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Actuarial Science Major

Why pursue a degree in actuarial science? A career in this field is hard to beat and highly desirable. 

Actuaries are business professionals who analyze the financial consequences of risk. Organizations, such as CNN Money, consistently rate being an actuary as one of the best jobs in America, based upon categories such as work environment, employment outlook, job security, growth opportunity, and salary—especially salary.

Becoming an Actuary

To become an actuary, an individual must pass a series of examinations to earn the actuarial designation. A degree in actuarial science prepares students for the first two exams, which when passed, starts the student on the path to becoming an actuary.

Career Options

By earning a Bachelor of Arts in Actuarial Science, graduates are prepared for professional careers in the insurance, consulting, and banking industries. 

High School Preparation

High school coursework that will support a student in his or her pursuit of an actuarial science degree includes experience in Calculus, Statistics, and Economics.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in actuarial science oftentimes pursue a double major or minor in international businessfinance, or accounting


Degree Requirements

A. All of the following:

Note: Students take either M148 Calculus I with Precalculus and M149 Calculus I with Precalculus, or M151 Calculus I.

AC222 Accounting Concepts (3 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to accounting with an emphasis on the interpretation and use of accounting information for effective business decision-making. The course employs an "information user/managerial approach" rather than an "information preparer approach." Students are introduced to the accounting system, financial statement analysis, and quantitative managerial accounting techniques.

EC261 Principles of Microeconomics (3 cr.)

A traditional introduction to the principles of microeconomics, concentrating on behavior of the household and the firm. The course analyzes factors determining prices, production and allocation of economic resources. Current issues are emphasized.

EC262 Principles of Macroeconomics (3 cr.)

A traditional introduction to the principles of macroeconomics, concentrating on how aggregate levels of economic activity are determined. The course analyzes macroeconomic policies and economic issues such as problems of unemployment and inflation. Current issues are emphasized.

FN341 Corporate Finance (3 cr.)

The goal of corporate financial management is to maximize the wealth of the stockholders. Decisions regarding risk and return, the management of current assets and current liabilities, and capital budgeting are examined in view of this goal. Students are also introduced to the stock market and other financial institutions and systems.

FN368 Investments (3 cr.)

Students study the stock markets, bond markets, and derivative markets. The course emphasizes both personal investing and professional opportunities as investment counselors.

FN402 Financial Markets and Institutions (3 cr.)

This course focuses on financial markets, money, instruments, and institutions. The emphasis is on the operations and functions of domestic and international markets and institutions. The course reviews the determinants and structure of interest rates and asset prices.

M148 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 1) (4 cr.)

This course, followed by M149, provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M148 include: solving equations, functions, classes of functions (polynomial, rational, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic), right triangle trigonometry, angle measure, limits and continuity, derivatives, rules for derivatives. Credit is not granted for this course and M151 or courses equivalent to college algebra and college trigonometry.

M149 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 2) (4 cr.)

This course completes the two-semester sequence that begins with M148, and together with M148 provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M149 include: trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions, rules for derivatives, applications of derivatives, and definite and indefinite integrals. Credit is not granted for this course and M151.

M151 Calculus I (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the differential and integral calculus. Topics include: the concepts of function, limit, continuity, derivative, definite and indefinite integrals, and an introduction to transcendental functions. Credit is not granted for this course and M148 and M149.

M152 Calculus II (4 cr.)

This course continues the development of calculus. Topics include: applications of the definite integral, techniques of integration, improper integrals, introduction to differential equations, numerical methods for integration and approximation, curves in the plane given parametrically, polar coordinates, and vectors in 2-space and 3-space.

M251 Calculus III (4 cr.)

This course continues the development of calculus. Topics include: sequences and series, and differentiation and integration of vector-valued functions and functions of several variables.

M252 Linear Algebra (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to techniques and applications of linear algebra. Topics include: systems of linear equations, matrices, determinants, Euclidean n-space, real vector spaces, basis and dimension, linear transformations, inner products, and eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

M332 Probability (2 cr.)

This calculus-based course is designed to provide mathematics majors and minors with an introduction to the mathematical underpinnings of statistics. Topics include: probability axioms, probability, Bayes' Theorem, random variables, discrete and continuous probability distributions, and expected value.

M490 Actuarial Science Capstone (2 cr.)

This course consists of student research on a topic from finance, mathematics, mathematical modeling, or statistics. Each student chooses a topic in consultation with the instructor, does appropriate background reading, and prepares an oral presentation and written paper on the topic. An exam covering material from Actuarial Exam P– Probability and Actuarial Exam FM–Financial Mathematics is administered as part of this course.

ST232 Introduction to Statistics (2 cr.)

This course is designed to provide the basic ideas and techniques of statistics. Topics include: descriptive and inferential statistics, an intuitive introduction to probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, chi-square tests, regression and correlation. This course makes significant use of appropriate technology. Topics in this course are treated at a higher mathematical level than they are treated in ST132 Reasoning with Statistics.

Credit is not granted for this course and any of the following: BU215 Business Statistics, B392 Biostatistics, or ST132 Reasoning with Statistics.

ST431 Mathematical Statistics (3 cr.)

This course provides a mathematical treatment of probability and statistics.  Topics include: several descriptions of the concept of probability, univariate and bivariate probability distributions, joint and marginal probability distributions, covariance, data analysis, and sampling distributions.

B. One of the following:

BU243 Business Computer Applications (3 cr.)

This course provides in-depth coverage of Microsoft Excel and Access in the context of business applications. Excel topics include formulas and functions, charting, large datasets, pivot tables and what-if analysis. Access topics include relational database concepts, database design, basic query construction, and report generation. This course combines on-line and hands-on learning.

CS106 Introduction to Programming for Sciences (3 cr.)

This course teaches introductory programming within a problem-solving framework applicable to the sciences. The course emphasizes technical programming, introductory data storage techniques, and the processing of scientific data. There is an emphasis on designing and writing correct code using an easy to learn scientific programming language such as Python. Advanced excel spreadsheet concepts will be taught and utilized during the programming process. Credit is not granted for this course and CS110. 

C. Two of the following:

BU312 Business Law I (3 cr.)

This survey course is designed to introduce students to the study of law through a review of its historical origins, the various sources of the law and the practical context in which laws are applied. Particular attention is given to areas of law which are relevant to today's business environment; for example, torts, contracts, agency and sales.

FN404 Portfolio Management (3 cr.)

This course focuses on the valuation and major investment instruments and strategies available in capital markets. The course considers how investors evaluate and form portfolios with instruments such as bonds, mutual funds, and stocks. The primary focus of this course is the theory and practice of combining securities to optimal portfolios.

FN408 Financial Planning (3 cr.)

Professional financial planning is the capstone course in the Finance major.  This course will require the student to write a comprehensive personal financial plan.  The plan will require applying basic financial, economic, and institutional concepts to advise individuals and families in achieving their financial goals.  Topics include budgeting, financial analysis, credit management, insurance, time value of money, investment strategies, income taxes, risk management, retirement, and estate planning.

M361 Operations Research (3 cr.)

This course is required for the Mathematics Education major, providing an introduction to techniques and applications of operations research. Topics include: linear programming, game theory, queuing theory, Markovian decision processes, and decision theory.

ST371 Applied Regression Analysis (3 cr.)

This course provides students with an introduction to linear and non-linear models in statistics. Topics include: linear regression, multiple regression, one-, two-, and higher-way analysis of variance, and popular experimental designs. Real-world problems are analyzed using appropriate technology.