35 Best Actuarial Science Degrees

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Do 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.

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Top 10 Best Actuarial Science Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
2 Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee, WI
3 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
4 Ohio State University Columbus, OH
5 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
6 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
7 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
8 University of Wisconsin Madison, WI
9 University of Texas at Dallas Dallas, TX
10 University at Albany (Suny) Albany, NY

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.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Purdue University
    Location

    West Lafayette, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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 Purdues 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, Purdues 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 programs resources and attention.

  2. Milwaukee School of Engineering
    Location

    Milwaukee, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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 MSOEs 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
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    OSUs 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 bachelors degree. Thus the students who are able to meet OSUs rigorous standards will be prepared for employment immediately upon graduation, which is something few programs on our list can boast. OSUs 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
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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. Temples 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 Temples 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
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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. Whartons 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.

    Whartons 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 Penns 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
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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. FSUs 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 FSUs Financial Mathematics Masters 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
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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 Wisconsins 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 disciplines 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
    Location

    Dallas, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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)
    Location

    Albany, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

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