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Actuarial Science

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

Actuarial science is the mathematical and statistical underpinning of the design, financing and operation of all types of insurance plans, pension plans and benefit plans. Practitioners of actuarial science, called actuaries, work in the professional areas of life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance, and public and private pension and benefit plans. 

Upon admission to Ohio State, students will be admitted to the actuarial science pre-major. Pre-majors should complete a calculus sequence that is designed for students majoring in mathematics or science and follow calculus with the course on theory of interest and the course on probability in order to prepare early for two of the first actuary exams. In addition, students should take courses in micro and macroeconomics, spreadsheets and databases, and an introductory course in accounting. 

Students are admitted to the major upon successful completion of a probability course (such as Math 4530, Statistics 4201 or Math 5530H) with a grade of B- or better and at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all Ohio State courses or upon the passing of an actuarial examination. 

Major courses are taken in areas including calculus, linear algebra, economics, finance, accounting, probability and statistics, actuarial mathematics, and computer science. 

Not only do the actuarial courses cover the important concepts used by the actuary but the students are well prepared to progress through the actuarial examination process to earn either life and health or property and casualty professional designations.

Many insurance companies and consulting firms offer internship opportunities to actuarial science students, and they regularly come to Ohio State to recruit. Students should work with the Arts and Sciences Center for Career and Professional Success to find these internship opportunities.

Additionally, the math department and the actuarial science club organize information sessions and seminars each autumn semester. Representatives from many companies give presentations about the actuarial profession and their business and explain the opportunities they have for students. These sessions are usually followed by on-campus interviews. 

Actuarial science majors are automatically enrolled as member of the Actuarial Club of Ohio State (ACOS), an organization that informs student about the actuarial profession and helps students prepare for the professional actuarial exams.

Students are also encouraged to join the student chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, an international fraternity for insurance, risk management and actuarial science.

An actuary is likely to work for an insurance company, an actuarial or employee benefit consulting firm, a very large accounting firm or corporation, or a government agency. In the United States and Canada, success on professional actuarial examinations, offered by various professional actuarial organizations, is central to career advancement. A typical actuary takes two or three examinations while still a college student and continues with the examinations through the first five to ten years of actuarial employment, all the while progressing in his or her career.

Beginning salaries for actuaries with a bachelor’s degree range from $50,000 to $65,000 annually, depending on the candidate’s skill, academic record and progress on the professional actuarial examinations while in college.

Actuarial science will develop and refine a student's analytical skills while also preparing for a career in the field of risk assessment and management.