Overview of Bachelor's Degrees in Actuarial Mathematics
Bachelor's degree programs in actuarial mathematics are fairly common at postsecondary institutions across the country. Students in these programs learn how to evaluate different levels of risk and uncertainty and how they translate into financial costs. These programs are also usually designed to prepare students for the multiple actuarial exams that they must pass to become certified professionals. Here we discuss the general admission requirements for these programs and common coursework, as well as other information pertaining to the degree.
Admission Requirements for Actuarial Mathematics Programs
Actuarial mathematics programs typically do not require any additional admission requirements outside of those set for the institution. Most incoming freshmen applying to bachelor's degree programs will need to fill out the appropriate applications and hold a high school diploma or GED. Some schools may require specific ACT or SAT test scores and/or a particular GPA for admittance. Students may also be asked to submit letters of recommendation.
Common Coursework for Actuarial Mathematics Programs
As evident from the name, a degree program in actuarial mathematics is chock-full of mathematical coursework. Although each school has unique course requirements, below are a few of the most common courses in these programs.
Students in the program will likely take several courses in actuarial mathematics that cover introductory to advanced topics in the field. These courses examine concepts like risk theory, life contingencies and techniques in reserving. Students also learn the math required to analyze different areas of insurance, such as life insurance, and pensions.
Students also take one or more courses in financial mathematics. Financial topics covered may include investments, pricing, valuation, liabilities and interest rates. Students study different equations, options and models used to analyze and solve problems related to these financial concepts.
The program typically requires a series of calculus courses, which may include topics in single- and multivariable calculus and/or analytic geometry. A typical calculus course will cover the different theories and techniques for integrating and differentiating a function. Students learn how to apply these techniques to find arc length, volume, area or other measurements.
Students in the program usually will need to take a microeconomics and a macroeconomics course to learn about different economic principles. Microeconomics courses are likely to cover topics in resource allocation, market structures and determination of prices. Macroeconomics courses will discuss topics in trade, national economic policy, international economics and economic growth.
Probability courses examine mathematical topics such as random variables, conditional distributions, combinatorial theory, the central limit theorem and more. Students also look at special distributions and generating functions. Some programs may require an advanced course in probability that is specifically designed to cover actuarial mathematics topics that are included in one of the professional actuarial exams.
How to Choose a Bachelor's Degree Program in Actuarial Mathematics
Students trying to choose between different bachelor's degree programs in actuarial mathematics should consider programs that offer project-based learning and/or internship opportunities in order to obtain hands-on learning experiences. Some programs also offer valuable career education opportunities through job shadowing and networking events. Students may consider programs that offer clubs and organizations pertaining to actuarial mathematics for additional networking and learning opportunities. Finally, students should consider programs that best prepare students for their professional actuarial examinations and offer a chance to take some of the exams during their undergraduate study.
Career Options with a Degree in Actuarial Mathematics
Graduates of bachelor's degree programs in actuarial mathematics typically pursue careers as actuaries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that these professionals made an annual median salary of $100,610 as of May 2016. The BLS also predicted a 22% job growth rate for the profession from 2016-2026. Below are some additional careers graduates of an actuarial mathematics program may consider.