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Actuarial Science

Guide to
Department of Mathematics
Florida State University

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General information
The undergraduate major
Academic and career advisement
Students already holding a bachelor’s degree
Actuarial program requirements
Upper Division and Specialized Requirements (beyond Prerequisites)
Required Mathematics and Statistics
Required Business and Economics
Additional Course Requirements
Also Recommended
Minimum Total Hours
Other requirements
Outside the classroom
Future Seminole Actuaries
Actuarial internships
Actuarial societies and examinations
FSU courses
Obtaining further information and an application
Prerequisites for required courses beyond calculus
Checklist of Actuarial Science Requirements (.pdf file will open with Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Links to Websites of Interest
Future Seminole Actuaries
FSU Actuarial Science after a Bachelor’s Degree
Guide to Financial Mathematics at Florida State University
Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS)
The Society of Actuaries (SOA)
International Association of Black Actuaries
The American Mathematical Society
The Mathematical Association of America
If you are interested in any of the programs described above, contact the mathematics Academic Advisor (205-D Love Building, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4510; 850/644-5868 or 644-2202; e-mail advisor@math.fsu.edu).

General Information

The current process to become an actuary in the SOA or CAS, or a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) in the SOA, includes passing a sequence of preliminary exams and obtaining validation by educational experience (VEE) in certain academic disciplines. See the Casualty Actuarial Society website or the Society of Actuaries website for more information on the credentialing process from these organizations. The Be An Actuary website is also an excellent source for learning more about the profession.

The Actuarial Science Program at the Florida State University is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major within the Department of Mathematics. Although the program resides in the Department of Mathematics, students who graduate from the program do so with a minor in Business. Between required courses and electives, FSU's program in actuarial science covers material for all of the preliminary exams as well as all VEE areas.

According to the program coordinator, Dr. Steve Paris, the most important functions of an actuarial science program are to help students:
1. prepare for actuarial exams, and
2. connect with employers.
Dr. Paris states, "There is not a program in the country that's doing more to help students prepare for exams and gain employment than FSU's. With respect to exam preparation, in addition to the courses we offer, we have 1-hour seminars that students can take for credit towards graduation that specifically target Exams P/1 and FM/2. We also provide free study material to all of our actuarial science majors, including video lessons and practice problems, for both Exams P/1 and FM/2. Although all universities (including FSU) have some sort of free tutoring center available to general students, we also have an actuarial study hall, that is only open to actuarial science students, with two paid tutors who have each passed actuarial exams, to help our students prepare for their actuarial exams. Finally, we have an exam fee reimbursement program whereby every FSU student who passess an actuarial exam receives a 100% full exam fee reimbursement. With respect to connecting students with employers, each fall we have an FSU Actuarial Science Jobs Fair. This past fall (2022), we had over 25 actuarial employers participate who were seeking to fill internship and full-time positions. Before the jobs fair we have workshops in which we invite professionals to provide assistance to students on resume writing and developing networking skills. During each spring semester, our students participate in FSU's Seminole Futures Career Fair, which is open to all majors. As you can tell, we are fully committed to helping students prepare for actuarial exams and connect with employers."

The FSU Actuarial Science Program is classified as Advanced Curriculum by the Society of Actuaries Listing of Academic Actuarial Science Programs. Note that this is the second highest classification in the listing, with the highest level of classification being the Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) designation. FSU easily exceeds the standards to be a CAE in all categories except those related to credentialing of faculty and faculty research activity. Although Dr. Paris is a credentialed actuary, he is the only credentialed actuary on the FSU faculty, whereas the SOA has deemed that FSU would need at least 3 credentialed actuaries on the faculty to be a CAE. With respect to faculty research activity, the FSU administration believes the actuarial program is most valuable when the faculties' efforts are put forth to improve the functions of helping students prepare for actuarial exams and connect with employers.

The FSU Mathematics Department also offers a Financial Mathematics Master’s Program (http://www.math.fsu.edu/finmath) that includes an Actuarial Science Track. The specialized courses in the Department of Mathematics required for Actuarial Science majors build on earlier mathematics and statistics. Graduate students and mathematically prepared undergraduates in economics, finance, statistics, mathematics, and computer science may elect these courses. The course work in the Financial Mathematics Master's Program involves readings, problem sets and presentations, which model theory through actuarial applications; examinations are typical of mathematics courses. The concentration in Actuarial Science is designed for students pursuing actuarial credentials from one of the professional societies or intending to apply the skills and information of a strong actuarial science program elsewhere in the financial or insurance industries, or in governmental applications. Students already holding the bachelor's degree in another field may pursue this degree. Please see ( “Students already holding a bachelor’s degree” for further options.
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Academic and career advisement

In addition to faculty advisement, the Student Activities Coordinator is available to give advice and to help students with problems. She often maintains contact with employers and keeps students advised by appointment and e-mail of current information and opportunities of interest. By the time of exit interviews at graduation, both she and Dr. Paris know each student well.

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Students already holding a bachelor’s degree

If you want to become an actuary or CERA, and you have earned your Bachelor’s degree but it is not in Actuarial Science, then FSU Mathematics offers several paths, extending its well recognized Actuarial Science undergraduate program and following requirements of the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society (see www.BeAnActuary.org). For each of the degree options students will, as part of their programs, be given the opportunity to qualify for all three of the SOA/CAS VEE credits (Finance, Economics, and Applied Statistics). It is convenient for some students to take some courses in the program as a Special Student, possibly converting to degree status after a term or two. Since it is necessary in order to be competitive in today's job market that students pass at least one actuarial exam while in school, FSU Actuarial Science offers targeted help. The mathematics courses include material in the syllabus for all of the preliminary actuarial exams with optional study beyond. FSU now offers special seminars for Exams P/1 and FM/2. These actuarial exams are part of the preliminary exams that are required for actuarial and CERA designations. FSU Actuarial Science also organizes opportunities to help you find a job before graduation. Students join and participate most Thursday evenings in presentations of the Future Seminole Actuaries (FSA), the undergraduate actuarial science club at Florida State University. The Thursday presentations are sometimes followed by Friday interviews for summer internships and/or full time positions at the respective actuary's company. Many job postings to the student aliases are made by faculty and advisors; they have wide contacts and receive queries from diverse actuarial, governmental, and financial sector employers.

For more information on options for students already holding a bachelor's degree, see www.math.fsu.edu/finmath/Degree/act_sci_options.php.

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Actuarial Program Requirements

If you want to become an actuary, then you are well advised to complete a curriculum which supports requirements of the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society (see www.BeAnActuary.org).

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Upper Division and Specialized Requirements (beyond Prerequisites)

Required Mathematics & Statistics (17 hr)
     MAP 4170 (4) Introduction to Actuarial Mathematics
     MAP 4175 (4) Actuarial Models
     MAT 4930r (4 1-hr repetitions) Actuarial Applications
     STA 4321 (3) Introduction to Math Statistics I

Required Business and Economics (12 hr)
     ACG 2021 (3) Principles of Accounting I
     FIN 3403 (3) Financial Management of the Firm
     RMI 3011 (3) Intro to Risk Management/Insurance
     FIN 4504 (3) Investments

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Additional Course Requirements (Complete at least 6 of the following courses; choice should take into account the students background and goals and prerequisites must be satisfied.)

Specialized Mathematics & Statistics

   Choose at least 2 of the following:
         MAP 2302 (3) Ordinary Differential Equations
         MAP 4176 (4) Actuarial Models and Credibility
         MAS 3105 (4) Applied Linear Algebra I

   Choose at least one of the following:
         MAA 4224 (3) Introduction to Analysis I
         MAA 4226 (3) Advanced Calculus I
         MAA 4227 (3) Advanced Calculus II
         MAD 3703 (3) Numerical Analysis I
         MAP 4341 (3) Elementary Partial Differential Equations I
         MAS 4106 (3) Applied Linear Algebra II
         STA 4203 (3) Applied Regression
         STA 4322 (3) Mathematical Statistics
         STA 4853 (3) Time Series

   Choose at least one of the following:
         ECO 3101 (3) Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
         ECO 3203 (3) Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
         ECO 4401 (3) Intro to Mathematical Economics
         ECO 4421 (3) Introduction to Econometrics
         RMI 4224 (3) Property & Casualty Insur Products
         RMI 4292 (3) Property & Casualty Insur Operations
         RMI 4115 (3) Life & Health Insurance Prod Products
         RMI 4135 (3) Employee Benefits Plans
         FIN 4514 (3) Security Analysis & Portfolio Mgmt

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Also Recommended: MAT 4945r. Internship in Actuarial Science (1-3, S/U graded).

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Minimum Total Hours: 22 SCNS Prerequisite (advised in first two years) + 44-45 required at FSU = total 66-67

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Other Requirements: The liberal studies program of the university provides a broad base of intellectual and multicultural interests and accomplishments. A minimum 40 hours of the total graduation hours must be at the 3xxx or 4xxx level. These courses may be in any field — in the major or in electives. The Department of Mathematics resides in the College of Arts and Sciences, which has a foreign language requirement. See the General Bulletin for complete description of language requirements as well as the liberal studies and multicultural requirements. The student is urged to ask early for advice in planning an individualized program and to follow it carefully. It is important to spread the language and liberal studies requirements somewhat evenly over the entire four years of study, while beginning immediately to take and making progress each term on the sequential required courses of the program. Many of these courses themselves have several prerequisite courses, sometimes in other departments, so careful planning is essential if graduation is to be timely.

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Electives: Some hours may remain after all requirements have been satisfied, and the student is urged to choose these carefully. A faculty committee has consulted with actuaries and with faculty in other actuarial science programs, and recommends first choosing additional courses from the lists above; other good choices, depending on individual goals, are: ACG 3171; BUL 3310; MAA 4402; MAP 4103; MAP 4180; MAP 4202; MAS 4302; RMI 4295; RMI 4420; SPC 1600

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Outside the classroom

Students in the program are busy with all of the occupations and pleasures of the undergraduate life — plus a major forward-looking responsibility: on an individual basis, studying for and passing actuarial examinations. Many of the students hold part-time jobs, often utilizing the skills they are developing. The students are active in social, political, and community service activities. There is a mathematics club in which actuarial students are often active along with other departmental majors with whom they share early classes. In addition to the FSA, many are active in Gamma Iota Sigma , an international risk mangagement, insurance, and actuarial science fraternity. Several actuarial science majors are members and officers of the local FSU chapter

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Actuarial exam tutorials. A credit course, Actuarial Applications, provides tutoring for students to enhance their competitive position for jobs by exam preparation. With 12-15 hours per week of tutorials available, and preparatory materials made available, students have more opportunity to pass exams while at FSU.

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Future Seminole Actuaries. The Future Seminole Actuaries (FSA) is a non-dues paying club that sponsors many academic and social activities. The club hosts outside speakers from government and industry that make presentations to its members about what it means to be a “student actuary”. Graduates from past years are well placed in industry and government and they and their employers have been generous with their experience and advice to the current students. Presentations are made on Thursday evenings and are preceded by a pizza and refreshments party. Most Thursday presentations are followed by Friday interviews for summer internships and/or full time positions at the respective actuary's company.

The FSA also organizes many social activities as well. Most notably, each fall the FSA hosts a “Fall Tailgate Party” before one of the home football games. Other social activities the FSA hosts have included an “actuarial exams are over ice cream social”, and it organizes many outings for dinner. The FSA invites all alumni to these special events.

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Actuarial internships. Several students in the program have participated in internship activities with insurers and governmental agencies. The proximity of the State of Florida Department of Insurance and other departments with actuarial applications is a useful resource; some choose employment there after graduation. Summer internships are available from many employers nationwide. They are a long tradition in actuarial science. In case of summer or academic year internships (the latter typically in a local governmental agency), academic credit may be earned (consult Dr. Paris) in MAT 4945r. Internship in Actuarial Science (1-3). (S/U grade only.)

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Actuarial societies and examinations

There are several actuarial societies that credential actuaries. A helpful publication: Write to the American Society of Student Actuaries, 1400 Opus Place, Suite 960, Downers Grove, IL 60515, and ask to subscribe to The Student Actuary; the cost is minimal.

The two largest actuarial societies and their informative websites are:

  1. The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is “an educational research and professional membership organization”. Their statement of purpose goes on to say “Actuarial Science is built on the evaluation of the financial, economic and other implications of future contingent events. The actuary is trained to analyze uncertainty, risk and probabilities. The actuary’s domain includes financial security programs and other programs involving contingencies such as death, disability, property damage and retirement”. The SOA address is: Society of Actuaries, 475 N. Martingale Road, Suite 800, Schaumburg, IL 60173-2226. The phone number is (847) 706-3500. (http://www.soa.org)
  2. The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) “has as one of its primary objectives the development of qualified professionals in the field of casualty actuarial practice”. The CAS address is: Casualty Actuarial Society, 1100 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201. The phone number is (703) 276-3100. (http://www.casact.org)
Students are required to take courses designed to assist them in successful completion of the earlier actuarial examinations, and they are provided group support and strong encouragement for completing some of these before award of the degree. Note that the courses do not “prepare“ the student for the examinations: That must be accomplished by individual study.

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FSU Courses

The following concordance between course material and some of the current preliminary CAS and SOA exams may be helpful:

Exam Required Courses Available Electives
SOA P / CAS 1 STA 4321; MAT 4930  
SOA FM / CAS 2 MAP 4170; MAT 4930  
CAS 3F FIN 4514  
SOA FAM MAP 4175; MAP 4934  
CAS MAS-I MAP 4934  
SOA SRM   STA 4322; STA 4853
CAS 5   MAP 4934

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The program is resident in the Department of Mathematics. Students have the opportunity to profit from instruction by many of its award-winning faculty members in their earlier courses such as calculus and ODE. Dr. Stephen P. Paris is Coordinator of the Actuarial Science Program. He teaches the specialized actuarial science courses and is the faculty advisor. Faculty from mathematics and the associated departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Social Sciences, and the College of Business work closely with students.

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Obtaining an application

For information about applications and deadlines:

Office of Admissions
Florida State University
University Center A 2249
Tallahassee, Florida 32306-1009

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Faculty and staff involved with the program may also be contacted for specific information

For individual academic advisement:

Dr. Stephen P. Paris
Academic Advisor Coordinator of Actuarial Science
205-D Love Building 202A Love Building
Department of Mathematics
Florida State University
Room 208 LOV
1017 Academic Way
Tallahassee, Florida 32306-4510
phone: 850/644-5868 phone: 850/644-4419
fax: 850/644-4053
email: advisor@math.fsu.edu email: paris@math.fsu.edu

Dr. Bettye Anne Case, the founder of FSU's Actuarial Science Program, continues to serve as a consultant for the program.

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Prerequisites for required courses beyond calculus
  course prerequisites* offered *
+ MAP 4170 MAC 2312 F, Sp, Su
MAP 4175 MAP 4170 and STA 4321 F only
  MAP 4176 MAP 4175 Sp
  MAD 3703 MAC 2312, MAS 3105 and a sci prog lang (C++, ForTran) F (only!)
  MAP 2302 MAC 2312 F, Su
+ MAS 3105 MAC 2312 F, Sp, Su
  MAP 4341 MAC2313 and {MAP2302 or 3305} F, Su
  MAS 4106 MAC2313 and MAS3105 Su
  MAA4224 or 4226 MAC 2313, MAS 3105, MGF 3301 (latter can be waived) F
  MAA 4227 MAA 4226, MAS 3105, MAC 2313  
+ C++ MAC 1140 (Instead: if C++ is exempted, then MAD 3703 or JAVA may be taken) F, Sp, Su
+ ECO 2013   F, Sp, Su
+ ECO 2023   F, Sp, Su
  ECO 3101 { (ECO 2013 and ECO 2023) or (ECO 2013 with an "A", by permission) }  
  ECO 3203 { (ECO 2013 and ECO 2023) }  
  ECO 4401 {ECO 2023 or ECO 3101} and MAC 2311 (Rec: ECO 2013) F (only!)
  ECO 4421 ECO 2023 and STA 3014, 2122 or 4322 (Rec: ECO2013) Sp (only!)
  STA 3203 STA 2122 or STA 4322 check with dept
  STA 4321 MAC 2313  
+ STA 4322 MAC 2313, STA 4321 Sp (only!)
  STA 4853 STA 2122 or STA 4322 Sp (only!)
+ ACG 2021   F, Sp, Su
+ FIN 3403 ACG 2021 and {ECO 2023 or ECO 3101} F, Sp, Su
+ FIN 4504 FIN3403 and any statistics **(FIN3244 is not required for Actuarial Science Students) F, Sp, Su
  FIN 4514 FIN4504 F, Sp
+ RMI 3011 Any probability or statistics (can be concurrent; sometimes waived) F, Sp, Su
+ RMI 4115 RMI 3011 F, Sp
  RMI 4135 RMI 3011 **
+ RMI 4224 RMI 3011 F, Sp
  RMI 4292 RMI 3011, RMI 4224, FIN 3403 F, Sp

* The information above has been collected for your long-term planning, but there are often changes. You are responsible for checking the current University Bulletin and Schedule of Classes. Terms in which particular courses are taught depend on many factors and the student should check schedule of classes.

+ This course is itself prerequisite for some other program course. Plans should be made to work in these courses as early possible when they are prerequisites to courses you must or want to take.

** Alternates with RMI 4295; check with RMI department for next offering after Fall 97, which is RMI 4135.

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Last modified: 19 September 2014

For more information, contact the FSU Math Program Assistant at graduate_admissions@math.fsu.edu