What is actuarial science? It uses analytical and statistical process to assess risk in various industries. It’s no easy job, but if you’re interested in math and statistics, becoming an actuarial science major may be a perfect fit. CMU’s actuarial science program offers you comprehensive training in thinking, reasoning and problem-solving — all of which strengthen your skills for a career in business, industry, government and more. Through professional development, resources, developing contacts through student organizations and free tutoring at the Math Center, you will get the support and opportunities to be successful.
Points of Pride
- Your classes will prepare you for the first three actuarial exams (P, FM, Life Contingencies), which are administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. Many students pass at least the first exam by the time they graduate from CMU.
- Actuary science is considered a high-salary profession with great job security and vast opportunities.
Put your actuarial science degree to work
Most actuaries work full time in an office setting, but actuaries who work as consultants may frequently travel to meet with clients. Actuaries often develop, price and evaluate a variety of insurance products and calculate the costs of new risks.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
Below is a list of potential careers, median salary over the course of the career and projected job growth.
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2026|
|Actuary||$101,560 per year||22% (5,300 more jobs)|
|Financial analyst||$84,300 per year||11% (32,200 more jobs)|
|Financial manager||$125,080 per year||19% (108,600 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Actuarial Science Major
Why Study Actuarial Science?
Actuaries study risk. The work is quite quantitative. About 70% of actuaries work for insurance companies; about 25% for consulting firms, and about 5% for government agencies. The publication Jobs Rated Almanac has always rated actuary as one of the top five jobs in the United States. In the 2002 edition (sixth edition), it is rated number 2 .
Actuarial Science at CMU
The Actuarial Science major is an interdisciplinary major with an advisor from the Department of Mathematics. It offers courses to prepare students for the first (Exam P) and second (Exam FM) actuarial exams jointly administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. Students should try to pass both exams by the time they graduate from CMU. The major also provides coursework to prepare a graduate for a career in the business world in which the insurance industry is focused. More direct contact with actuaries comes through the student organization Gamma Iota Sigma.
This major consists of 63-64 hours of course work in mathematics, statistics, accounting, economics, finance, business law, and computer science. The major is designed to give the student the type of background necessary to pursue a career in actuarial science and, in particular, to prepare the student to pass two actuarial exams. There is no required minor. Advisors are from the Department of Mathematics.
Total: 63-64 semester hours
Required Courses I
Concepts of Financial Accounting
Students gain an understanding of the accounting system used to develop financial statements. The emphasis is on interpreting financial data used in business decision making. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format. Recommended: completion of MTH 105.
Concepts of Managerial Accounting
Students gain an understanding of how the information provided by an accounting information system is used for managerial decision making. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format. Prerequisite: minimum grade of C- in ACC 201.
Probability Foundations of Actuarial Science
Fundamental probability tools for quantitatively assessing risk, with emphasis on application of these tools to problems encountered in actuarial science. Prerequisite: STA 584.
Mathematical Theory of Interest
Fundamental concepts of mathematical theory of interest and applications in calculating present and accumulated values for various streams of cash flows. Introduction to financial instruments. Prerequisite: MTH 133.
Mathematics of Financial Models
Introduction to stochastic calculus for financial modeling, derivative securities with emphasis on option pricing using the Black-Scholes model, bond pricing using interest rate models. Prerequisites: ACT 540; STA 584; or Graduate Standing.
Principles of Macroeconomics
Provides understanding of basic principles of economics, methods of National Income accounting, inflation, unemployment, role of government, money and banking, monetary policy, and international economics. Credit may not be earned in more than one of ECO 201 and 204. ECO 201 may not be applied toward the University Program requirements if a student is earning the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Principles of Microeconomics
Introduction to scarcity, choice, and opportunity cost; supply and demand; welfare economics; household and firm behavior; competition and monopoly; resource markets. Credit may not be earned in more than one of ECO 202 and ECO 203. This course may be offered in an online format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
This course introduces students to risk management and insurance decisions in personal financial planning, including health, disability, property, liability, and long-term care risks and insurance. Prerequisites: ACC 201 or 250; BLR 202 or 235; STA 282 or 382; admission to Professional Business Studies or listed on a signed major or minor.
Basic principles and techniques of the acquisition, management, and distribution of financial resources. Credit may not be earned in both FIN 302 and FIN 332. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisites ACC 201 or 250; ACC 202 or 255; 56 semester hours completed.
Limits, continuity, interpretations of the derivative, differentiation of elementary functions, applications of derivatives, antiderivatives, Riemann sums, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: MTH 107, 109; or MTH 130. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Techniques of integration, applications of definite integrals, improper integrals, elementary differential equations, infinite series, Taylor series, and polar coordinates. Prerequisite: MTH 132.
Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory
Systems of linear equations, matrices, determinants, vectors, vector spaces, eigenvalues, linear transformations, applications and numerical methods. Prerequisite: MTH 132.
Vectors and surfaces in R3, vector-valued functions, functions of several variables, partial differentiation and some applications, multiple integrals, vector calculus. Prerequisites: MTH 133. Pre/Co-Requisites: MTH 223 or 232.
Statistical Programming for Data Management and Analysis
Introduction to statistical programming for managing and analyzing data, including programming logic, data manipulation, missing data handling, basic techniques for analyzing data and creating reports. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisites: STA 282 or 382 or 392; or graduate standing.
Mathematical Statistics I
Probability defined on finite and infinite samples spaces, conditional probability and independence, random variables, expectations, moment-generating functions, probability models, limit theorems. Prerequisite: MTH 233.
Mathematical Statistics II
Introductory topics from mathematical theory of statistics: population distributions, sampling distributions, point and interval estimation, tests of hypotheses. Prerequisite: STA 584.
Time Series Forecasting
Introduction to basic time series forecasting techniques. Topics include forecasting, Box-Jenkins models, time series regression, and transfer function models. Prerequisite: STA 580.
Required Courses II
Choose CPS 180 or any programming language course (2 or 3 credits).
Principles of Computer Programming
Algorithm development and problem solving methods. Design and development of computer programs in a structured programming language. Pre/Co-requisite: One of MTH 130, 132, 133, 217. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Required Courses III
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Econometrics
Introduction to the theory and practice of linear regression analysis in economics focusing on single equation methods. Extensive computer applications. Prerequisites: ECO 202 or 203; ECO 285 or STA 282 or STA 382.
Applied Statistical Methods I
Applications of statistical analysis methods including the usage of computer software packages. Topics include simple and multiple regression, diagnostics, forecasting, and analysis of variance. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisites: STA 282 or 382 or 392; or graduate standing.
Select one of the following in consultation with the advisor:
Spreadsheet-Based Modeling for Business
The course focuses on the use of spreadsheets in business analytics. Students gain modeling/analysis skills necessary to address a wide variety of business problems. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisites: BIS 255.
Applied Business Communication
Expands understanding of the communication process as students apply business communication principles related to oral, written, and employment communication in a real-world setting. Prerequisite: 56 semester hours completed. Recommended: ENG 201.
Legal Environment of Business
Introduction to the concept and use of law as a social institution. Open to both nonbusiness and business students. BLR 202 may not be applied toward the University Program requirements if a student is earning the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. May be offered as Writing Intensive. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Global Cultures)
Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
An intensive treatment of the theories of supply and demand, consumer and producer behavior, market structure, and other micro theories and issues. Prerequisite: ECO 202 or 203.
Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
National income accounting; income, employment, interest rate and inflation theory and policy; theory and problems of economic growth. Prerequisites: ECO 201 or 204; ECO 202 or 203.
Intermediate Financial Management
In-depth examination of financial management building on introductory level course. Application of current theory and practices are discussed including simulation, comprehensive cases, and term project. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisites: FIN 302 or 332; 56 semester hours completed; admission to Professional Business Studies or listed on a signed major or minor.
Introduction to Mathematical Proof
Study of several basic concepts in mathematics including logic, set theory, relations and functions, cardinality, number systems, sequences. Pre/Co-requisites: MTH 175, 351; or one of: MTH 223, 232.
Data Mining Techniques I
Data mining techniques for analyzing large and high dimensional data. Topics include data mining strategy, exploratory analysis, predictive modeling techniques, model assessment and comparison. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisites: STA 580 or graduate standing.