Actuarial Science Major

Program Overview

The Actuarial Science major seeks to build upon the Jesuit tradition of excellence, as embodied in the GEP, by giving students a strong analytical foundation with which to solve the problems encountered in the management of risk. The Actuarial Science major recognizes that success in the actuarial profession derives from the confluence of insightful business perspectives, rigorous analytical reasoning and a love of learning. The Actuarial Science major bridges the traditional distinction at Saint Joseph’s between the Haub School of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences. To be a successful actuary, analytical skills developed in mathematics and economics courses found in the College of Arts and Sciences must be combined with a strong business background utilizing Finance and Decision & System Sciences courses in the Haub School of Business . The Actuarial Science major is, of necessity, an inter-college and interdisciplinary program. The actuarial profession stresses the ‘love of learning’ component not only in word, but also in deed. Actuaries continue to learn throughout their careers and take great pride in passing the strenuous exams their profession requires for certification. The combination of liberal arts Jesuit values with analytical problem solving skills will uniquely position our graduates to assume leadership roles in the field of Actuarial Science.

In addition to the benefits afforded by the Jesuit liberal arts tradition at Saint Joseph’s, the Actuarial Science major has three goals specific to the actuarial profession: First is to maintain a high level of analytical training while providing the business perspectives and love of learning necessary for success in the actuarial profession. Second is to prepare students to take the first three actuarial exams. Third is to make certain that students’ performance in the three Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) courses is sufficient to receive VEE credit upon completion. Actuarial Science majors will thus be ideally poised to enter the actuarial profession.

Learning Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Students will master the quantitative and analytical skills required to obtain an entry level position in the actuarial science profession.

Objective 1.1: Students will be able to apply and use the fundamentals tools of calculus and the principles of mathematical proofs to solve applied and theoretical mathematical problems.

Objective 1.2: Students will be able to demonstrate mastery of the computational skills used in probability theory as well as the use of discrete and continuous probability distributions to model various applications in the natural sciences, engineering, finance, insurance and the social sciences.

Objective 1.3: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of concepts of financial mathematics and how these concepts are applied in the calculation of present and accumulated values of cash flows.

Goal 2: Students will have the knowledge to qualify for professional credentials awarded by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuary Society.

Objective 2.1: Students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of macro and micro economics, corporate finance and statistical modeling and obtain VEE (validation by experience and education) credit from professional actuarial societies.

Objective 2.2: Students will know the content covered in the first three professional actuarial science examinations.  

Goal 3: Students will develop strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Objective 3.1: Students will be able to compile oral presentations and written reports that integrate the best practices of technical writing, business and statistical terminology and critical analysis.

Objective 3.2: Students will be able to actively engage in guest lectures, team projects, campus events and career development workshops.

Goal 4: Students will attain a high level of proficiency in research methodology and computer technology.

Objective 4.1: Students will be able to conduct quantitative research, i.e. select appropriate statistical methodology, use computer software, and make inferences and predictions using data from applications in finance, economics and other disciplines.

Objective 4.2: Students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in the use of computer software such as EXCEL, SPSS and databases.  Students will also be able to do basic computer programming.

The traditional undergraduate programs include 40 courses distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive, and
  3. Writing Intensive. Overlay requirements are part of the forty-course requirement.

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses. Six courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

MAT 161Calculus I4
Natural Science
One semester of any lab-based natural science course
Social Science
ECN 101Introductory Economics Micro3

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses

CSC 120Computer Science I4
ECN 102Introductory Economics Macro3
MAT 162Calculus II4

GEP Electives

Any seven courses

Major Concentration

Select fifteen courses including the following:
Calculus III
Fundamental Ideas of Math
Introduction to Linear Algebra
Mathematical Statistics
Applied Statistical Methods
Intro to Finance
Intermediate Finance
Introduction to Insurance
Concepts: Financial Accounting
Actuarial Probability
Financial Math - Actuarial Sci
Models of Financial Economics
Database Management
Select one of the following Mathematics electives:
Differential Equations
Numerical Analy & Comp Tech
Mathematical Optimization
Operations Research
Course approved by the Actuarial Science program director

Satisfactory completion of the Actuarial Science major automatically qualifies the student to apply for a minor in mathematics; subject to the Mathematics minor GPA restrictions (see the Mathematics section of this catalog). Students are ready to take the first and second actuarial exams at the end of their junior and senior years, respectively. Students are encouraged to participate in a summer internship during their junior/senior year. In the past, these internships have proven to be most valuable to students and their subsequent job search.