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The ‘it’ course of 2010

The scope in actuarial science is growing and a UK university has plum aid for bright Indians

education Updated: Jan 20, 2010 09:48 IST

Actuarial science is said to be the next big thing in India, thanks to the growth in the insurance and banking sectors. Accordingly, the University of Southampton is reaching out to Indian students for its second batch of the actuarial science programme, starting in September 2010.

Dr Sujit Saha, a leading statistician at the Statistical Sciences Research Institute, University of Southampton, UK, speaks to HT Horizons about what this course has to offer.

How many Indian students do you expect in the second batch of PG diploma in actuarial science?
A number of them have applied so far for entry in October 2010. To date, we have offered places to a couple of them.

What is the programme fee?
The fee for the PG diploma course is £9,660. There is an extra £3,000 for the summer research dissertation, if the student completes the PG diploma and then progresses to MSc. Fees rise slightly each year with inflation.

What is the deadline for applying?
For the October 2010 session, students can apply anytime on www.soton. The admission criteria are an upper second class or high honours degree, or equivalent, in a quantitative subject (mathematics, statistics, economics etc); and IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with at least six in each component. Any Indian student with a first class accepted for the PG diploma/MSc will receive a £,3000 scholarship.

How is the programme different from actuarial science courses offered in India?
The Southampton programme allows students to gain exemption from CT1-CT8 of the Core Technical series of examinations of the UK Institute of Actuaries, and such credits under the UK system are recognised as equivalent under the Institute of Actuaries of India system. There are only a few undergraduate and postgraduate actuarial science courses in India, and none of those can provide all eight exemptions.

Is there a research programme in actuarial science, too?
Students continuing beyond the PG diploma may complete MSc by undertaking a three-month summer research project and submitting a corresponding dissertation. Actuarial staff members are engaged in actuarial science research, in the areas of pensions and risk theory, and engage with the UK profession through the CMI (Continuous Mortality Investigation Bureau).

The university has installed a supercomputer that can solve 74 trillion calculations per second. Will it help research scholars?
Supercomputers are ideal tools to model large and complex data sets, of the type that typically arise in practical actuarial and statistical modelling of life and non-life insurance business. Therefore, they are invaluable tools in developing and refining detailed models of such business.