B.Comm (Actuarial Science)

University of Stellenbosch

Actuarial Programme

1. What are Actuaries?


Actuaries have been described as being:

  • Acknowledged experts in the analysis and modelling of situations involving financial risk and contingent events.
  • Directly concerned with asset and liability management and associated risks – in other words with both sides of the balance sheet.
  • Professionals who are respected, trusted and admired, and who are independent in outlook.
  • Highly practical, innovative, versatile and numerate.
  • Able to provide realistic solutions to complex problems and with a long term forward looking outlook on issues.
  • Good communicators who can explain actuarial methodology and conclusions to others and contribute both technically and managerially to multi-disciplinary teams.


2. How to become an Actuary


To become an actuary (a Fellow member of the Actuarial Society of South Africa – an internationally-recognised qualification) you currently need to pass the following set of examinations (the course codes in brackets indicate the equivalent subject required by the Faculty & Institute of Actuaries (UK)):


Part A1 (Foundation Technical)

A101     (CT3)          Probability and Mathematical Statistics

A102     (CT7)          Economics

A103     (CT2)          Finance and Financial Reporting


Part A2 (Intermediate Technical)

A201     (CT1)          Financial Mathematics

A202     (CT4)          Models

A203     (CT5)          Contingencies   

A204     (CT6)          Statistical Methods       

A205     (CT8)          Financial Economics


Part A3 (Core Principles)

A301     (CA1)          Actuarial Risk Management

A302     (CA3)          Communications


Part F1 (Fellowship Principles) – Any two subjects from:

F101     (ST1)          Health and Care Principles

F102     (ST2)          Life Insurance Principles

F103     (ST3)          General Insurance Principles

F104     (ST4)          Pension and Other Benefits Principles

F105     (ST5)          Finance and Investment Principles

F106     (ST9)          Enterprise Risk Management

Part F2 (Fellowship Applications)

Any one subject from:

F200     (SA0)          Research Option

F201     (SA1)          Health and Care Applications

F202     (SA2)          Life Insurance Applications        

F203     (SA3)          General Insurance Applications

F204     (SA4)          Pension and Other Benefits Applications

F205     (SA6)          Investment Applications

Plus any one subject from:

F211     (P1)            Health and Care Practice Module

F212     (P2)            Life Insurance Practice Module

F213     (P3)            General Insurance Practice Module

F214     (P4)            Pension and Other Benefits Practice Module

F215     (P6)            Investment Practice Module


Part F3 (Fellowship Professionalism Skills)

A401     (CT9)          Business Awareness Module (a two-day course)

A402     (CA2)          Model Documentation, Analysis and Reporting (a two-day course)

F303                       Fellowship Work-based Skills (completed as one builds up suitable work-based experience)

F304                       Fellowship Professionalism Course (a two-day course)


3. University of Stellenbosch Actuarial Programme


The B.Comm. (Actuarial Science) degree is structured as follows:


First Year:

·         Actuarial Science 112 and 142

·         Economics 114 and 144

·         Financial Accounting 188

·         Business Management 113 and 142

·         Industrial Psychology 112

·         Probability Theory and Statistics 144

·         Mathematics 114 and 144

Plus one of:

·         Information Systems 112 (6 credits), or

·         Computer Science 114 (16 credits) (for computer enthusiasts)


Second Year:

·         Actuarial Science 242 and 274

·         Mathematical Statistics 214 and 244

·         Mathematics 214 and 244

·         Financial Risk Management 212

Plus at least 24 credits from:

·         Financial Risk Management 242 (8 credits)

·         Economics 214 (16 credits), 244 (16 credits)


Third Year:

·         Actuarial Science 326, 346 and 388

·         Mathematical Statistics 318, 344 and 364


Classes in the Actuarial Science modules may be in Afrikaans or English. However the notes, tests and examinations will be in English (for exemption purposes). The relevant departments determine the languages of lectures, notes, tests and examinations for the other modules in the degree.


4. Admission Requirements


Actuarial Science is an extremely demanding field of study and only very dedicated and capable students are likely to succeed. As a result the minimum entrance requirements for the B.Comm. (Actuarial Science) degree are more stringent than those of most other programmes, namely:


  • National Senior Certificate (NSC) with at least a 4 (50%) in four NSC university admission subjects
  • An aggregate of at least 70% for the NSC
  • An average of at least 50% in the University’s Access Tests and the NSC average (calculated on a 40:60 ratio)
  • English (Home Language) and Afrikaans (1st additional language) at least a 5 (60%), or Afrikaans (Home Language) and English (1st additional language) at least a 5 (60%)
  • Mathematics at least a 7 (80%)


It should be noted that the average first year student in the programme typically has a mark of 90% for Grade 12 mathematics and a 90% overall aggregate for the NSC examinations.


5. Obtaining Exemptions from the Profession’s Examinations


Our actuarial programme is structured in such a way that you can obtain exemption from the ten Part A1, A2 & A3 subjects of the profession’s examinations in your B.Comm. (Actuarial Science) and B.Comm.(Honours) degrees.


To be recommended for an exemption for any given subject you need to achieve an appropriate mark in the corresponding university course(s) as outlined below:


Actuarial Society subject                     Corresponding University Module(s)

            A101                                         Probability Theory and Statistics 144,

                                                            Mathematical Statistics 214 and 244

            A102                                         Economics 114 and 144

            A103                                         Financial Accounting 188 and

                                                            Financial Risk Management 212

            A201                                         Actuarial Science 274

            A202                                         Actuarial Science 326 and

                                                            Mathematical Statistics 344

            A203                                         Actuarial Science 388

            A204                                         Actuarial Science 346 and

                                                            Mathematical Statistics 364

            A205                                         Module in B.Comm.(Honours)

            A301                                         Module in B.Comm.(Honours)

            A302                                         Module in B.Comm.(Honours)


The University only recommends exemptions to the Actuarial Society of South Africa once the student has completed his/her degree.


Exemptions from subjects in Part F1 can be obtained as part of a Postgraduate Diploma or Master’s degree.


6. Bursaries


Students can contact the Bursaries and Loan Department of the University at 

+27 (0)21 808-4627.


Students may also wish to contact the large life insurance companies to discuss the possibility of obtaining bursaries from them. Companies that could be contacted in this regard include:


Old Mutual, P O Box 66, Cape Town 8000

Sanlam, P O Box 1, Sanlamhof 7532

Liberty Life, P O Box 10499, Johannesburg 2000

Metropolitan Life, P O Box 93, Cape Town 8000


7. Further Information


For more information on the Actuarial programme of the University of Stellenbosch please e-mail actuarial@sun.ac.za or contact:

·         Secretary, Ms LA Rhode lrhode@sun.ac.za (Tel: +27 (0)21 808-3952)


For information on the university registration process please contact:

·         Ms. N Daniels at ndamiels@sun.ac.za (Tel: +27 (0)21 808-4837)


Students may wish to “job shadow” with an actuary to find out more about the actuarial profession. Students can contact the companies using actuaries directly to find out whether such opportunities exist.


For more information on an actuarial career visit the websites of:

·         The Actuarial Society of South Africa at www.actuarialsociety.org.za and

·         The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries  at  www.actuaries.org.uk


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