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FAQ - Prospective Students

  • 1. What is the difference between Actuarial Science and Quantitative Finance?

    In industry, those with quantitative finance specialisations tend to work more with assets and often become quantitative analysts at investment banks. At the same time, actuaries are more concerned with the liabilities and the relationship between the assets and the liabilities.

    In terms of the degrees, the first two years of both undergraduate programmes are the same. From the third year, this changes as quantitative finance students have three courses focussed on assets while actuarial students have three courses focussed on liabilities.

  • 2. What is the difference between BCom and BBusSc?

    The BBusSc in Actuarial Science is a four-year degree which includes an equivalent to the Honours degree in the fourth year of study. It comprises the actuarial science subjects as well as business or management courses with a focus on broader business-related issues.

    The BCom in Actuarial Science is a three-year degree comprised of the courses essential for actuarial studies. The Section of Actuarial Science recommends that students who do the BCom subsequently complete the one-year BCom Honours in Actuarial Science. Both the BCom and BBusSc cover the courses relevant to the actuarial profession. However, BCom degree does not cover some of the business-related topics included in the BBusSc.

  • 3. How many exemptions can I get?

    Students doing a BBusSc in Actuarial Science can attain up to 10 exemptions. Those doing the BCom in Actuarial Science can achieve seven exemptions and can then earn a further three exemptions during the BCom Honours in Actuarial Science.

    Students in the Quantitative Finance programmes can still qualify for some exemptions, but the degree is not designed as an actuarial path, so those exemptions are limited. Students studying a different degree at UCT but completing subjects linked to exemptions can still apply for exemptions, and we will support that application.

  • 4. What is the Actuarial Science Conversion Course?

    The Advanced Diploma in Actuarial Science (also known as the Actuarial Conversion Course) is an intensive programme designed to provide high calibre graduates from other disciplines an accelerated entry into an Actuarial Science career.

    The course is run over 1 or 2 years depending on how many subjects the student needs to complete, which varies according to the actuarial subjects or exemptions they already have from another degree, or ASSA. A student completing the Actuarial Conversion Course can attain exemptions equivalent to those of a student who has completed a BCom in Actuarial Science and may apply to do the BCom Honours in Actuarial Science.

  • 5. What are the requirements for the Actuarial Science Conversion Course?

    The minimum requirements are a first-class undergraduate degree in Mathematics or Statistics at a recognised university with a minimum of two years of Mathematics. Candidates must have attained a minimum of 70% for first-year Mathematical Statistics and 60% for second-year Mathematics. 

    Candidates who do not have the required degree but have completed and met the requirements for the Mathematical Statistics course and the Mathematics course will be considered on merit.

  • 6. Can I do the Actuarial Science Conversion Course within a year?

    Yes, provided you have met the requirements. You must have completed second-year Statistics and Financial Mathematics, either through a university or through ASSA.

  • 7. What is the Postgraduate Diploma in Actuarial Science?

    The Postgraduate Diploma in Actuarial Science is aimed at graduates who have completed examinations of the A100 and A200-series of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (AS) or CT-series of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK) and now intend to study the A300, F100 and F200-series of the AS examinations (alternatively CA, ST and SA-series of UK examinations).

  • 8. What are the entry requirements for the Postgraduate Diploma in Actuarial Science?

    Candidates should have an undergraduate degree and have completed examinations of the A100 and A200-series of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (AS) or CT-series of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK). Transcripts and records of actuarial examinations will be required to determine the suitability of the candidate.

  • 9. When do applications close?

    Undergraduate applications are now open and will close on 31 August 2021 for all undergraduate programmes.

  • 10. What are the annual fees?

    The annual fees vary from year to year and are dependent on the courses that a student takes. As there are different options of actuarial degrees to study, there are possibly other fees. You can find the latest fee information in the UCT Student Fees Handbook.

  • 11. How much do textbooks cost?

    Fees are typically not inclusive of textbook costs. For some courses, students are provided with course notes (printed by UCT), and for others, students are required to purchase the notes and textbooks. This varies from faculty to faculty and from course to course. As actuarial degrees are made up of several courses taught by different departments (for example Statistics, Mathematics, Management Studies etc.), and the required material for these courses changes from year to year, it is very tough to project what the cost of future materials will be. There is also an active second-hand market amongst students for all course materials.
  • 12. Are the lectures in English?

    Lectures are given in English.

  • 13. What living arrangements are recommended for actuarial students?

    The living arrangements of actuarial students varies greatly, with many students staying in university residences, but some opting for communes or other private arrangements. Either option has its benefits since students staying in the same place and studying the same degree can benefit from working in groups, while students staying alone may have the benefit of a quieter working environment.
  • 14. Where can I find a list of the subjects that make up the degree?

    For information on the programmes and courses please consult the Commerce Undergraduate and Postgraduate Handbooks.

  • 15. Are there scholarships/bursaries one could apply for and where?

    There are indeed scholarships awarded by the university, of which some are based on academic performance and other based on financial need. Some insurers and other companies also offer bursaries to actuarial students. Please consult the UCT website for more information on undergraduate funding.