Last Update: September 29, 2016

best-bachelors-in-actuarial-scienceDo you do any hang gliding? Base jumping? How about scuba diving?

Okay, we don’t really care about the answers to these questions. But if you’re an actuary, they’re actually pretty important!

Actuaries play an extremely important role in commerce, and in the insurance industry in particular. Their job is to analyze the potential risk of an investment and assess whether that risk will pose a net loss or gain to the company they work for.

In the case of the questions mentioned above, an actuary might need to know about the lifestyle and hobbies of someone their company is offering life insurance to. If a person is a big risk taker, they might not be worth risking a $1 million dollar life insurance policy!

But actuaries don’t do just life insurance. Their work is crucial to other sorts of insurance work as well as other forms of investment risk assessment. Actuaries use tools such as calculus and advanced statistics to determine a wide variety of risk factors, and their work is important to executives, governments, shareholders, and clients alike.

There’s more. Actuaries are in extremely high demand right now, and that demand is set to increase by 18 percent over the next several years, more than double the expectation of all other professions combined. And the median salary for actuaries is just shy of $100,000. If you’re into advanced mathematics and are looking for a career, this might be the ticket!

The best place to start is in a good bachelors program in mathematics, actuarial science, or some combination of the two. And that’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of the top 35 programs in actuarial science with your needs in mind. The first thing we want to know, like you, is the bottom line: how much is this going to set me back? So we’ve included the annual tuition for each school right up front for you. We’ve also included our College Choice Score, which is computed based on each school’s reputation in the field and its return on investment. The end result is a list of schools that balance cost, reputation, and, ultimately, what they can do for you and your unique goals. You can’t go wrong with any of them, of course, but these schools are leading the way.

The rankings you’re about to read are based on a few important sources. The first source is actual college freshman polled during a nationwide survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. These students rated academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost of school, and the survey also took into account graduate success rates on the post-college job market. These factors were weighed equally alongside data from other publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.com.

Geronimo!

1

Purdue University

College Choice Score: 100

Annual Tuition: $28,804

Website

Actuarial science at Purdue University is a joint, interdisciplinary effort between the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Statistics. The Department of Mathematics, one of the seven departments of Purdue’s College of Science, is a renowned center of excellence in mathematics research, education, and scholarship. It is home to sixty-five professors, and it offers B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. It also offers joint degrees with Computer Science.

This joint program offers a full major in Actuarial Science, and with its cross-departmental resources, national reputation, research activity, and affordability, it tops our list as the best program in the country. In addition to the formal curriculum, Purdue’s actuarial science program provides comprehensive preparation for students to take the first five exams of the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. The program is for undergraduates only, which means that B.S. students in actuarial science receive 100 percent of the program’s resources and attention.

2

Milwaukee School of Engineering

College Choice Score: 99.68

Annual Tuition: $37,980

Website

Students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering interested in actuarial science can pursue their degree at one of the best institutions in the country for not only actuarial science in particular but also for mathematics, statistics, and computer science. MSOE trains its students in a wide range of actuarial skills, such as probability, forecasting, risk management and prevention, data analysis, business management, and human behavior.

Graduates of MSOE’s highly recognized program can be found in both the public and private sectors, education, labor unions, traditional accounting firms, the insurance industry, and independent consulting roles. MSOE has high expectations for its students and prepares them to acquire comprehensive knowledge in applied mathematics, computer programming, computer applications, statistical analysis, database management, business principles, professional ethics, and communication and teamwork skills. Students are expected to be able to pass the first two major actuarial exams before graduation and the other three following graduation. Many opt to proceed to further graduate study.

3

Carnegie Mellon University

College Choice Score: 99.60

Annual Tuition: $52,040

Website

Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is home to one of the most prestigious mathematics departments in the country. It features decades of cumulative experience and expertise in applied mathematics, discrete mathematics, logic, and mathematical finance, and students can avail themselves of a wide range of concentrations, majors, minors, and areas of specialization in pursuit of their B.S. The current areas of concentration are mathematics, operations research and statistics, statistics, discrete mathematics and logic, and computational and applied mathematics.

Students preparing for a career in actuarial science will pursue the statistics concentration, which offers training in a comprehensive array of skills, including data analysis, modeling and forecasting, and other actuarial applications that are directly relevant to the insurance and financial industries. Many students in the statistics concentration proceed to further graduate study, but graduates also enjoy a strong placement record in a variety of professions. Carnegie Mellon places a strong emphasis on individual student advising to ensure that each graduate is prepared not only in the general skills all mathematics and statistics students should acquire but also to pursue the areas of specialization they are particularly suited for.

4

Ohio State University

College Choice Score: 99.34

Annual Tuition: $29,229

Website

Ohio State University offers training in actuarial science through its Department of Mathematics. Students interested in this area of study must first start as an actuarial science pre-major and demonstrate competence in the general areas of expertise, such as mathematics and statistics, before they can proceed to declaring actuarial science as their major. Once they have passed the first steps and have submitted an application to the program, they are eligible to be appointed an advisor who will guide them through the final phases of the program.

OSU’s program is geared toward preparing students to pass the five major actuarial exams of the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society before receiving their bachelor’s degree. Thus the students who are able to meet OSU’s rigorous standards will be prepared for employment immediately upon graduation, which is something few programs on our list can boast. OSU’s curriculum places a heavy emphasis on the development of analytical skills, the importance of which can hardly be overestimated in this profession. It is also home to an Actuarial Science Club, which further supports the mission of the program through group study sessions, invited speakers, and more.

5

Temple University

College Choice Score: 99.27

Annual Tuition: $25,994

Website

Temple University is no stranger to the world of actuarial science. Indeed, it is consistently recognized as one of the best institutions in the country for preparing students in the profession. Indeed, it is recognized by the Society of Actuaries as a Center of Actuarial Excellence. Temple’s program is administered through the Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management, which has extensive resources devoted to the actuarial science discipline in particular. The program prepares students both in general business skills and advanced theory in mathematics and statistics.

Undergraduate students in the Actuarial Science Program at Temple pursue a B.B.A. take courses in calculus, probability, statistics, actuarial modeling, and the theory of interest. Like many programs on our list, the program at Temple is geared toward preparing students to pass the major exams of the actuarial profession through comprehensive training in both general and specialized areas. An additional benefit of Temple’s program is its location: Philadelphia and New York are major centers for the insurance and related industries, so students have access to a number of opportunities and advantages not available to students in other programs.

6

University of Pennsylvania

College Choice Score: 99.21

Annual Tuition: $51,464

Website

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania should need no introduction. It is one of the premier schools of management not only in the country but anywhere in the world. Among its many areas of expertise are actuarial science, which is offered as a concentration to students who are members of the school, and actuarial mathematics, which is offered as a minor to students from other schools within Penn. Wharton’s faculty in actuarial science have received international recognition for their work in a number of relevant fields, such as Bayesian analysis, high dimensional inference, information theory, model selection, estimation, probability theory, and statistical algorithms.

Wharton’s approach to actuarial training involves not only the traditional analytical and statistical skills but also the skill of decision making, an often overlooked dimension of a profession that involves navigating uncertainty and risk. Wharton does this through training in statistical modeling, computational tools, and the interpretation of “big data,” and it is currently paving the way in these areas. Its location on Penn’s campus means that it has access to the resources of a plethora of related disciplines, such as computer science, finance, neuroscience, and public policy.

7

Florida State University

College Choice Score: 99.10

Annual Tuition: $24,673

Website

Students at Florida State University interested in pursuing a career in actuarial science will study in the Actuarial Science Program, an interdisciplinary major, through the Department of Mathematics. The Society of Actuaries classifies the program as Advanced Undergraduate and Graduate Education by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) / Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) Listing of Academic Actuarial Science Programs. FSU’s curriculum is geared toward preparing students to pass the major actuarial exams in probability, financial mathematics, life contingencies, financial economics, and construction of models.

FSU grads have an excellent success rate on these exams, and the program has a strong history of placement in the field through holding company interviews in the department. Students interested in furthering their academic training will be interested in FSU’s Financial Mathematics Master’s Program, which is offered through the Mathematics Department and features a concentration in Actuarial Science and also offers advanced courses to well-prepared undergraduate majors. In either degree, students can expect to be prepared in a wide range of general and specific skills, including but not limited to mathematics, statistics, economics, business, insurance, accounting, and computer science.

8

University of Wisconsin

College Choice Score: 99.02

Annual Tuition: $32,738

Website

The University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, offers actuarial training through its Bachelor of Business Administration program, which is regularly recognized as one of the top B.B.A. programs in the country. The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and it aims to prepare all its students, actuarial science or otherwise, to develop professional analytical, communication, leadership, problem-solving, and decision-making skills in combination with a rigorous business foundation in analytical methods.

The actuarial science program within Wisconsin’s B.B.A. trains students specifically in applied mathematics, statistics and finance. Additionally, it offers training in the construction of new systems and models that advance the discipline’s understanding and application of financial management, insurance, and pension systems. While the program does prepare students to take the standard actuarial exams, it does not require students to pass the exams prior to graduation from the program. Wisconsin graduates have an excellent track record of placement and success in a variety of industries, including insurance companies, consulting firms, and governmental agencies.

9

University of Texas at Dallas

College Choice Score: 99.00

Annual Tuition: $33,654

Website

The University of Texas at Dallas, part of the University of Texas system, is quickly establishing itself as a major contender in business education and related fields, and its program in actuarial science is no exception. UTD offers a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science through the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Actuarial Science students are required to take the same foundational courses as other students in the department, which also offers majors in Mathematics and Statistics. This creates an environment that encourages the development of a strong base in the general skills common to all three areas.

Beyond these general requirements, actuarial science students will take courses uniquely tailored to their discipline, such as finance, economics, applied statistics, insurance, and actuarial science. A total of 77 hours in the major are required to graduate from UTD with an actuarial science degree. While students are not required to sit for the major actuarial science examinations prior to graduation, the program does prepare students to take them, and students will also be prepared to continue their studies in graduate programs if desired. An added benefit of actuarial science at UT Dallas is its proximity to the Dallas metro area, which is major center of employment in the insurance industry and the many consulting firms that serve it.

10

University at Albany (SUNY)

College Choice Score: 98.77

Annual Tuition: $22,244

Website

Students at the University at Albany, part of the State University of New York system, who are interested in actuarial careers will pursue their training through the Mathematics Department. Currently, the department offers two undergraduate majors: Mathematics and Actuarial and Mathematical Sciences, and it also offers a third major, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, as a joint degree with the Computer Science Department.

Both the Mathematics and Actuarial and Mathematical Sciences majors provide students with background in both theoretical and applied mathematics, and the program features particular strength in the area of statistics and actuarial mathematics. Students can expect preparation in both general, foundation skills common to both disciplines as well as coursework specifically tailored to actuarial careers. Students will be prepared to sit for the major exams but are not required to pass them prior to graduation. The faculty at Albany is highly active in their discipline, and undergraduate students participate in departmental activities along with graduate students and faculty members, including seminars and club meetings.

11

Baruch College (CUNY)

College Choice Score: 98.62

Annual Tuition: $17,771

Website

Baruch College, part of the City University of New York system, offers undergraduate majors in mathematics, actuarial science, and financial mathematics. It also offers an M.S. in Financial Engineering. Students interested in actuarial careers will benefit from a broad curriculum in a variety of mathematics disciplines. In addition to this strong foundation in mathematics, actuarial science students and financial mathematics majors can take courses at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, where they can gain exposure to auxiliary disciplines as well as applications of their degree. Students can also minor in mathematics if they are committed to another area of study for their major.

Baruch College’s actuarial science program specializes in preparation for work in the insurance industry. To this end, students are trained in mathematical foundations and also in computational techniques, applied mathematics, and financial modeling. Students are encouraged to consider preparing for the official examinations administered by the Society of Actuaries, and majors should be prepared to pass all five upon graduation. The program is highly demanding and requires careful planning, so students are encouraged to contact the Department of Mathematics early in their studies in order to prepare accordingly.

12

New York University

College Choice Score: 98.56

Annual Tuition: $49,062

Website

Baruch College, part of the City University of New York system, offers undergraduate majors in mathematics, actuarial science, and financial mathematics. It also offers an M.S. in Financial Engineering. Students interested in actuarial careers will benefit from a broad curriculum in a variety of mathematics disciplines. In addition to this strong foundation in mathematics, actuarial science students and financial mathematics majors can take courses at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, where they can gain exposure to auxiliary disciplines as well as applications of their degree. Students can also minor in mathematics if they are committed to another area of study for their major.

Baruch College’s actuarial science program specializes in preparation for work in the insurance industry. To this end, students are trained in mathematical foundations and also in computational techniques, applied mathematics, and financial modeling. Students are encouraged to consider preparing for the official examinations administered by the Society of Actuaries, and majors should be prepared to pass all five upon graduation. The program is highly demanding and requires careful planning, so students are encouraged to contact the Department of Mathematics early in their studies in order to prepare accordingly.

13

Binghamton University (SUNY)

College Choice Score: 98.02

Annual Tuition: $22,164

Website

Binghamton University, another member of the State University of New York system along with the University at Albany, offers two options through its Department of Mathematics Sciences for students interested pursuing careers in the field of actuarial science and mathematics: the B.A. and the B.S., both of which are offered in Actuarial Science. The primary difference between the two degrees is that the B.A. is intended for students interested in a general education, while the B.S. is the more intensive of the two and geared toward preparing students specifically for careers in the field.

The course of study offers explicit preparation in four of the major exams required of actuarial professionals: P/1, FM/2, MFE/3F, and MLC. The department offers masters and doctoral degrees in addition to the two bachelor’s degrees, and students who know they want to pursue further graduate study and teach in the field of actuarial science and mathematics have an option of a combined, five-year B.A./M.A.T (Master of Arts in Teaching) degree. Binghamton students have an excellent track record of placement in both career positions and graduate programs, and like its partner school, University at Albany, its location in New York provides a host of unique opportunities for those preparing for a career in this growing field.

14

University of Connecticut

College Choice Score: 97.93

Annual Tuition: $35,858

Website

The program in Actuarial Science at the University of Connecticut dates back to 1976, when two new courses were offered: Theory of Interest and Life Contingencies. The popularity of the courses spread rapidly, and the first majors graduated in 1979. Since then, the program has continued to experience unabated growth and success, including increased program offerings, the addition of master’s and doctoral degrees, and a Center of Actuarial Studies. The program is now home to approximately 275 undergraduate students and nearly 50 graduate students.

Like the programs of so many schools on our list, UConn’s program is geared toward the Society of Actuaries’s and the Casualty Actuarial Society’s exams, which are required to operate as an actuary. UConn expects its students to pass at least two of these exams prior to graduation. The program enjoys close working relationships with several insurance companies and consulting firms in the region, boasts an actuarial fraternity (Gamma Iota Sigma), and goes out of its way to connect its students with employment opportunities through career fairs and on-campus interviews with sponsors. UConn actuarial graduates enjoy an excellent placement record in both full-time employment and internships.

15

Queens College (CUNY)

College Choice Score: 97.90

Annual Tuition: $17,408

Website

Queens College, another member of the City University of New York system along with Baruch College, offers a number of opportunities for students interested in an actuarial career. The Bachelor of Business Administration degree offers a major in Actuarial Studies in addition to Finance and International Business. The College also offers a major and minor in Economics. The Actuarial Studies major is designed to prepare students for successful careers and to pass the series of actuarial examinations.

Students in the Actuarial Studies program in the Bachelor of Business Administration can expect to become proficient in general business fundamentals and also in the particular disciplines relevant to actuarial practice, such as probability, calculus, statistics, and advanced mathematics. Regarding the examinations, the program focuses primarily on preparation for the first of the major exams, which is designed to evaluate potential for success in the field. Like its sister institutions in the New York area, Queens College’s location in the Big Apple is a major asset for career-minded individuals.

16

Georgia State University

College Choice Score: 97.89

Annual Tuition: $28,896

Website

Georgia State University is no stranger to the risk management profession. It boasts one of the largest research faculties in the world, and it awards degrees up to the doctoral level. Both its undergraduate program and its MBA is regularly recognized for excellence by leading ranking publications. The program in actuarial science dates back to 1958, making it one of the longest-running programs on our list. In 2009, it was named a Center of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries.

The faculty at GSU enjoys an international reputation, and its alumni network is vast, with some of them having been appointed fellows and associates of the Society of Actuaries and/or the Casualty Actuarial Society. Undergraduate students preparing for a career in the actuary field will pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration in Actuarial Science, which is designed to develop and leaders in the field. It is a rigorous program that focuses on quantitative methods, risk management, and advanced mathematical applications to real-world problems. GSU also prepares students for the national examinations but does not require them to be passed prior to graduation. GSU graduates enjoy an excellent placement record in positions throughout the industry.

17

Texas Christian University

College Choice Score: 97.80

Annual Tuition: $42,670

Website

Texas Christian University offers a number of well-recognized programs in finance, accounting, economics, and business, and it also offers rigorous, well-respected training in the field of actuarial science. Its preparation for the field is comprehensive: students are introduced to the problems and governing concepts of insurance, risk analysis, pension management, financial planning, and more. Actuarial science can be pursued as a concentration within a B.A. or B.S. in Mathematics.

Whether a student pursues the B.A. or the B.S. depends on their goals. The B.A. is intended as a broader liberal arts degree and can lead to a number of outcomes, including careers in non-mathematical industries, teaching, and further education, for instance, in an M.B.A. program. The B.S., by contrast, is the more demanding route and is appropriate for those intending to proceed to graduate school or enter careers highly dependent on advanced mathematical skills, such as an actuary. Students at TCU thus have a number of options at their disposal, and they will benefit from a reputable department that boasts an array of resources with the field of actuarial science and related disciplines.

18

Concordia University Wisconsin

College Choice Score: 97.62

Annual Tuition: $28,040

Website

Students at Concordia University Wisconsin interested in actuary careers can pursue a degree in Actuarial Science, which offers extensive training in risk management and prediction and prepares students for careers ranging from insurance to investment banking. CUW’s program offers small class sizes and personal attention from professors, a broad foundation in the liberal arts, targeted preparation for at least one of the Society of Actuaries’s exams, and for those students interested in getting a leg up on their competition, an advanced, four-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree.

Like many other schools on our list, CUW’s curriculum begins with a liberal arts background, proceeds with basic business principles, and then concludes with an array of specialized courses specific to the practice of actuarial science. Students can expect to be prepared in a wide range of relevant areas, such as investment strategies, asset management; risk modeling, management, and retention; stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and derivatives; liability, property, life, and health insurance; probability and statistics; sampling methods and hypothesis testing; corporate finance fundamentals; and corporate law.

19

Michigan State University

College Choice Score: 97.30

Annual Tuition: $39,090

Website

Michigan State University is a national leader in the major subfields of science and technology, and its relatively new program in Actuarial Science is no exception. Established in 2012, it has quickly established itself as a national-level contender in the field. MSU takes an interdisciplinary approach to its actuarial training through support from both the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Statistics and Probability, both of which are housed in the College of Natural Science.

The end result is a B.S. in Actuarial Science, which is designed to provide comprehensive preparation for those aspiring to a career in the field. In addition to an exhaustive curriculum, Michigan State goes the extra mile in preparing students for the requisite exams for becoming an actuarial professional. Additional skills taught by MSU include computing, communications, and on-the-ground experience in real-world scenarios. Students who are interested in the field but desire to major in another field have the option of pursuing a minor instead of a major. Both, however, are career-oriented programs that prepare students to be successful at professions in insurance, banking, investing, business, and government.

20

University of California Santa Barbara

College Choice Score: 97.20

Annual Tuition: $40,704

Website

A number of options are available at the University of California Santa Barbara to students interested in an actuarial career. Through the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability, students can pursue a B.A. in Statistics or a B.S. in Applied Statistics or Probability and Statistics. More recently, the Department has added at B.S. in Actuarial Science as well as a major in Financial Mathematics and Statistics. A minor in Statistics is also available. Suffice it to say, there is something for just about anyone at UCSB.

Actuarial Science students in particular have a number of resources at their disposal at UCSB, including an active Actuarial Association, and the program is the only one of its kind in the state of California as well as one of the only two on the west coast. Students are trained in all relevant areas and subdisciplines, including but not limited to probability theory, statistics, finance, and advanced mathematics. Highly motivated students also have the option of completing a combined B.S.-M.S. degree in Actuarial Science over the course of five years, although some students manage to complete the program in four years. The program emphasizes real-world preparation and professional skills for the workplace, and graduates have experienced excellent placement results in recent years.

21

Bradley University

College Choice Score: 97.13

Annual Tuition: $32,120

Website

Bradley University offers actuarial training through its Department of Finance and Quantitative Methods. It offers an actuarial degree but also provides training in actuarial principles to finance majors, decision analysis minors, and MBA students who concentrate in finance. Its dedicated faculty boast years of academic and industry education and experience, and they offer courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The department is also home to its own investment student group, the Bradley Investment Organization, which offers simulated scenarios designed to prepare students for real-world careers.

The program in Actuarial Science prepares students first and foremost to complete the exams required by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. It also hosts a number of other student organizations, such as the Financial Management Association, Acclaimed Intellectual Property Association, and Gamma Iota Sigma, the national organization for risk management studies. Graduates of Bradley’s program have been highly successful at obtaining employment; representative companies include Caterpillar Inc., Aon Hewitt, RLI Corp., Mutual of Omaha, State Farm Insurance, and Tower Watson.

22

Central Michigan University

College Choice Score: 97.11

Annual Tuition: $23,670

Website

Actuarial studies at Central Michigan University are administered through the Mathematics Department, which serves both undergraduate and graduate students in Mathematics, Statistics, and Education. The Department aims to prepare students to compete in today’s highly competitive job market. The major in Actuarial Science requires just over 60 hours of coursework in relative fields, including mathematics, statistics, accounting, economics, finance, business law, and computer science.

The program seeks to prepare students for the first three actuarial exams, and it encourages students to pass at least the first exam by the time they graduate. CMU excels at preparing students for the insurance industry in particular. To this end, it offers training in complex reasoning processes, problem solving, applied mathematics, statistics, and risk analysis. The department’s student organization, Gamma Iota Sigma, facilitates industry contacts, relationships with alumi, professional development, and tutoring opportunities.

23

St. John's University

College Choice Score: 97.10

Annual Tuition: $39,460

Website

The School of Risk Management in the Tobin College of Business is home to the Actuarial Science program at St. John’s University. It is one of the few programs on our list that is recognized by the Society of Actuaries as a Center of Actuarial Excellence, and it joins the other New York-area schools in offering a highly advantageous location for aspiring actuaries as well as an extensive alumni network. The program features scholarships, extensive outside-the-classroom learning experiences, as internship and career placement services.

Students are trained in a variety of subdisciplines, such as business, accounting, finance, marketing, management, risk management, and computer information systems. It also provides training in specific areas of knowledge and skill, such as measuring catastrophic losses, probability pricing models, insurance market trends, advanced computer interfacing, business planning, communication, regulatory environments and requirements, and decision making.

24

Ball State University

College Choice Score: 96.72

Annual Tuition: $25,428

Website

Students at Ball State University wishing to pursue a career in actuarial science will find a home in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, which offers a number of benefits to its majors, including scholarships, clubs and organizations, flexibility, and an undergraduate research journal, the Mathematics Exchange. The four-year bachelor’s degree features a robust foundational curriculum in mathematics and business as well as advanced coursework in specific actuarial skills, such as risk analysis and finance.

Many students pass their first actuarial exam by the time they graduate and secure at least one summer internship. The department is home to its own chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, the professional fraternity for the discipline, and the major fulfills the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) requirement when combined with the Foundations of Business for Actuarial Science and Mathematics Majors minor. Placement for Ball State grads has been highly successful in recent years, so graduates of the program have every reason to believe their education will be well worth the investment.

25

Bentley University

College Choice Score: 96.61

Annual Tuition: $45,760

Website

Bentley University offers training in actuarial science through its various Mathematical Sciences programs, which range from undergraduate degrees all the way through the PhD level. There are a number of routes available to students in mathematics at Bentley: B.S. students can major in Mathematical Sciences or Actuarial Sciences, but they can also minor in either one or elect the Quantitative Perspectives concentration as a part of a Liberal Studies major. Any of these options require students to become proficient in an array of fields, from mathematics theory and business operations to statistics, business analytics, and management science.

The B.S. in Actuarial Science will be of primary interest to readers of this list, and Bentley grads are in high demand in the insurance, financial services, and consulting industries. Bentley offers extensive preparation for up to four of the actuarial exams as well as all necessary Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credits. Internship placement is a fixture of the program. Majors in Actuarial Science will take foundational courses in advanced calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and probability, as well as advanced courses in discrete probability, financial calculus and derivative pricing, discrete options pricing, probability and risk management, and mathematical theory of interest.

26

Appalacian State University

College Choice Score: 96.23

Annual Tuition: $21,057

Website

Appalachian State University’s Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science is offered through its Department of Mathematical Sciences. The program revolves around foundational expertise in mathematics, statistics, economics, and finance as well as particular expertise in risk assessment, advanced problem solving, risk mitigation, and management. Students will learn the advantages and application of mathematical modeling and quantitative problem solving as well, and in their senior year will have an opportunity to build an actuarial model with a working professional in the field.

Like many other programs, the B.S. at Appalachian State is geared toward helping students prepare for the exams administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. It offers specific preparation for the first three exams—Probability, Financial Mathematics, and Life Contingencies. Coursework offered to this end includes Fundamentals of Probability, Financial Mathematics, Actuarial Models, Applied Mathematics, Economics, and Finance, and students can petition the Society of Actuaries to receive VEE credit. Appalachian State encourages students to take at least the first two exams prior to graduation as well as seek out internships in the field.

27

North Central College

College Choice Score: 95.97

Annual Tuition: $36,654

Website

North Central College boasts one of the interdisciplinary programs on our list with an Actuarial Science major that is jointly offered by departments of mathematics and finance, which offers a number of advantages in this quickly expanding field. North Central prides itself on small classes, which offers students personal attention as they work toward their career goals. The smaller size of the program also allows students to be involved in hands-on research as early as their first year in the program, an opportunity not many schools can offer. Students also receive individual preparation assistance for the actuarial exams.

Another benefit of North Central College’s program is its proximity to the Chicago metro area, a major hub of the insurance and finance industries along with New York and Dallas. This location offers not only opportunities for after graduation but also for internships during one’s course of study, a crucial piece of the puzzle for success in the actuarial field. The Department is also home to an Actuarial Science Club as well as Pi Mu Epsilon, the mathematics honor society, and offers students the option between a B.A. and a B.S.

28

Anderson University

College Choice Score: 95.67

Annual Tuition: $26,510

Website

Anderson University boasts a traditional mathematics department that prepares students for both academic and professional careers as well as careers in education. Students interested in the latter can pursue a B.S. in Secondary Education Mathematics, while those interested in attending graduate school or pursuing a career that requires mathematical training can pursue a B.S. in Mathematics, which offers training in the traditional disciplines of calculus, discrete methods, probability and statistical theory and methods, linear programming, linear and abstract algebra, and the like. The B.S. in Mathematics requires a capstone independent research project.

Students with particular interest in actuarial work can opt for a concentration in Actuarial Science, which fulfills the department’s mandate to train majors specifically for careers in applied mathematics. Anderson boasts particular experience in preparing students for careers in insurance, and it offers specific preparation for all the major actuarial exams. Graduates of Anderson’s concentration in Actuarial Science have experienced great success in acquiring positions in the industry after graduation.

29

Siena College

College Choice Score: 95.47

Annual Tuition: $34,611

Website

Siena College offers an Actuarial Science major that combines preparation in mathematics with economics and finance to offer a well-rounded course of study for students preparing to enter the work force. Siena’s program fulfills the requirements for the Validation by Educational Experience for the Casualty Actuary Society and the Society of Actuaries. Siena aims to prepare students for at least the first two actuarial exams, although students are not expected to sit for the exam prior to graduation, and it also offers elective coursework to prepare students for the other exams.

One unique feature of a Siena education is a year-long professional seminary, which brings in professional actuaries to provide a real-world perspective on the subjects students are encountering in class and how actuarial principles are deployed in practice. Students have access to highly competitive internship opportunities as early as their sophomore year, and personal advisors offer additional help in preparing for actuarial exams. Its small class sizes ensure that students receive tailored attention, and students have considerable flexibility in upper-level courses. Siena’s placement record is impressive, with graduates securing employment at institutions such as The Hartford, MetLife, Farm Family Insurance, Travelers Insurance, Utica National Insurance Group, First Niagra, Marsh USA, and the New York State Insurance Department.

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Olivet College

College Choice Score: 95.27

Annual Tuition: $25,560

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Olivet College, is another school that boasts smaller class sizes and personal attention in their Actuarial Science major, which is pursued alongside students majoring in the closely allied fields of Mathematics and Computer Science. Among the many things these majors have in common is the exponential rate at which demand for graduates of these programs is increasing, and having them all under the same roof can only lead to mutual benefit.

Students are encouraged to consider the various applications of their knowledge early in their education, whether that be through computer programming and math competitions, tutoring, or internships. The actuarial science major in particular encourages students to combine theoretical knowledge in advanced mathematics to solve real-world business problems, and it also places a heavy emphasis on preparation for the exams offered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. Emphasis is also placed on the risk management dimension of actuarial practice, which plays a central role in the insurance industry in particular. Graduates of Olivet can expect to be well prepared to meet the rising demand for expertise in this field.

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Drake University

College Choice Score: 95.24

Annual Tuition: $35,206

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Drake University is well known for its actuarial program, and it joins the select few schools on our list that are recognized as a Center for Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries. It is also one of the few actuarial programs on our list at a private university. The program in Actuarial Science is offered through the College of Business and Public Administration, and it provides training in foundations of business, mathematics, and statistics and offers the option of a joint degree in finance or accounting.

Drake places a heavy emphasis on exam preparation, and it encourages students to take and pass as many as possible during their degree. Many Drake students are prepared to sit for the first exam by their sophomore year, and once that exam is behind them, they become that much more competitive in the job market. Drake is home to a number of actuarial resources, such as the Adams-Bowers Actuarial Center, and it also provides networking and career placement services, such as a dedicated career counselor. In addition, Drake hosts an actuarial career fair that hosts more than thirty companies annually and connects students with internships and job prospects. The overwhelming majority of Drake students are able to complete at least one internship before graduation, and Drake students are heavily recruited by employers across the country.

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Central College

College Choice Score: 95.21

Annual Tuition: $34,612

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Central College is another actuarial program on our list that features small class sizes, low faculty-to-student ratios, and personal attention. Central provides a broad foundation in mathematics and business, but one of the features that sets Central’s curriculum apart from that of some other programs is that they distribute actuarial coursework throughout students’ four years in the program. This enables students to gain exposure to the industry’s methods and problems early in their studies. Students are introduced to Calculus and Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics early in the program, and then progress to more specialized courses as the program proceeds.

Central’s curriculum qualifies for two and a half of the three requisite Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) requirements, with the opportunity to complete the other half of the third VEE requirement while still at Central. The curriculum also prepares students for actuarial examinations, although there is no formal requirement to complete any of them prior to graduation. Students will also benefit from Central’s state-of-the-art facilities, including a 24-hour computer lab and several classrooms featuring advanced computing equipment.

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Mount Mercy University

College Choice Score: 94.88

Annual Tuition: $29,496

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Students at Mount Mercy University who are interested in actuarial careers can pursue an Actuarial Science major, which prepares students in all the major areas related to actuarial practice. The curriculum places heavy emphasis on risk management, which translates well in insurance careers, as well as finance and mathematics. Mount Mercy aims to prepare its Actuarial Science majors for the first two actuarial exams: Probability and Financial Mathematics. Mount Mercy takes its cues from the curriculum recommendations from the Society of Actuaries itself, so students can be confident that their education aligns with industry best practices.

In addition to core business classes, students will take classes in investments, risk management, and business statistics to acquire practical, industry-specific skills such as complex problem solving, risk estimation, and financial projections. Mount Mercy takes pride in guiding individual students through their programs and setting them up for success in careers in investment firms, insurance companies, and finance. Students benefit from an array of additional resources on campus, such as the Math and Computer Science Club, research collaboration, mathematical workshops, conferences and competitions, an Investment Club, which actively trades and regularly takes trips to major actuarial events and centers, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders meeting.

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Arcadia University

College Choice Score: 94.63

Annual Tuition: $40,920

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Arcadia University’s Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science offers a number of benefits, most notably flexibility. It joins the several other smaller schools on our list that are able to offer a level of individual attention students aren’t likely to experience at larger programs, and it places a heavy emphasis on exam preparation. It seeks to prepare students for the first two exams of the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society—Probability and Financial Mathematics—and it qualifies for the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credit for all three courses.

The program at Arcadia is one of the youngest on our list, having started granting its B.S. in Actuarial Science in 2013. Its history in the discipline is longer than that date would suggest however, as they have offered a concentration in Actuarial Science as part of their mathematics major for many years prior through the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Now that the formal major has been established, the school has attracted an experienced faculty as well as an advisory board composed of local practicing actuaries. Graduates of the program are already in high demand, and they can be found in insurance companies, consulting firms, and government agencies both locally and nationally.

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Rider University

College Choice Score: 93.90

Annual Tuition: $39,820

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Rider University is a unique entry on our list; although it does not currently offer a formal major in actuarial science, it nevertheless has a history of excellence in the discipline, and students can pursue their interest in the field through either the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Department of Mathematics or through one of the College of Business Administration’s majors or minors, such as Business Analytics, Finance, and Investment Analysis. In previous years, it has offered a major in actuarial science and a joint degree in finance and actuarial science.

Rider is well known for its training in the sciences, which includes training in critical thinking, analysis, and communication as well project management and teamwork. While students interested in pursuing actuarial training will not necessarily find a formal Actuarial Science major at Rider, they will find all the major components that contribute to a successful actuarial career and an excellent track record of placement upon graduation.

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