SunBreezy565
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Hi all,

I've recently received unconditional offers from Southampton to study either Maths or Maths with Actuarial Science and the University of Sussex to study just straight Maths. I have applied to university as I am interested in pursuing a career as either an Actuary or Data Scientist. I am in two different mindsets as to which university I should confirm my place with. I have managed to visit both of the universities and my thoughts are that I slightly prefer the overall feel of Sussex. However, I think that the Maths with Actuarial Science course at Southampton will provide me with more opportunities if I decide to become an Actuary as they offer exemptions towards the professional Actuarial exams. My only slight concern with the course is that I am worried that it will only limit me to just becoming just an Actuary. Does anyone know whether a degree in Maths with Actuarial Science will offer as many career prospects as just a straight Maths degree?

I also know that the Maths with Actuarial Science degree contains a few Economics modules. Having not taken Economics at A-Level I am worried that I may struggle with these modules. Has anyone taken this course that did not do A-level Economics? If so how did you find it? If there is also anyone who has any opinions about the courses or universities I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me a reply.
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username1732491
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If you want to become an actuary then a maths with actuarial sciences degree would be much better. However a maths degree is much more flexible if you want to have much more options.

Going by what you've said, it would make more sense to do maths with actuarial sciences, so that you can go into the job you want to do with ease. I wouldn't worry about the economics modules; if the university deems you qualified enough for the course you should be able to pick it up reasonably quickly. If you're ever unsure about whether you know enough for a module, you can go talk to your professor before the course and ask if they can provide materials in order to get you up to date. I've done this before, professors tend to be more than happy to help out someone who wants to prepare for their course.

I would only suggest doing the general maths degree if you don't have any idea what sort of job you'd like to do when you graduate.
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SunBreezy565
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Thank you for your response this was very helpful. If I made the decision to study Maths with Actuarial Science and then later realize I would rather pursue a career as a Data Scientist. Do you think this degree would limit my chances of getting a job within the Data Science industry?
(Original post by username1732491)
If you want to become an actuary then a maths with actuarial sciences degree would be much better. However a maths degree is much more flexible if you want to have much more options.

Going by what you've said, it would make more sense to do maths with actuarial sciences, so that you can go into the job you want to do with ease. I wouldn't worry about the economics modules; if the university deems you qualified enough for the course you should be able to pick it up reasonably quickly. If you're ever unsure about whether you know enough for a module, you can go talk to your professor before the course and ask if they can provide materials in order to get you up to date. I've done this before, professors tend to be more than happy to help out someone who wants to prepare for their course.

I would only suggest doing the general maths degree if you don't have any idea what sort of job you'd like to do when you graduate.
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WarwickMaths281
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Straight maths easily. All these Maths with ... courses are ripoffs designed for those who can't hack straight maths.
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AdamCor
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It's better to do just straight maths and take options relating to data science. This is the way I see it

You decide to become an actuary, both the maths and maths with actuarial science are not accredited by the IFOA, so you'll have to sit these exams while working as a student actuary, something most companies would much rather not want (since they can hire a graduate with a straight degree in actuarial science with multiple exams passed via university exemptions).

You decide to become a data scientist, most of the actuarial science modules might be finance related, and they won't be easy, they also will have nothing to do with data science (check with the university which modules are essentially the actuarial ones, they might actually just be data science modules), it would be much better to do straight maths and pick data science related modules like survival analysis (check which modules your university offers for options, and pick the ones that cross over with data science, typically stats stuff).
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SunBreezy565
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Thanks for your response. I can see why an employer in the data science industry would favour straight maths over maths with actuarial science. But from the research I have done and going to the open day I think the Maths with Actuarial Science degree is slightly different to a straight actuarial science degree. At Southampton the degree for Maths with Actuarial Science is also accredited by the IFoA with exemptions from all of the core principal exams. Out of the 24 modules that you study over 3 years 13 of these modules give you exemptions from the actuarial exams. The remaining 11 modules are made up of 6 compulsory modules in the first year which covers the usual topics to give everyone a solid foundation in key mathematical concepts e.g Calculus, Linear Algebra, e.t.c and then the remaining 5 modules left over would give me the choice to study more data science related modules such as mathematical programming and mathematics for the modern world which covers areas such as machine learning and AI. Some of the modules that you study towards gaining the exemptions seem to also cover a lot of statistics which can be applied to both Actuarial and Data Science industry’s. From this information above do you think the degree would be more acceptable for data science?
(Original post by AdamCor)
It's better to do just straight maths and take options relating to data science. This is the way I see it

You decide to become an actuary, both the maths and maths with actuarial science are not accredited by the IFOA, so you'll have to sit these exams while working as a student actuary, something most companies would much rather not want (since they can hire a graduate with a straight degree in actuarial science with multiple exams passed via university exemptions).

You decide to become a data scientist, most of the actuarial science modules might be finance related, and they won't be easy, they also will have nothing to do with data science (check with the university which modules are essentially the actuarial ones, they might actually just be data science modules), it would be much better to do straight maths and pick data science related modules like survival analysis (check which modules your university offers for options, and pick the ones that cross over with data science, typically stats stuff).
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AdamCor
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Ah I see, idk why they don't just call maths with actuarial science just actuarial science, since it's practically identical then. Then this is probably the better choice, especially with the 5 modules that you can chose to cover more data science areas.
(Original post by SunBreezy565)
Thanks for your response. I can see why an employer in the data science industry would favour straight maths over maths with actuarial science. But from the research I have done and going to the open day I think the Maths with Actuarial Science degree is slightly different to a straight actuarial science degree. At Southampton the degree for Maths with Actuarial Science is also accredited by the IFoA with exemptions from all of the core principal exams. Out of the 24 modules that you study over 3 years 13 of these modules give you exemptions from the actuarial exams. The remaining 11 modules are made up of 6 compulsory modules in the first year which covers the usual topics to give everyone a solid foundation in key mathematical concepts e.g Calculus, Linear Algebra, e.t.c and then the remaining 5 modules left over would give me the choice to study more data science related modules such as mathematical programming and mathematics for the modern world which covers areas such as machine learning and AI. Some of the modules that you study towards gaining the exemptions seem to also cover a lot of statistics which can be applied to both Actuarial and Data Science industry’s. From this information above do you think the degree would be more acceptable for data science?
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