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Advanced Diploma in Actuarial Science


The intensive training required before one qualifies as an actuary has in the past meant a long period of study. For many people aspiring to be actuaries, studying through the profession by correspondence often proves to be extremely difficult particularly for those in developing countries. This approach also tends to be prohibitively expensive. As a result, the number of actuaries qualifying each year has historically been low. This is especially true of students whose undergraduate studies were in disciplines other than Actuarial Science.

There are currently some 1200 actuaries practicing in South Africa. Demand for actuarial skills continues to grow owing to their expertise in finding practical solutions to complex financial business problems. Actuaries are uniquely placed in their ability to apply probability and interest rate theory and performing statistical analyses to cost and appraise long-term financial contracts.

In order to assist students in qualifying, the UCT Actuarial Science Section has introduced the Advanced Diploma in Actuarial Science allowing high calibre graduates in Mathematics or Mathematical Statistics accelerated entry into an actuarial career, without the need to complete three years of undergraduate actuarial studies. This will provide suitable candidates with a flying start towards qualifying as actuaries and significantly reduce the time taken to qualify. Successful completion of this programme could lead to exemption from up to seven of the examination papers which a candidate must pass in order to be admitted as a Fellow of either the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) or the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) in the UK.

The Programme

The Programme generally extends over two years of very intensive full-time study (only in exceptional cases could the programme be completed in one year) with lectures running from February to October/November each year. Courses in Statistics‚ Actuarial Mathematics‚ Accounting and Economics will be covered‚ corresponding to Subjects CT1-CT7 of the IFoA or A101-A204 of ASSA.

For the award of the Diploma‚ a candidate will be required to complete courses worth at least 180 credits from the following courses:

Course Code

Course Name

NQF Credits

Prescribed courses:




Markov Processes & Time series



Decision Theory and GLM’s



Advanced Stochastic Processes



Actuarial Science II: Models



Actuarial Science II: Contingencies





Elective courses*:










Financial Reporting IA



Financial Reporting IB



Actuarial Science: Financial Mathematics



Corporate Financial Management



Statistical Theory and Inference



Linear Models


*Depending on the undergraduate degree completed, some or all of these courses may be compulsory as they are pre-requisites for the prescribed courses and are required for exemption purposes. Credit may be awarded for up to one prescribed course and two electives, depending on the undergraduate studies.

Upon successful completion of the Actuarial Conversion Course, and attaining at least six exemptions for subjects from ASSA or the IFoA, the Honours degree in Actuarial Science can be completed to attain further exemptions.


The examinations comprise a three-hour paper for each of the courses. As a general university rule‚ candidates are required to submit assignments regularly and attend tutorial sessions‚ in addition to being continuously assessed through tests. Candidates who do not satisfy these requirements are not permitted to sit the examinations. Exemptions by the IFoA and ASSA are currently being awarded to candidates who obtain at least 60% in the final examination of the corresponding courses.

Entrance Requirement

Ideally‚ candidates should have a good degree in Mathematics and/or Mathematical Statistics with at least two years of pure Mathematics and one year of Mathematical Statistics. As a minimum, 60% is required for Mathematics (Calculus and Algebra) at second year level, and 70% for Mathematical Statistics at first year level. These minimum requirements are non-negotiable. Subjects such as "Mathematics and/or Statistics for Business/Economics" will not be considered. A good degree will generally mean a first class or upper second class pass or equivalent for most subjects‚ at a recognised university. In such cases‚ evidence to show that the candidate has an aptitude for mathematical work will be required. This course will be highly intensive and therefore a candidate's ability to cope with its demand is crucial.


Academic fees for the Diploma course are payable per course taken.
Students may apply for university accommodation. Unfortunately due to the limited number of available places‚ accommodation within the university residences cannot be guaranteed. Private accommodation is however available within reasonable proximity. Residence fees vary depending on type of accommodation.
Postgraduate students are‚ however‚ likely to be offered self-catering residences‚ where the residence fees are on average lower but no meals are offered. (For most of the self-catering residences‚ shops and restaurants are within walking distance.)


Prospective students must apply‚ using the prescribed form. The closing date is October 31. The programme caters for a limited number‚ and applicants will be considered on merit.


Mr. Pieter Botha
Postgraduate Student Advisor
Actuarial Science Section
School of Management Studies
University of Cape Town
Private Bag
Rondebosch. 7700