Actuarial Science

About Actuarial Science

The CareerCast job ranking list has Actuary as a top 10 job out of all professions! Main factors in this ranking are job satisfaction, future hiring outlook, and high average pay.  Indeed, actuaries are in demand and are the specialists in the "science of risk." 

Roanoke College is the only institution in Virginia that offers a major in Actuarial Science.  Generally speaking, actuaries are experts in evaluating the likelihood of future events, designing creative ways to reduce undesirable events, and decreasing the impact of these undesirable events should they occur; that is, "actuarial science" can be described as the "science of risk" which takes a combination of strong analytical skills and business knowledge to perform well.

The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in actuarial science here at Roanoke is an interdisciplinary approach to this science of risk that teaches you not only how to do actuarial science, but also the underlying how and why necessary to succeed after college.

A photo of a student parasailing with the words "The Science of Risk" over the photo and the Roanoke College logo in the top left corner

Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science

The Actuarial Science program at Roanoke College is a blend of courses from the Business Administration, Economics, and Mathematics programs that prepares the student for taking credentialing exams; officially, the program is housed in the Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics Department.

The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in actuarial science requires the completion of 13 units of actuarial science, business, economics, mathematics, and statistics courses as seen below (current as of fall 2019, for previous versions, please see the appropriate academic catalog):

  • Mathematics and Statistics Courses
    • MATH 122 Calculus II
    • MATH 321 Vector Calculus
    • STAT 210 Statistical Methods I or STAT 220 Statistical Methods II
    • STAT 301 Mathematical Statistics
  • Actuarial Science Courses
    • ACSI 201 Fundamental Techniques in Accounting and Risk Management
    • ACSI 301 Theory of Interest
  • Business Administration and Economics Courses
    • BUAD 242 Investments
    • BUAD 342 Corporate Finance
    • ECON 121 Principles of Microeconomics
    • ECON 321 Intermediate Microeconomics
    • ECON 348 Econometrics
  • Elective Courses (choose two of the following)
    • BUAD 352 Fixed Income and Derivative Securities
    • BUAD 442 Finance Capstone
    • ECON 227 Health Economics
    • ECON 232 Money and Banking
    • SOCI 223 Ethics and Medicine
    • STAT 304 Applied Regression Analysis

Note that students interested in pursuing health-related careers should take ECON 227 and SOCI 223 as their electives, students interested in pursuing more finance-related careers should take BUAD 442 and ECON 232 as their electives, and students interested in statistics-related careers should take STAT 304 as an electives.

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) offers a series of credentialing exams; students should talk to their advisors about taking these exams. Courses MATH 321, STAT 210/220, and STAT 301 prepare students for SOA EXAM P and courses ACSI 201 and ACSI 301 prepare students for SOA EXAM FM.

Board of Actuaries

Rather than simply have our program run by a group of professors, the Actuarial Science program at Roanoke College has an associated Board of Actuaries; this group of people is comprised of practicing actuaries that know first-hand how the profession works and trends in the industry.  The Board of Actuaries advises the program coordinators on campus to ensure that our program remains up-to-date and relevant and board members also serve as extra advisors to our students, keeping them connected to the industry.

  • Current Board of Actuaries Members
    • Peggy Horn, Morneau Shepell SBC Ltd, Atlanta
    • Seth Roby, Markel Corporation, Richmond
    • Adam Gray, BPS&M/Findley Davies, Nashville

Other Links

Society of Actuaries (SOA) - The Society of Actuaries is the professional organization that represents American actuaries from all major areas except casualty insurance.  The SOA offers a series of credentialing exams; passing exam P and exam FM typically serves as the entry-way to employment immediately upon graduation.
Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) - The Casualty Actuarial Society is the professional organization that represents actuaries primarily in the area of casualty insurance. The CAS works with the SOA on a series of credentialing exams in general and specialized areas.