Actuarial Science B.S.
RMU's B.S. in Actuarial Science is an internationally recognized program that prepares students for successful and rewarding careers as actuaries. Recognized by the Society of Actuaries as one of only 19 Centers of Actuarial Excellence in the country, RMU places a priority on professional certification exams, with curriculum that integrates the mathematical foundations of actuarial science with intensive business education and communication skills. Students gain cultural and civic awareness as well as the technical proficiency and analytical ability to be productive professionals.
Build Career Connections
Graduates become actuaries — consistently ranked as one of the best professional careers — at leading health, life, and accident insurance companies. Students often attain paid internships with these same companies. Dozens of local and national employers attend RMU’s annual Actuarial Science Career Day, including Aetna, Cheiron Consulting, Cigna, Erie Insurance, Highmark, Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Nationwide, Northwestern Mutual, Penn Mutual, Progressive, and UPMC.
David Hudak, Ph.D.
Department Head, Mathematics
Christophe Groendyke, Ph.D.
Director, Actuarial Science
- 4-Year Course Plan
Freshman Year, Fall
Freshman Year, Spring
Sophomore Year, Fall
Sophomore Year, Spring
Junior Year, Fall
Junior Year, Spring
Senior Year, Fall
- Additional Program Details
Actuaries apply mathematical principles and techniques to solve problems in finance, insurance, and related fields. They are involved with every aspect of the insurance industry and must possess strong mathematical skills and a solid business background to apply their technical knowledge.
Actuaries are responsible for determining rates and premiums on insurance policies and forecasting future events affecting the soundness of insurance programs. Some actuaries work with consulting firms as advisors to corporations regarding human resource and pension benefits. Government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration or insurance regulatory boards, also employ actuaries. Actuaries can specialize in life and health insurance, in property and casualty insurance, or in pension benefit programs. The profession is also at the forefront in the evolving field of predictive analytics providing actuaries with another career path option. Half of all certified actuaries work for insurance companies, one third for independent consulting companies and the remainder in education, government, and corporations.
The RMU Advantage
- RMU's actuarial science curriculum is specifically designed to help prepare students for the first seven professional actuarial exams, administered by the Society of Actuaries. There are fewer than 60 such programs in the United States, and RMU is one of only 16 designated as Centers of Actuarial Excellence.
- Classes are small and informal, taught by experienced professors dedicated to undergraduate education. We provide exam preparation seminars and impress upon our students an appreciation for the high level of commitment required to pass these professional exams.
- Special practice courses are offered in Life Insurance, Health Insurance, and Pension consulting. Each course is taught by an actuary who had worked or is currently working in these fields.
- Training to use technology begins in the freshman year and is integrated throughout the curriculum. Students gain the skills needed to apply technology in the classroom and the workplace.
- Several leading national actuarial employers have offices in Pittsburgh, including Willis Towers Watson, Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Buck Consultants, Highmark Insurance, and UPMC Insurance. Many RMU students attain highly paid summer or school-year internships with these companies as well as full-time employment after graduation.
- RMU has four faculty members whose primary assignment is actuarial science. Three of the four have actuarial credentials from the Society of Actuaries, with one being an Associate and two being Fellows (the highest designation). They are active in student recruitment, retention and job placement.
- Each year, RMU hosts an Actuarial Science Career Day, where students have the opportunity to network with many local and national employers specifically interested in hiring actuaries. Recent participant companies include Aetna, Cigna, Erie Insurance, Highmark, Mercer, Nationwide, Northwestern Mutual, Penn Mutual, Progressive, and UPMC.
The 120-credit hour curriculum leads to the Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Science. It has three components:
Robert Morris University Core - 40 credits
These are the traditional liberal arts requirements of the university. Studies in humanities and social, behavioral, natural, and quantitative sciences are included.
Major Courses - 71 credits
This component includes courses in accounting, finance, mathematics, statistics, microeconomics, information systems and actuarial science.
Open Electives - 9 credits
Students may select courses within university offerings to broaden their skills in some area of interest.
- Probability/Math Statistics I & II
- Interest Theory
- Financial Mathematics
- Advanced Financial Mathematics
- Statistical Modeling I, II, & III
- Life Contingencies I & II
- Regression Analysis
- Time Series Analysis
- Predictive Analytics
- Actuarial Data Analysis
- Introduction to Financial Accounting
- Micro Economics
- Corporate Finance
- Students can also pursue minors in such areas as finance, economics, or data analytics.
Strong Exam Preparation
RMU's curriculum is expressly designed to prepare students to succeed on the professional actuarial exams. Students take the first exam in the freshman or sophomore year and the second exam in the following year. Junior and senior courses cover material for the next five exams. Students also take courses in economics, finance, and applied statistics that are pre-approved by the Society of Actuaries for fulfillment of additional professional requirements (referred to as Validation by Educational Experience, or VEE).
Students generally pass several exams while in college, thereby qualifying for attractive employment opportunities. Actuaries continue to take exams while working, eventually attaining professional designations such as Associate and Fellow (the highest designation). RMU’s Actuarial Sciences program lays a solid and substantial foundation for progress toward full certification as a practicing actuary, and many of our students go on to achieve the Fellow designation before the age of 30.
Highly Competitive Program
Applicants should have a very high aptitude and solid background in mathematics, and an interest in the world of business and finance. An ACT mathematics sub-score of 28 or an SAT mathematics sub-score of 670 is required for unconditional admission; the admissions review committee may accept students with lower sub-scores on a probationary basis.
Students seeking to major in actuarial sciences should take as much high school mathematics as possible. A strong background in all areas of pre-calculus mathematics provides an excellent basis for university work. Students entering with college credit for calculus (either through Advanced Placement or a dual high-school/college class) may begin immediately preparing for the first actuarial exam on Probability.
Students also should have an interest in business and computer science, and in developing management and communications skills. Students planning to transfer college credits to RMU should complete courses in calculus, introductory economics, accounting, and other business-related areas.
The first edition of the Jobs Rated Almanac (1988) had actuary as the number one career, and it has never been rated lower that fourth. The latest edition once again has actuary at the top. The editors compile statistics on 250 occupations and rank them based on six key criteria: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands, security and stress.
Actuarial salary surveys consistently place actuary as highly competitive for starting salaries and with salary growth potential among the highest available. Compensation depends on experience, employment location and the number of exams passed. For example, Fellows of the Society of Actuaries with 15 years of experience often earn in excess of $250,000 annually.
More about Actuaries at:
www.beanactuary.org - Career info from the Society of Actuaries
- Scholarship Information
Both Highmark and Robert Morris University are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. To this end, Highmark has provided an endowment to fund a $25,000 per year Scholarship for an incoming RMU actuarial science student. The recipient of this award will be from an underrepresented group and/or demonstrate commitment to empowering members of underrepresented groups, combating stereotypes, and enabling others to better understand persons of different races, ethnicities or other traits. This award can be used to cover expenses not to exceed direct costs.
Every other year, one incoming freshman will be selected for the Highmark Presidential Scholarship in Actuarial Science, which will provide a $25,000 annual award to help cover direct costs at Robert Morris University. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years, provided the recipient remains in good standing. In addition, recipients of this scholarship are guaranteed to receive an internship offer from Highmark prior to their junior or senior year of study at RMU.
The primary purpose of the scholarship is to broaden the diversity of the RMU actuarial science student body, and preference will be granted on that basis. Selection criteria include (a) coming from an under-represented population, (b) being the first in family to attend college, (c) coming from a single-parent household, (d) coming from an economically or educationally disadvantaged background, (e) living in proximity to Western Pennsylvania, (f) full admission to the actuarial science program at RMU, (g) demonstrated commitment to empowering members of underrepresented groups, combating stereotypes, and enabling others to better understand persons of different races, ethnicities or other traits.
These are some of the classes for students in this academic program:
School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science
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