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Research Route

You can undertake some original research as an alternative to taking one of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' (IFoA's) Specialist Applications exams.

Your research must involve an actuarial approach to problem solving, and make an original contribution to actuarial science. The dissertation must demonstrate how the work links to relevant actuarial knowledge.

The research is expected to be of the level of MPhil or research degree and is likely to require at least two years of part-time study.

How do I apply?

You must have achieved passes in the following subjects from the former curriculum: CT1-8, CA1, CA3 and 1 ST subject before you will be accepted for the SA0 route. In the new curriculum this corresponds to passes in: CS1, CS2, CM1, CM2, CB1, CB2, CP1, CP3 and 1 SP subject. 

You need to send in a project proposal and a plan of work for a piece of original research on an actuarial topic which meets the criteria for SA0 projects discussed on this page.

The fee for SA0 is £1,340.

How does the process work?

This type of alternative assessment is resource intensive so a Board of Examiners Sub-committee will decide how many projects of this nature they can allow at any one time.

Preference will be given to projects in areas where no alternative examination is available. If your project proposal is approved we will appoint supervisors to oversee your work.

Once you have completed your dissertation we will discuss it with you, your supervisors and an independent external examiner at a viva exam. The assessment will result in one of the following:

  • pass
  • pass with minor modifications
  • re-submit after further work
  • fail.

There are key differences between this type of research project and one used to gain exemption from the Specialist Technical Subjects

  • The IFoA must be involved from the start, and agree the objectives of the research.
  • The project will test higher order skills, and have a greater length and depth of work.

Your work should be of a standard to pass peer review. This standard is one suitable for publication in refereed journals, although it is understood that some projects will be commercially sensitive.

Communication of your results will be important as well as the actuarial study. Your dissertation must contain an abstract and is likely to contain most of the following elements:

  • statement of the problem
  • literature review
  • data collection
  • analysis
  • conclusions and recommendations
  • non-technical communication of conclusions.

Contact Details

Education Services Team

education.services@actuaries.org.uk

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 1st Floor, Park Central, 40/41 Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1JD

+44 01865 268207

We aim to respond to all enquiries within two working days.

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Events calendar

  • ARC Event on Periodical Payment Orders

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ
    20 February 2019

    Few spaces available

    The IFoA’s Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) is convening a research event on the subject of Periodical Payment Orders (PPOs) in late February 2019.

  • IFRS17 Workshop, 21 February

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    21 February 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA Logo for EventsThe Life Board and Life Lifelong Learning Sub-committee are running this half-day workshop on IFRS 17.

    They will provide a detailed understanding of the key concepts of the standard, as well as discuss how implementation will impact people, process and systems.  They will also share views on how the new standard will change the way insurers are viewed in the market, and share perspectives from within and outside of the profession.

     

  • Data Science: Opportunities for Actuaries

    The IFoA's first virtual event   
    26 February 2019 - 28 February 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA are launching their first virtual conference on the topic of Data Science, that is free to attend. This is an exciting and forward thinking move to reach members all over the world and to share knowledge and discuss developments and techniques within data science.

  • Leicester Actuarial Science Society presents the 5th Annual Worshipful Company of Actuaries Lecture

    The University of Leicester, Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 3 (see map and directions)
    27 February 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA President-Elect, John Taylor will discuss his work on 'robo advice' and the implications of technology for the future of the profession, but also his thoughts about the immediate priorities for the actuarial profession based on his first year with the Presidential Team. 

    The Worshipful Company of Actuaries will also be explaining their work and presenting two prizes: one each to the best performing 2nd year and 3rd year BSc Mathematics and Actuarial Science student at the University during the session.

  • ARC: ERM Results Launch Event

    Staple inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    28 February 2019

    Fully booked.

     

    This event is now full. We do operate a waiting system for this event should there become availability, which you can register for here and be added to the waitlist. We will email everyone on the waiting list nearer the time to confirm whether there is availability for them to attend.

     

  • SIAS Event: Challenges and Opportunities for Actuaries Working in Data Science

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    4 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This talk will present examples of the use of data science in the General Insurance and Health and Care practice areas. It will highlight some of the opportunities and challenges for actuaries in using the latest data science techniques in these fields.

    1. Lisa Balboa will present on using predictive analytics to improve health care forecasting.
    2. Alexander Hanks will present a practical example of training a neural network to fit curves to general insurance claims data.
  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2018 - London

    Ect Venues, 200 Aldersgate, St. Pauls, London EC1A 4HD
    5 March 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA event AllThis event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2018 held in Liverpool. The Conference Committee has reviewed session feedback and has put together a high-quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2018.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • Life and F&I One Day Workshop

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    11 March 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA Event Logo AllThis cross-practice event for Life actuaries and those in finance and investments roles offers high-quality CPD with a series of thought-provoking presentations covering economics and financial markets, responsible investment, CMA review outcome, FCA requirements, asset analytics, and much more.

  • Spring Lecture 2019, Edinburgh - Sir John Curtice

    Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    13 March 2019

    Fully booked.

    In conjunction with the Scottish BoardEdinburgh is now full. However, you can still register here to view the event live online, allowing those who cannot attend in person to stream the lecture to their computer, laptop, tablet, and phones wherever they are in the world. 
    We do operate a waiting system for each of the Edinburgh and London venues should there be availability, which you can register for here and be added to the waitlist. We will email everyone on the waiting list nearer the time to confirm whether there is availability for them to attend.
  • Spring Lecture 2019, Live stream at Staple Inn - Professor Sir John Curtice

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    13 March 2019

    Fully booked.

     
    In conjunction with the Scottish BoardFollowing the popularity of this year’s Spring Lecture, delivered by Professor Sir John Curtice, an additional venue has been sourced for Members to attend a London Livestream event at the Lloyd's building. Please register here. Alternatively, you can still register here  to view the event live online, allowing those who cannot attend in person to stream the lecture to their computer, laptop, tablet, and phones wherever they are in the world. 
     
  • Sessional Meeting: Investment risk for long term investors - risk measurement approaches

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 March 2019

    Spaces available

    The term ‘investment risk’ is often used loosely, and frequently confused with the notion of short term price volatility, particularly for equity instruments. For the long term investor, however, what is most apposite is the ability to meet future real cash flows as they become due.

  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2018 - Edinburgh

    Apex Grassmarket Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS
    19 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2018 held in Liverpool. The Conference Committee has reviewed session feedback and has put together a high-quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2018.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • KSS event - FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    Barnett Waddingham 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
    20 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (26 March 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    26 March 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (16 April 19)

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    16 April 2019

    Fully booked.

    Please register here to join the wait list

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • TIGI 2019 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4LE
    25-26 April 2019
    Spaces available

    This General Insurance CPD offering has been changed from former years of individual one day seminars to include individual sessions for IFRS 17, Pricing, Capital Modelling and Reserving over a two-day event  packaged as Technical Issues in General Insurance, providing attendees with a varied program . The event is suitable for anyone who works, or are interested, in these areas.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (30 April 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    30 April 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2019, Chengdu

    Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, Poly Park 198, No. 1980 ShuLong Avenue,Xindu District, Chengdu
    09-10 May 2019
    Spaces available

    IfoA Logo for eventsOffering a diverse selection of plenary sessions and cross-practice workshops, the annual Asia Conference is the perfect opportunity to discover and discuss current and developing actuarial topics in Asia, whilst providing excellent opportunity to grow your network of contacts.

  • CILA 2019

    30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual Life calendar. It is aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries. It will also be of interest to all those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • Risk and Investment one day Conference 2019

    Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, Strand, London WC2N 5HX
    20-21 May 2019
    Spaces available

    This year's Risk and Investment Conference will be taking place at Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London.

    To book your place click here.

     

  • Sessional Research Event - Saving for Retirement: Rules of Thumb

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    20 May 2019

    Spaces available

    How much does the average person need to save over a full working life to provide a decent retirement income? We call this the Lifetime Pension Contribution (LPC) and have attempted to quantify it.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (12 June 19)

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    12 June 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • NED Event: Behavioural Finance and Boards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Substantial work has been undertaken in the field of behavioural finance to explore the psychological factors affecting investment decisions made by individuals.  In contrast, “behavioural” factors (such as politics or human psychology) affecting decisions and actions made by institutional investors, such as insurers or pension schemes, are less understood.

  • Pensions Conference 2019

    Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre, 2 Lower Castle Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS1 3AD
    18-19 June 2019
    Spaces available

    This year's Pensions Conference will be taking place at the Bristol Marriott City Centre.

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI will provide an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers, each providing their insight and knowledge on a range of topics.  The programme will be broad in nature, so will be of most value to those with some experience in the industry. 

  • Professional Skills Training - London (25 June 19)

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    25 June 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.