10 Best Actuarial Science Programs 2024

Author: Bambi Majumdar
Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson, MS.Ed.
Reading Level: Grade 10
Reading Time: 18 minutes, 39 seconds
Original Publication Date: December 2015
Updates: 2

If you are looking for the best actuarial science programs, then consider your search over. We have researched and collected the names of some of the top actuarial science programs in the country featuring bachelor’s degree options. While most of them are on-campus programs, some schools offer an online format as well. These schools rank high not just for the quality of their actuarial science programs but also for graduate placements. 

Studying actuarial science at the bachelor’s degree level applies risk management and probability theory to various fields. Some of these include:

Featured Programs

  • Property and casualty insurance
  • Life and health insurance
  • Pension plans
  • Varied employee benefit plans

Students who study actuary science learn to use statistics and data to calculate the risk of future events and occurrences. Their goal is to test the financial repercussions of such events. This helps them reduce the risk for individuals or businesses.

best actuarial science programs

A bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science can be offered as a BS or a BA, though the BS is more common. Most schools consider it a STEM degree. Thus, they often deliver it via their mathematics or statistics departments. To succeed, students must have a strong knowledge of:

  • Math
  • Statistics
  • Actuarial Science

They also rely on critical thinking skills. The program prepares them to apply numerical concepts to real-world situations. It also asks that they translate those concepts into more straightforward language for all stakeholders to understand.

CVO has researched the schools that offer accredited and recognized actuarial science programs. We then zeroed down on the top undergraduate actuarial science programs. These programs provide comprehensive training in the field, resulting in actuarial science degrees. Click here to learn more about our methodology. The following are the top actuarial science colleges in the country:

#10. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH  

BS Actuarial Science Degree Program

Website
Tuition: $12,485
Points: 11

Ohio State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science for students interested in this field. The program teaches students real business. It accomplishes this goal through a course in actuarial practice, professional information sessions, and seminars. The core actuarial courses prepare students for topics such as:

  • Probability and statistics
  • Financial economics
  • Life contingencies
  • Interest theory and loss models
  • Predictive modeling and quantitative risk management

In addition to applied statistics and applied mathematics, the major curriculum prepares students to take up to five exams. Plus, the actuarial exam passing rate among students continues to improve. Students learn about handling risks in the financial market through real-life scenarios and experiential learning. This prepares them for actuarial practice.  

Fast Facts

  • 121 credits
  • Offered through: College of Arts and Science 
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation:  Higher Learning Commission
  • Financial Aid Available

Pros:

  • Top-rated public school
  • Smaller class sizes

Cons:

  • Less diverse
  • More competitive

#9. Appalachian State University

Boone, NC 

BS – Actuarial Science

Website
Tuition: $7,450
Points: 12

Appalachian State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science degree program. It is the only major in the University of North Carolina system specifically designed to prepare students to be actuaries. Students build a firm foundation in managing risk by combining their applied statistics, mathematics, economics, and finance knowledge. The program prepares them for the first three actuarial exams:

  • Exam FM – Financial Mathematics
  • Exam P – Probability
  • Exam MLC – Models for Life Contingencies

The major prepares graduates for many successful careers. Possible roles include jobs that use numbers to evaluate the probability of future risks. Others involve designing creative ways to reduce risk and decrease the impact of such occurrences. 

Fast Facts

  • 120 credits
  • Offered through: College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation:  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Pros:

  • Top regional university
  • High acceptance rate

Cons:

  • Less diverse

#8. University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Lincoln, NE

Actuarial Science BS

Website
Tuition: $9,872
Points: 12

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln offers a Bachelor of Science degree for students interested in actuarial science. The analytical program combines the knowledge of economics, finance, applied mathematics, and statistics. The coursework is approved for the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) program. It prepares students to pass professional actuarial examinations. Graduates can:

  • Apply the concept of actuarial science in solving problems related to financial security
  • Understand practical applications of actuarial theory like assumption setting, the professional code of conduct, Actuarial Standards of Practice, and effective communication
  • Transition from actuarial theory to actuarial practice
  • Communicate the results of quantitative analysis effectively

Actuarial science students also learn to apply tools to complete actuarial tasks. This includes digital applications like spreadsheets and actuarial software.

Fast Facts

  • 120 credits
  • Offered through: College of Arts & Sciences
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation:  Higher Learning Commission

Pros:

  • Nationally ranked public school
  • Higher acceptance rate
  • Smaller class sizes

Cons:

  • Less diverse

#7. Binghamton University

Binghamton, NY 

Actuarial Science BS

Website
Tuition: $10,363
Points: 12

One of the nation’s best actuarial science colleges, Binghamton University offers a Bachelor of Science degree program to its student body. Students learn to combine the knowledge of economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics for actuarial work. Core curriculum classes prepare students for concepts such as:

  • Calculus and Linear Algebra
  • Computing; Economics 
  • Actuarial foundation courses
  • Actuarial electives
  • Advanced math; Advanced Economics 

Graduates also learn to apply the concept of actuarial science and theory. This helps them solve problems related to financial risks and effects. They also learn to verbally and theoretically communicate the results of their analysis to stakeholders. Finally, they learn and apply actuarial theory. This includes assumption setting, the professional code of conduct, and Actuarial Standards of Practice.

Fast Facts

  • 126 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Mathematical Sciences
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation:  Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Pros:

  • Nationally ranked public school
  • Higher graduation rate

Cons:

  • More competitive

#6. Baruch College 

New York, NY

BA in Actuarial Science

Website
Tuition: $7,464
Points: 13

Baruch College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Actuarial Science. This program prepares students to take and pass the first five examinations given by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). They learn to apply mathematical principles and techniques to solve problems in the insurance industry and other actuarial science jobs. In addition to applied mathematics and applied statistics, the highly structured program offers elective options for actuarial science students like:

  • Numerical Methods for Differential Equations in Finance   
  • Computational Methods in Probability         
  • Actuarial Mathematics          
  • Mathematics of Inferential Statistics
  • Short-Term Insurance Mathematics
  • Data Analysis and Simulation for Financial Engineers

Graduates of the best actuarial science colleges learn to predict the likelihood of certain events. Examples include death, accident, or disability. 

Fast Facts

  • 120 credits
  • Offered through: Weissman School of Arts and Sciences
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation:  Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Pros:

  • Top public school
  • More diverse

Cons:

  • More competitive

#5. Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

BS in Actuarial Science

Website
Tuition: $5,656
Points: 13

Florida State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science. It is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that prepares students for various exams. Examples include SOA Exam P, Exam IFM, Exam LTAM, Exam FM, and Exam STAM. It is classified as an Advanced Curriculum by the Society of Actuaries Listing of Academic Actuarial Science Programs. Core curriculum coursework for actuarial science students includes:

  • Introduction to Actuarial Mathematics
  • Actuarial Models
  • Actuarial Applications
  • Introduction to Math Statistics 

Students in these actuarial programs receive broad instructions in various mathematical, statistical, economic, and business concepts. The curriculum prepares them for careers in property, casualty, and life insurance agencies. Graduates may also find actuarial science jobs in governmental agencies and consulting firms. 

Fast Facts

  • 68-69 credits
  • Offered through:  College of Arts and Sciences
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation:  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Pros:

  • Top-rated public school
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Higher graduation rate

Cons:

  • More competitive

#4. University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

BS in Actuarial Science

Website
Tuition: $6,368
Points: 13

The University of Central Florida offers a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science. Students who complete this major also meet the requirements for a Statistics minor. They are prepared to take the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) Exam 1, Exam 2, and Exam 3F. The major meets the Society of Actuaries (SOA) Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) requirements in the areas of: 

  • Economics
  • Corporate Finance 
  • Mathematical Statistics 

It also prepares students for actuarial exams like the SOA Exam P, Exam IFM, Exam LTAM, Exam FM, and Exam STAM. They are well-trained for successful careers, especially in the insurance industry. 

Fast Facts

  • 120 credits
  • Offered through: College of Sciences
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation:  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Pros:

  • Nationally ranked public school
  • More diverse

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes
  • More competitive

#3. Brigham Young University

Provo, UT

BS in Actuarial Science

Website
Tuition: $6,304
Points: 14

Brigham Young University offers a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science. Students are trained in statistical sciences to analyze the financial consequences of risk. They learn to evaluate the likelihood of risks and develop creative plans to reduce their likelihood. They also seek to decrease the impact of adverse effects associated with risks.  Coursework required of actuarial science students includes:

  • Probability and Inference: Introduction to Bayesian Statistics
  • Actuarial Problems; Statistical Models for Financial Economics
  • Data Science Methods and Applications in Statistics; Theory of Risk
  • Nonparametric Statistical Methods; Statistical Learning and Data Mining
  • Analysis of Correlated Data; Survival Analysis
  • Statistical Distributions for Actuarial Modeling and Data Analytics

Graduates combine statistics, analytical skills, mathematics, business knowledge, and financial theory for their work. They also use an understanding of human behavior to study and manage risks. 

Fast Facts

  • 120 credits
  • Offered through: College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation:  Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Pros:

  • Best value school

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes
  • Low graduation rate
  • Less diverse

#2. Auburn University

Auburn, AL

Actuarial Science BS

Website
Tuition: $12,176
Points: 14

Auburn University offers an actuarial science degree in Applied Mathematics. This program includes an Actuarial Science Option. The program encourages students to apply mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in finance, insurance, and other industries. Coursework for actuarial science students includes: 

  • Principles of Business Finance; Statistics Requisite
  • Probability and Statistics; Actuarial Seminar in Probability
  • Actuarial Seminar in the Mathematics of Finance
  • Advanced Business Finance; Actuarial Mathematics
  • Math Modeling Continuous

Graduates learn to apply rigorous mathematics to model matters of uncertainty. They use probability and statistics to analyze, define, and solve the financial effects of uncertain future risks. 

Fast Facts

  • 120 credits
  • Offered through: College of Sciences and Mathematics
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Pros:

  • Nationally ranked public school

Cons:

  • More competitive
  • Less diverse
  • Larger class sizes

#1. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX 

Mathematics—Actuarial Science Major (B.S.)

Website
Tuition: $11,698
Points: 16

The University of Texas at Austin offers an actuarial science degree in Mathematics. This program features a concentration in Actuarial Science. The interdisciplinary program prepares students for the various exams they must take to become professional actuaries. Coursework is designed to prepare students in the following areas:

  • Economics & accounting; Finance
  • Linear algebra; Probability and statistics
  • Foundational actuarial coursework
  • Advanced actuarial coursework
  • Inquiry-based learning (IBL)
  • Completed upper-division Math

The program received the 2018 Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) University Award. This award is given to programs that excel in preparing students for successful careers in the property and casualty (P&C) industry. The Actuarial Science Program has a long and distinguished history of producing leaders in the actuarial profession as well as accomplished graduate students in the field. 

Fast Facts

  • 120 credits
  • Offered through: College of Natural Sciences
  • Format: On-campus
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Pros:

  • Top 10 public school
  • More diverse
  • High graduation rate

Cons:

  • More competitive

More About Bachelor’s in Actuarial Science Programs 

best actuarial science programs

What is an actuarial science degree?

An actuarial science degree teaches students how to use statistics and mathematics to assess financial risks in various fields like insurance and finance. They are also required to analyze these risks and compare it to coverage costs. Courses prepare students in the areas of math, statistics, calculus, probability, and science.

Most actuarial scientists work for insurance companies or financial institutions. An actuarial scientist’s work is to benefit the client and the insurance company. They do so by determining rates for insurance premiums and designing pension packages. 

Actuarial science in life insurance involves examining certain variables to determine premium costs. Examples include mortality rates, life expectancies, and possible recovery times of an ailment. An actuarial science in health insurance involves looking at the cost of lab work and treatment for a specific medical condition. The goal here is to give a person a reasonable cost of coverage. An actuarial science degree also prepares students for work in government agencies. Here, they use statistics and data to calculate the risk of certain events. The main role is to analyze and suggest ways to reduce the risk of these events either for the individual or the business.

What are the best schools for actuarial science students? 

  • New York University (NYU Stern)
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Butler University
  • Northwestern College
  • Penn State University
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Ohio Northern University
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri
  • Ohio University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Arizona State University
  • The University of Iowa
  • University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  • Ohio State University
  • Appalachian State University
  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Binghamton University
  • Baruch College
  • Florida State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • Brigham Young University
  • Auburn University
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • University of Texas at Austin

What do actuarial science majors cover?

Programs for actuarial science majors prepare students to identify and assess risks. They also learn to determine possible outcomes. Other concepts the program addresses include statistics, computer science, complex mathematics, and probability. Students also identify patterns to locate potential risks, find ways to resolve issues, and avoid financial loss. Students who are very detail-oriented and good with research and numbers will excel in actuarial science programs.

The top undergraduate actuarial science degrees offer courses on:

best actuarial science programs
  1. Principles of micro and macroeconomics
  2. Financial accounting
  3. Econometrics
  4. Multivariate statistics
  5. Probability and stochastic processes
  6. Calculus
  7. Risk models
  8. Insurance law and regulation

Actuarial students are taught to use their digital skills and knowledge to research past data. This research involves looking for relevant trends or inconsistencies. Their findings can determine how much premium should be charged for different types of insurance plans. They use their conclusions to make suggestions or improvement plans for the financial health of organizations. 

Students need to pass the actuarial exams to work as actuaries. These exams require intense preparation. Thus, the best actuarial science colleges are excellent at preparing students for these tests. The curricula for these programs are specifically designed to help students pass these exams. Still, most students go on to pursue master’s degrees. These programs help students further develop advanced mathematics skills. These skills include analysis and problem-solving abilities, oral and written communication, and digital skills. 

Some actuarial science colleges offer these programs via their business schools. As an actuary, students need to have a solid understanding of how businesses work. They also need to be aware of the biggest risks to an organization’s financial stability. With this knowledge, graduates can go on to work as financial planners, risk analysts, and business analysts.

The work of an actuary is significant for the financial health and stability of various organizations. Examples include insurance firms, government agencies, and other financial institutions. Individuals with analytical minds who like to work with numbers may be interested in becoming actuarial scientists. The best candidates are also good at following patterns and trends. Actuaries usually work in highly structured, complex environment. They are keen problem solvers and use advanced mathematics to find solutions to prevent risks. 

What can you do with an actuary degree?

Actuaries who graduate from the best actuarial science colleges are highly sought after in the insurance industry. This is because top graduates can ensure the stability of the industry by predicting specific patterns and taking preemptive measures. They are in demand in other industries as well. This includes the financial sector and government agencies. A graduate with an actuarial science degree can earn approximately $100,000 a year. 

Those students who pursue advanced actuarial science degrees will have more opportunities. They can work as financial analysts and consultants, for example. Some may work in investment companies, brokerage firms, and lending institutions. They help companies understand the trends in the economy and financial markets. Analysts and actuaries help identify trends that may cause an abnormally high level of risk for certain stakeholders. Examples include individuals who need to borrow funds or clients who invest. 

Some of the actuary degree jobs include:

best actuarial science programs
  • Business analysts
  • Insurance actuarial analyst
  • Financial analysts
  • Financial consultants
  • Actuarial consultant
  • Intelligence agency analysts
  • Risk analyst
  • Budget analysts
  • Investment analyst
  • Research analysts
  • Insurance underwriters or insurance claims adjusters
  • Actuary science teachers

What is the job outlook for an actuarial science major?

The job outlook for individuals holding an actuarial science degree is favorable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual pay is $113,990 per year. BLS also predicts jobs for actuarial science majors will grow by 23 percent through 2032. This is a significantly higher growth figure than the average career. The earning potential is high even with a bachelor’s degree, which is rare for most other fields. Most jobs for actuarial scientists are in insurance or finances. Still, there are other opportunities in industries that include risk assessments and investments. 

How much do the best actuarial science degree programs cost?

The cost of actuarial science degree programs can vary, even among the best actuarial science colleges. They can range from the high 50ks to very affordable tuition rates of 5k per year. It is important to note here that the cost of the program does not always determine its quality. The leading national universities offer some of the more expensive programs. Regional schools typically provide more affordable options.

How to choose from the top undergraduate actuarial science degrees?

The best schools for an actuarial science degree program are good at preparing students with mathematical, statistical, and scientific skills. These skills are necessary to predict specific patterns and identify various types of risks. Students must choose an actuarial science major that offers the right tools for actuary training. They should also consider other factors for each degree program. Examples include the format, accelerated options, cost, coursework, etc.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Online or traditional format: Traditional schools can be more expensive than online programs. This depends on the type of school in question, though. But most of the top undergraduate actuarial science degrees are offered on-campus. It is easier to find a master’s degree in the field online. Students attend a campus that best fits their needs, be it cost-wise or commute-wise. 

Regardless of the format, the best actuarial science programs excel at preparing students with the skills they need to excel as actuaries. Once enrolled, they master knowledge and skills in research, critical thinking, data collection, and strategic analysis. 

Cost: The cost of the actuarial science degree program is an important consideration for most students. Private universities have higher tuition rates than public universities. Plus, online colleges and universities are typically more cost-effective and affordable. To reduce costs, you may consider attending a community college, either locally or out of state. Just be sure to check the transfer policies of the four-year college of your choice.

On-campus students pursuing actuarial science degrees spend a considerable amount on school expenses. This includes tuition, fees, living expenses, the cost of books and supplies, and other school-related items. There are also personal expenses and transportation to consider. However, they can also apply for and get scholarships, aids, and tuition waivers which can bring down the cost of attendance. 

It is important to note here that the degree and quality of education are not directly proportional to the cost. The best schools for actuarial science are known for their high academic standards. Moreover, their students are known to excel in various fields.

Online programs may offer a viable alternative to on-campus programs. They are flexible and designed for working adults. Here, students can complete their education and get an advanced degree without leaving their day jobs. Still, students must research the school they plan to attend. This is true for both online and traditional brick-and-mortar schools. They should consider various programmatic factors. Some of these include the school’s accreditation, the school’s admissions rate, faculty profiles, graduation rate, student support, and graduate employment rate.

Accreditation: The accreditation process is important. That’s because it helps prospective students understand the quality of an academic program. The role of accreditation is to develop a standards-based evaluation process. This process determines whether a program offers a high-quality learning experience. An accredited program adds to a program’s credibility and recognition. Accreditation organizations offer insight into the programs that best meet standards for excellence. Colleges and universities can achieve recognition for quality in various areas. Examples include academics, services, and other benchmarks. 

The main accreditation commissions students and professionals should consider are:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Accreditation agencies gather information and resources on academic programs. They then provide links to the various regional commissions covering states across the country. Accreditors use this process to assess how an educational institution meets certain criteria. Some employers may offer tuition assistance based on whether an employee attends an accredited institution. Furthermore, accreditation is often a prerequisite for grant, aid, or scholarship funding for students. 

Then there is programmatic accreditation to consider. This type of accreditation assesses specific aspects of a degree program. Some of these aspects include curriculum, faculty and staff performances, and program outcomes. Programmatic accrediting agencies offer an evaluation-based standard for the program. This standard is based on criteria established by nationally recognized accreditation commissions.

Some schools seek out specialized organizations to support their knowledge and industry-based credentials. Specialized accreditation in actuarial science proves certain knowledge and expertise unique to a prestigious accredited academic institution. It also reflects the programmatic excellence of top undergraduate actuarial science programs. Recognition from professional organizations is important. This type of distinction makes it easier for students to pursue higher education or get jobs. 

The best actuarial science programs follow standards established by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA). These are the actuarial organizations that standardize and regulate actuaries in the United States.

What is the difference between CAS vs. SOA?

The primary difference between the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA) is that they each support actuaries in different industries. 

The CAS provides standards and regulations for actuarial work in property and casualty (P&C) insurance. 

The Society of Actuaries provides standards and regulations for actuarial work in other areas. These include life, health, pensions, and retirement.

Students can consult with their advisors to decide which path they wish to follow on their way to an actuarial career. They can then choose a program that aligns with one of these organizations’ standards. For working adults already in the actuary field, the choice may depend on the field they are working in. Along with various rules and regulations of each agency, there may be other differences. These can include the exam process, salary, and type of work, for instance. 

Each actuarial society has a different set of exams. Both require one to pass ten exams, along with some other requirements that need to be fulfilled. The SOA exams teach concepts that life, health, pension, and retirement actuaries need to know. The CAS exams teach concepts that P&C actuaries need. Thus, there is one track of exams (Fellow of the CAS or FCAS) to follow. 

The SOA has six different tracks since it covers more areas. Students taking the SOA exams specialize in different areas. Specializations vary depending on interests or career goals. These different tracks include:

  • Corporate Finance and ERM Track
  • General Insurance Track
  • Individual Life and Annuities Track
  • Quantitative Finance and Investment Track
  • Retirement Benefits Track
  • Group and Health Track

Students will first complete all the preliminary exams and get their ASA (Associate of the SOA). They can then decide on a particular track to complete and become a Fellow of the SOA (FSA).

This concludes our ranking of the best actuarial science programs for undergraduates.

Sources

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) 
  • Society of Actuaries (SOA)  
  • U.S. News & World Report