Catalogue 2017 - 2018

Actuarial Science Major

General Information

Actuaries are business professionals who quantify, model, and analyze risk in a business environment. Wherever risk or uncertainty is present, such as in the contexts of life, property or casualty insurance, health care, or in the financial management of pensions or annuities, actuaries are needed to understand and manage that risk. An actuary needs to have a solid grounding in the theory and applications of calculus, probability and statistics, mathematical finance including interest theory, and various mathematical modeling techniques.

In addition to their mathematical analysis and problem-solving abilities, actuaries need to have excellent oral and written communication skills as well as a basic understanding of economics, finance, and corporate structure and decision making. An ideal actuary has mastery of technical mathematical material, can apply it in its proper context, and can communicate it to an appropriate audience.

Career Opportunities

The job of actuary is consistently rated very highly in terms of job satisfaction, salary, employment outlook, work environment, and growth opportunity. One can usually find it at or near the top of annual “best jobs” lists. Actuaries are in high demand and are most commonly employed in the insurance, financial services, and health care industries as well as in government agencies. The numerous such companies present in the Springfield-Hartford corridor means that actuarial jobs are relatively plentiful, and even more opportunities are possible in the greater Boston and New York areas. Graduates of Western New England have obtained positions at many of these companies.

Program Objectives

The Actuarial Science major is housed within the Department of Mathematics and follows the educational recommendations of the two largest actuarial-related professional societies in the US: the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuary Society (CAS). A student who successfully completes the Actuarial Science major will:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the foundational mathematical concepts needed for actuarial science.
2. Demonstrate the ability to communicate actuarial mathematics to an appropriate audience, in both written and oral form.
3. Demonstrate competence with software relevant to a career in actuarial science.
4. Demonstrate success in learning mathematical concepts independently.

The SOA and CAS credential professional actuaries through a widely recognized and respected process that involves exams, coursework, and work experience. The Actuarial Science major involves coursework that covers the majority of the syllabi for Exam P/1 (Probability), Exam FM/2 (Financial Mathematics), Exam MFE/3F (Models for Financial Economics), Exam MLC/LC (Models for Life Contingencies), and Exam ST (Stochastic Processes/Statistics). Although not a requirement, students are strongly encouraged to pass at least one if not both of Exams P/1 and FM/2 before graduation. In addition, a student completing the major will be in position to receive credit for all three of the validation by educational experience (VEE) areas required of the SOA and CAS. See below for more information.

Mathematics Faculty

Degree Requirements

Required Mathematics and Computer Science courses (54 credit hours)

MATH 121Introductory Probability and Statistics

3 cr.

MATH 133Calculus I

4 cr.

MATH 134Calculus II

4 cr.

MATH 235Calculus III

3 cr.

MATH 236Differential Equations

3 cr.

MATH 281Foundations of Mathematics I

3 cr.

MATH 306Linear Algebra

3 cr.

MATH 310Theory of Interest

3 cr.

MATH 372Probability

3 cr.

MATH 383Mathematical Statistics

3 cr.

MATH 384Applied Regression & Time Series

3 cr.

MATH 401Actuarial Models I

3 cr.

MATH 402Actuarial Models II

3 cr.

MATH 405Applied Stochastic Processes

3 cr.

MATH 406Mathematical Finance

3 cr.

CS 170Technology in Mathematics

3 cr.

CS 171Programming for Mathematics

4 cr.

Total Credit Hours:54


Other required courses (27 credits)

AC 201/HONB 203Financial Reporting

3 cr.

EC 111Principles of Microeconomics

3 cr.

EC 112Principles of Macroeconomics

3 cr.

ENGL 206Writing for Business

3 cr.

FIN 214Introduction to Finance

3 cr.

FIN 320Intermediate Corporation Finance

3 cr.

FIN 417Investments

3 cr.

ILP 317Management Issues for Professionals

3 cr.

PH 211Business Ethics

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:27


Other Recommended Courses

A student who wishes to use their general electives to obtain additional coursework that supports a career in the actuarial sciences could take any of the following.
AC 202Managerial Accounting

3 cr.

EC 386Econometrics

3 cr.

FIN 418Security Analysis

3 cr.

MATH 420Mathematical Modeling

3 cr.

MATH 421Real Analysis

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:15


Obtaining a Mathematical Sciences Minor

A student obtaining an Actuarial Science major can complete the requirements for the Mathematical Sciences minor by taking one additional course: MATH 412, MATH 418, or MATH 421. In addition, a student wishing to pursue an Economics minor or a Business minor needs to take only three or four additional courses, respectively.

See the Mathematical Sciences Minor for the list of courses.

Actuarial Exams and VEE Credits

The following courses help prepare students for the corresponding SOA or CAS exams.  It should be noted that preparing for an exam requires independent study beyond the coursework.  For complete topics, consult the exam syllabi as published by the SOA or CAS.


SOA Exam

CAS Exam


Exam P

Exam 1

MATH 372

Exam FM

Exam 2

MATH 310

Exam MFE

Exam 3F

MATH 406

Exam MLC

Exam LC*

MATH 401 & MATH 402


Exam ST

MATH 383 & MATH 405


*Passing SOA Exam MLC allows a student to receive credit for CAS Exam LC, but passing CAS Exam LC alone does not allow a student to receive credit for SOA Exam MLC.


The validation by educational experience (VEE) requirement of the SOA and CAS can be obtained by taking the following courses, for which we anticipate VEE approval.  Although VEE experiences can be completed independently of the exam process, a student needs to have passed at least two exams before applying for VEE credit.


VEE Topic



EC 111 & EC 112

Corporate Finance

FIN 214 & FIN 320 & FIN 417

Applied Statistical Methods*

MATH 383 & MATH 384

*Approval expected by Summer 2017

Total Credit Hours: 122