

In general, education activities for all students are currently online. We organise several activities so you can meet your fellow students and feel at home at the university. It goes without saying that we cannot predict what the situation will be like when the new academic year starts in September 2021. In any case, if necessary, we are prepared to offer students interactive online education in a variety of formats, along with a wide range of social activities.

Your study week

Expanding your knowledge and at the same time developing your skills is key. That is why you will participate in a variety of teaching activities. Most of the courses are evaluated with one or more tests. This is usually a written examination, but it can also be an essay, a report, or a presentation.

  • Lectures (8 hours)

    Lectures give an introductory overview into the course content. You will attend them together with your fellow students. You take notes and have the opportunity to ask questions.

    Also, you can expect guest lectures from experts working in a wide range of economic organisations and fields.

  • Tutorials (6 hours)

    During seminars you will discuss specific subjects from the lectures in small groups. Exercises and practice assignments will help you to become adept with the theory. 

  • Practicals (2 hours)

    During practicals you learn how to work with various mathematical and statistical computer programmes. 

  • Self-study (20 hours)

    During your study week, you spend time to study theory, go over lectures and seminars, and prepare for exams and presentations. 

Real-life case: do bad drivers pay more insurance premium?
If you take out a car insurance policy, the insurance company agrees to help pay for the repair in case of an accident. For this you pay a fixed amount (premium) to the insurance company. But how does an insurance company determine the height of the premium? Should every driver be charged the same amount, or should more ‘risky’ drivers pay more? If so, how can we rate drivers in terms of riskiness? Does age or gender matter? And their history of previous insurance claims? Or the age and model of the car? Learn how to answer these questions (and more) using empirical data, sophisticated statistical models, and programming and data processing skills.
Real-life case: do bad drivers pay more insurance premium?