Calvin's mathematics and statistics program can prepare you well to enter the field of actuarial science. In fact, an increasing number of Calvin students are choosing to prepare for this profession by following our recommended track of courses. These courses (listed below) will get you ready to take the actuarial exam.

What is an actuary?

Actuaries are professionals who construct and use mathematical models to evaluate the likelihood of possible future events and to design ways to reduce the negative consequences of possible outcomes of such events. A majority of actuaries work in the insurance industry, but actuaries can be found in any industry that requires careful planning for the future, especially in the presence of risk. A more detailed description of what an actuary does can be found here.

How to become an actuary?

To become an actuary, you need to meet a series of requirements set by the Society of Actuaries or one of the other more specialized actuarial societies. These requirements consist of educational experiences (college courses), a series of tests and some specialized short courses offered by the Society.

Typically, you will meet the educational experience requirements in college and take one or two tests before you graduate. After graduation from college, most prospective actuaries immediately take positions in the industry and continue taking tests while on the job. Most employers pay for these tests and many give paid time off to study for them. There are also graduate programs in actuarial science, but they are not necessary and a majority of actuaries do not follow this route.

How can Calvin prepare me to be an actuary?

At Calvin, you can take course work to meet all the educational experience requirements of the SOA as well as to prepare for the first test. This is typically all you need to get your first job in the profession. While you need not major in any particular discipline, the ideal preparation will include mathematics, business, economics and computer science courses. The following set of courses is recommended:

  • STAT-343 (Probability and Statistics) and STAT-344 (Mathematical Statistics). This sequence prepares a student for the first exam, Exam P.
  • ECON-343 (Research Methods). This course meets the VEE requirement of Applied Statistical Methods.
  • ECON-221 (Principles of Microeconomics) and ECON-222 (Principles of Macroeconomics). This sequence meets the VEE requirement of Economics.
  • BUS-370 (Financial Principles) and BUS-371 (Financial Instruments and Markets). This sequence meets the VEE requirement of Corporate Finance.

The above courses have prerequisites, so this program actually requires the following courses:

  • MATH-171 Calculus I
  • MATH-172 Calculus II
  • MATH-271 Multivariable Calculus
  • STAT-343 Probability and Statistics
  • STAT-344 Mathematical Statistics
  • BUS-203 Introduction to Managerial Accounting
  • BUS-204 Financial Accounting
  • BUS-370 Financial Principles
  • BUS-371 Financial Instruments and Markets
  • ECON-221 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON-222 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECON-343 Research Methods

Most pre-actuarial students major in mathematics, business, or in the group business/mathematics major.

Useful websites

The pre-actuarial advisor at Calvin is Professor Thomas Scofield. If you are interested in studying to be an actuary, you would be well-advised to talk to him early in your Calvin career.