Actuarial Science

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. To be eligible for a job in this industry, candidates must pass a series of actuarial exams. The major curriculum is specifically geared towards preparing students to take up to five exams before receiving their undergraduate degree, creating a competitive advantage in a job search.

Pre-Major and Application

All students interested in the actuarial science program within the Department of Mathematics will start out in the pre-major.  Once students have completed the requirements to be enrolled in the major, they can meet with an academic advisor to file the application at which time the advisor will change their major from pre-actuarial science to actuarial science.  In order for students to meet the minimum requirements and be enrolled in the program, they must fulfill the following two requirements:

  1. Have a cumulative GPA (for courses taken at OSU) of at least a 3.0,  and
  2. Earn a B- or better in Math 4530, Stat 4201, or Math 5530H (must be taken at OSU, not transferred in) OR pass one of the preliminary actuarial exams administered by SOA/CAS*.

This is to ensure that students majoring in actuarial science will be successful in their career field and competitive candidates when applying for jobs.

*Note that a copy of the official notice from SOA/CAS showing passing of the exam must be provided at the time of applying to the major.

Program Requirements

The goals of the actuarial science major curriculum are twofold:

  1. To supply a strong general background in mathematics, statistics, and relevant concepts within actuarial science and business.
  2. To prepare students to take some of the national actuarial examinations administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. 

Prerequisite Courses

  • Math 1151 Calculus 1 (5 cr.)
  • Math 1152  Calculus 2 (5 cr.)
  • Acct 2000 Foundations of Accounting (3 cr.) or Acct 2200 Introduction to Accounting (3 cr.)
  • Econ 2001.01 Principles of Microeconomics (3 cr.)
  • Econ 2002.01 Principles of Macroeconomics (3 cr.)
  • One of the following:
    • CSE 1222 Introduction to Programming in C++ (3 cr.)
    • CSE 1223 Introduction to Programming in Java (3 cr.)
    • CSE 2111 Modeling and Problem Solving with Spreadsheets and Databases (3 cr.)

Actuarial Science Major Course Requirements

**A recommended extra course but not a designated requirement is also Math 3532 Mathematical Foundations of Actuarial Science (3 cr.)


Actuarial Exams

In order for students to be competitive applicants when applying for positions and successful actuaries once hired, they should take and pass at least 1 of the 5 preliminary exams. However, taking more is highly recommended. Exam topics range from probability and financial math to life contingencies. These exams do not need to be taken in any particular order, but most of the latter exams rely heavily on material covered in both Exams P/1 and FM/2. For more information on becoming an actuary, registering for preliminary exams, exam study materials, and more, please visit any of the following websites:

  • Be An Actuary -- find details about what an actuary is, what they do on the job, how to get started down this career path, requirements/listings for actuary positions and internships, etc.
  • Society of Actuaries -- find details about exam testing dates and study materials, the levels of progression through the actuarial career ladder, continuing professional development requirements/offerings, VEE credit requirements, etc.
  • Casualty Actuarial Society -- find details about exam testing dates and study materials, seminars and online education opportunities, view publications and research in the actuary field, etc.
  • Canadian Institute of Actuaries -- find information about the actuarial profession, review publications and research, take part in seminars/education opportunities, etc.

VEE (Validation by Educational Experience)

In addition to passing the preliminary actuarial exams, students and actuaries must complete VEE requirements in order to progress in their career field and be eligible for a membership in any of the actuary societies. There are a total of three VEE topics jointly sponsored by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA):

  • Economics
  • Corporate Finance
  • Applied Statistical Methods

In the actuarial science major, students complete the necessary requirements for the Economics VEE as a part of their major coursework. The other two VEE topics can also be covered through courses taken at OSU. A list of courses that qualify is available in the math advising office or online at any of the sponsoring organizations' websites.


Here at The Ohio State University, we have an Actuarial Science Club that meets each semester to hold group study sessions, hear local employers speak about opportunities in their company, and more. Information is emailed out to all students enrolled in the actuarial science major and pre-major. Students seeking more information about the actuarial science major and career are encouraged to contact Professor Ban or Professor Evans.