Managing risk in insurance, finance and other industries is no easy job, but if you like math and statistics, actuarial science 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. Professional development, resources and contacts through student organizations such as Gamma Iota Sigma, and free tutoring at the Mathematics Assistance Center will help you graduate on time with a great GPA.
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 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. Employment of actuaries is projected to grow 26 percent by 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. 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
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2022|
|Actuary||$93,680 per year||26% (6,300 more jobs)|
|Financial analyst||$76,950 per year||16% (39,300 more jobs)|
|Financial manager||$109,740 per year||9% (47,100 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 quantititative. 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
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 62-63 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: 62-63 semester hours
For additional information, see the list of advisors in the Class
Required Courses II
Choose CPS 150 or any programming language course (2 or 3 credits).
Algorithms, programs, and computers. Computer solution of several
numerical and nonnumerical problems. Does not count toward a major or
minor in CPS. Prerequisites: One of: MTH 106, 107, 130, 132.
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
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.
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. Recommended: completion of MTH 105.
This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format.
Concepts of Managerial Accounting
Students gain an understanding of how the information provided by an
accounting information system is used for managerial decision making.
Prerequisite: minimum grade of C- in ACC 201. This course is approved
for offering in a distance learning format.
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
Required Courses IV
Select one of the following:
Select one of the following in consultation with the advisor:
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. ECO 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. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social
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
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. Prerequisites: ACC 201 or ACC 250, ACC 202 or ACC
255; 56 semester hours completed. This course is approved for offering
in a distance learning format.
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
106, 107; or MTH 130. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and
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.
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
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. Prerequisites: FIN 317; STA 584.
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.
Nature and causes of economic fluctuations. Methods of predicting price
levels and economic activity.
Prerequisites: ECO 201 or ECO 204; ECO 202 or ECO 203.
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.
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.
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. Current theory and
practices are discussed with applications including computer
simulations, comprehensive cases, and a term project. Prerequisites:
FIN 302 or FIN 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