Introduction to Actuarial Science - MAT00020I

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  • Department: Mathematics
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Tomasz Zastawniak
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

The module aims to present the basic notions and facts underlying Actuarial Science, thereby providing a foundation for further study of Actuarial Science.

Module learning outcomes

After successful completion of the module students are able to

• Describe some basic financial fixed income instruments;

• Explain the use of compound interest and discounting in determining the time value of money;

• Apply discounted cash flow techniques for investment project appraisal;

• Analyse some commonly used derivative instruments;

• Describe and analyse the term structure of interest rates.

Module content


  1. Cash flows, including a zero coupon bond, fixed interest security, index-linked security, cash on deposit, equity, “interest only” loan, repayment loan or mortgage, and an annuity certain.
  2. The time value of money and the concepts of compound interest and discounting.
  3. Interest rates and compounding methods.
  4. Real versus money interest rates.
  5. Present and accumulated value if a stream of payments.
  6. Compound interest functions and the relationships between them.
  7. Equation of value.
  8. Loan repayment by regular instalments of interest and capital.
  9. Discounted cash flow techniques and their use in investment project appraisal.
  10. Investment and risk characteristics of assets available for investment purposes, including: fixed-interest government borrowings, fixed-interest borrowing by other bodies, shares and other equity-type finance, derivatives.
  11. Analysing elementary compound interest problems.
  12. Forward contracts, forward price and the value of a forward contract.
  13. Term structure of interest rates (par yield, yield to maturity, spot rates and forward rates).
  14. Duration and convexity of a cash flow sequence; portfolio immunisation.
  15. Discrete time stochastic interest rate models.


Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Introduction to Actuarial Science
3 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Introduction to Actuarial Science
3 hours 100

Module feedback

Current Department policy on feedback is available in the undergraduate student handbook. Coursework and examinations will be marked and returned in accordance with this policy.

Indicative reading

  • Actuarial mathematics. Bowers, N. L.; Gerber, H. U.; Hickman, J, C. et al. 2nd ed., Society of Actuaries, 1997. ISBN: 9780938959465.
  • An introduction to the mathematics of finance. McCutcheon, J. J.; Scott, W. F. Heinemann, 1986. ISBN: 9780434912285.
  • Mathematics of compound interest. Butcher, M. V.; Nesbitt, C. J. Ulrich's Books, 1971. ISBN: 9780960300013.
  • Theory of financial decision making. Ingersoll, J. E. Rowman & Littlefield, 1987. ISBN: 9780847673599.
  • The theory of interest. Kellison, S. G. 3rd ed. Irwin, 2008. ISBN: 9780073382449.
  • Life insurance mathematics. Gerber, H. U. 3rd ed. Springer; Swiss Association of Actuaries, 1997. ISBN: 9783540622420.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.