An actuarial science degree is an excellent choice for individuals who love to work with statistics and large amounts of data. It is for those who like to find patterns and figure out why they exist and how that information can be used to identify specific outcomes. Students who enjoy this kind of work are able to find jobs in financial and insurance fields where identifying various types of risk is vital to operating a successful business. With this type of degree, you are able to work with both underwriters as well as insurance agents.
Enrolling in an online actuarial science degree program allows you to work in whatever capacity needed to support your family. If you are already working in a financial or insurance-related career, you will be able to continue working and gaining experience that will allow you to accept new opportunities for advancement as they come along. Online degree programs offer the same quality education, you would receive if you had attended in a classroom. With less cost, online also requires less financial aid.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Actuarial Science Degree Programs
Students interested in an online actuary degree also want their degree to pay off (and to pay off their financial aid), so the Bachelor’s Degree Center ranking of the best online actuarial science bachelor’s programs features only accredited, reputable schools. Programs are ranked according to cost, graduate salary, and student reviews, using data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University offers two of the best actuarial science degree programs available in the education marketplace in Texas with its Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics with academic tracks in actuarial science. Texas A&M University’s undergraduate degree requires degree candidates to complete a minimum of 120 undergraduate semester units. Coursework for this degree from Texas A&M University includes principles of numerical analysis, research, mathematical modeling, econometrics, risk management, plus mathematics of contingent claims, among others.
Texas A&M University (TAMU) was founded in the 1870s as a land grant school under the Morrill Act. In addition, Texas A&M University is a space and sea-grant school that is the state’s flagship campus and senior military school.
What We Like: With nearly 70,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, Texas A&M University is one of the country’s largest student enrollments.
Degree: B.A. Mathematics, B.S. Mathematics
2. Northwestern University
Northwestern University offers a Mathematics Bachelor Completion degree program that is one of the state’s most innovative and best actuarial science degree programs. Classes for Northwestern University’s degree in actuarial studies include sequences & series, multivariable integral calculus, linear algebra with econometrics, and single-variable differential calculus, to name a few. Graduates have the skills to meet diverse professional applications of complex mathematical concepts across industry sectors.
Northwestern University is a private university that was established in the 1850s and is among the most prestigious schools in the country. The school’s eleven colleges/schools serve nearly 22,000 students each year across two campuses and the online platform.
What We Like: The school’s $14 billion endowment ranks among the largest of all schools in the world. It was established by the Methodist Church but operates as a nonsectarian school.
Degree: Mathematics Bachelor Completion
3. Indiana University
Indiana University offers a BS in Applied Mathematics that ranks among the nation’s best actuarial science degree programs. This 120-semester unit degree prepares students for careers as a data scientist, a statistician, an actuary, or a mathematical modeler, among others. Core classes for this degree include real analysis, linear algebra, the bridge to abstract mathematics, financial mathematics, equity, and fixed income investments, and elements of statistical techniques, to name a few.
Indiana University is a multi-campus higher learning institution that was founded in the 1820s. IU is recognized to also be a space-grant university with a student enrollment across the university that exceeds 110,000 students each year.
What We Like: IU maintains two primary campuses plus seven other regional academic centers across the state of Indiana and has a lengthy list of notable alumni.
Degree: Applied Mathematics Certificate, Mathematics BS
4. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University offers a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) in Mathematics with an academic specialization or concentration in Actuarial Science that is recognized among the best actuarial science degree programs in the state’s tech university system. Classes for the degree include statistical methods, financial mathematics, risk management, higher math for engineers/scientists I & II, elementary geometry, elements of finite math, and mathematical statistics for engineers and scientists, to name a few.
Texas Tech University was founded in the 1920s as a tech school, which became a university in 1969. More than 39,400 undergraduate and postgraduate students attend classes online and on the school’s main Lubbock campus.
What We Like: Texas Tech University’s students play in the Big 12 conference as the Red Raiders, with the women’s basketball team winning the Division 1 b-ball tournament in 1993.
Degree: Bachelor of General Studies in Mathematics – Actuarial Science concentration
5. University of Massachusetts Lowell
The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers a BS in Applied Mathematics that is considered Massachusetts’ most versatile and best online actuarial programs available in the Bay State. UMass Lowell’s undergraduate actuarial degree offers a generous transfer credit policy of up to 90 credits, offering an accelerated path that can be completed in as few 12 months for qualified actuarial science majors. This UMass is designed to be flexible enough for busy parents and working learners.
The University of Massachusetts (UML) was founded as a teacher’s college in western Massachusetts in 1894. The university maintains two primary campuses in the Merrimack Valley in Lowell and Haverhill. More than 18,150 students attend classes online and on the school’s dual campuses.
What We Like: The University of Massachusetts’ Lowell facility is comprised of six colleges/schools offering programs in education, fine arts, science, engineering, business, and health sciences.
Degree: BS in Applied Mathematics
6. University of Illinois Springfield
The University of Illinois Springfield offers a completion BA in Mathematical Sciences – with a fundamental focus on Statistics, created for those who hold at least 60 credits from an accredited school. Classes for UI’s best online actuarial programs designed as a completion program include abstract algebra, statistical methods linear algebra, introduction to topology, differential equations, mathematical statistics, risk management, and operations research methods, to name a few.
The University of Illinois in Springfield is one of the UI’s campuses. The Springfield campus was established in the late 1960s as a state-run school by the Illinois legislature. The university’s rural campus and distance-learning platform serve more than 4,000 postgraduate and undergraduate students each year.
What We Like: The library system of UIS is home to more than ¾ million books and series items.
Degree: BA in Mathematical Sciences – focus on statistics
7. Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University offers a BA in Mathematics that ranks among the most innovative and best online actuarial programs in the greater NJ/NY/PA urban areas. Students enrolled in Thomas Edison State University’s actuarial science program and math must complete classes in quantitative literacy, number theory, non-parametric statistics, differential equations, cryptography & cryptanalysis, mathematical logic, risk management, graph theory, topology, and matrix algebra, to name a few.
Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is a public institution of higher learning that was established in the early 1970s. The school’s online platform and Trenton campus serve more than 17,050 postgraduate and undergraduate students each year.
What We Like: The university is named to honor the inventor who did most of his professional work in New Jersey.
Degree: BA in Mathematics
8. Louisiana State University in Alexandria
Louisiana State University in Alexandria offers a BS in Mathematics with an academic track in actuarial science that is one of Louisiana’s most innovative and best online actuarial programs. Louisiana State University’s bachelor’s degree in actuarial science program prepares grads to sit for the first SOA exams and generously offers up to 75% of credits to be transferred, if eligible. Required concentration classes include financial mathematics, business finance, probability, risk management, and mathematical statistics, among others.
Louisiana State University & Agricultural & Mechanical College (LSU A&M) was founded as a public school in 1860 and now operates as the state’s land, sea, and space grant institution of higher education with a student enrollment that nears 35,000.
What We Like: Louisiana State University & Agricultural & Mechanical College’s vet school is the only veterinary school in the state.
Degree: BS in Mathematics – Actuarial Science
9. Maryville University of Saint Louis
Maryville University of Saint Louis offers a BS in Mathematics with an academic emphasis in data science that prepares graduates for careers as management analysts, actuary, statistical consultants, insurance underwriters, or data scientists, to name a few. Maryville’s best online actuarial programs requires the completion of a minimum of 128 credit units, which are all available online, with an optional local internship. Bachelor’s degree classes may include fundamental analysis, optimization, financial math, and foundations of mathematics, among others.
Established in the 1870s, Maryville University of Saint Louis is a private school that serves more than 10,950 postgraduate and undergraduate students on its campus in Town and Country and online platform. It is especially known for online education in business administration.
What We Like: Maryville University of Saint Louis was established by the Society of the Sacred Heart.
Degree: Mathematics, BS, Data Minor
10. Chadron State College
Chadron State College offers a BS in Mathematics with a minor option in applied statistics that is recognized as one of Nebraska’s best online actuarial science programs. Actuarial science courses for Chadron State’s baccalaureate degree in math include applied statistics, discrete mathematics, theory of statistics, sampling techniques, data analysis, probability and statistics, special topics in math, theory of numbers, calculus I, II, & III, plus an internship or independent research project, to name a few.
Founded in 1911 in Chadron, Chadron State (CSC) is a member school of Nebraska’s state college system. Chadron State operates on a 100% open admission policy with a student enrollment that is home to more than 2,950 students.
What We Like: Five buildings on Chadron State are listed among the National Register of Historic Places.
Degree: Mathematics, BS – minor in Applied Statistics
11. Walsh University
Walsh University offers one of Michigan’s best online actuarial science programs with its undergraduate accelerated actuarial degree designed for working learnings in need of flexibility. Walsh College’s degree in actuarial science is among Michigan’s most affordable online bachelor’s (low financial aid). Graduates of Walsh’s bachelor’s degree can enter the workforce as research analysts, insurance underwriters, business consultants, financial specialists, actuarial analysts, personal financial advisors, or investment strategists, among others.
Chartered in the 1920s, Walsh University is a multiple-campus private school dedicated to the field of business. Walsh College began to prepare students for accounting careers. Walsh offered its first baccalaureate level programs (accounting and business administration) in the 1970s.
What We Like: Walsh University operates facilities in Clinton Township, and Macomb Community College, and St Claire County Community College.
Degree: Actuarial Science
12. Indiana University East
Indiana University East offers a BS in Mathematics that is among the most affordable and best online actuarial science programs in Indiana and beyond. Students enrolled in IUE’s degree must complete at least 120 credit units to meet Indian University ‘east’s graduation criteria.
IU East was founded in the 1970s as a public university. IU East serves eastern Indiana and western Ohio students and working learners with several campuses and facilities. IU East offers more than 55 academic degrees. More than 3,450 students attend classes each year offers on the school’s Richmond campus and online, vying for degrees and diplomas offered by IU East’s seven colleges/schools.
What We Like: Indiana University East was first established to serve online students as an academic extension center for Earlham College and then Ball State University and Purdue University.
Degree: Mathematics, BS
13. Eastern New Mexico University
Eastern New Mexico University offers two of the best online actuarial science programs available in the education marketplace in the Garden State with its Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics with an academic foundation in actuarial science. Required classes include calculus, linear algebra, modern algebra, financial management, real analysis, intuitive topology, topics in Euclidean geometry, elements of statistical techniques, differential equations, elementary computational methods, financial math, quantitative finance, and mathematical models, to name a few.
Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) was founded in the 1920s as a public two-year school. Eastern New Mexico University is noted to be a Hispanic-serving institution with three campuses in Eastern New Mexico. Eastern New Mexico University’s suburban campuses and online platform serve more than 6,010 students.
What We Like: Eastern New Mexico University was initially developed as a teacher’s training school by the state’s legislature.
Degree: BA or BS in Mathematics – foundation for actuarial science
14. Mercy College
Mercy College offers a BA in Mathematics that prepares students for rewarding careers in the areas of statistics, engineering, applied math, operations, actuarial science, and game programming, among others. Mercy College’s best online actuarial science programs include classes in number theory, linear algebra, algebraic structures, numerical analysis, math methods in data science, complex variables, quantitative finance, and applied cryptography, to name a few.
Mercy College is a private institution of higher education that was founded in 1950. Mercy College maintains several campuses in the southern New York State area with a student enrollment that exceeds 11,150 students, who hail from more than 40 states and 50 countries.
What We Like: Mercy College is organized into five colleges/schools that offer programs in education, business, health/natural sciences, and social sciences.
Degree: Mathematics, BS
15. Ottawa University
Ottawa University offers a or BA in Mathematics with an academic foundation in actuarial science that is ranked as one of the best online actuarial science programs in the state of Kansas for online students. Ottawa’s bachelor’s degree in actuarial science prepares students for careers in education, finance, math, government, research, computer science, and actuarial science, to name a few.
Ottawa University is a Baptist higher learning institution that was established in the 1860s by missionaries. The school maintains several campuses and a distance-learning platform that serve more than 600 students every year.
What We Like: Ottawa operates multiple campuses in these states – Arizona, Kansas, and Wisconsin.
Degree: Mathematics, BA – Actuarial Science
What Is an Actuarial Scientist?
An actuarial scientist is someone who collects and interprets large amounts of data to determine the level of risk that is involved in certain types of activities or transactions. By collecting and evaluating large amounts of data, an actuarial scientist can determine whether or not a specific activity will be safe for an investment or avoided due to higher than average risks. By performing these types of evaluations, actuaries can uncover patterns that may be able to be changed so that the risks are lower and productivity is higher.
In the finance and insurance industry, actuaries are extremely valuable. Without their ability to accurately interpret data, there would be no way to determine the level of potential risk. They are able to identify ways of mitigating risks so that investments will be more productive and there will be much less room for error when making decisions. Actuaries can find work in almost any industry in which some type of research is performed.
What Is Actuarial Science?
Actuarial science is used to apply complex mathematics in order to create models that represent the uncertainty of any given situation. Both statistical and mathematical methods are used to evaluate the level of risk involved in certain types of transactions. Individuals who work within this field must prove they possess the skills that will be needed to be proficient within the field. In the past (prior to the 1980s), most of this work was done by hand. When computers became more readily available, the older methods associated with actuarial science were blended in with theories that had to do with finance and insurance.
Actuarial science is far-reaching in terms of where it is used. Most people associate it with insurance and finance. In actuality, it is also used in economics, computer science, manufacturing, and retail. Because of the massive amounts of information being used in the world today, actuarial scientists are considered to be one of the fastest-growing and most popular professions around. In addition to being a popular choice for students who excel at math, actuarial science is also good for individuals who love research and trying to solve complex problems.
In an actuarial program, you’ll learn about financial risk and build your analytical skills. Be sure of the school’s admission requirements, accreditation, tuition rates, and prerequisites. Make sure you will have real-world experience and be prepared for the actuarial exams. Your educational experience, credit hours, and electives will make online programs as good as on-campus.
Is Actuarial Science a Good Career?
No matter what industry you work in, there will always be a need for actuarial scientists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Society of Actuaries agree that there are far fewer professionals entering the field than needed. The career path to health insurance companies and other employers is clear.
Using groups of numbers to identify patterns and manage all types of risks is something not everyone can do. If you find that this is an area you enjoy and are proficient in, you may be looking at the potential for a very long and lucrative career. While the financial and insurance fields are the most well-known, there are many other career fields that also utilize the services of actuaries.
If you are looking for a career in which you can continue to advance and seek new opportunities, earning a degree in actuarial science is one of the best choices you can make. Not only will you be working in a highly challenging career, the opportunities for advancement will continue to present themselves no matter what industry you choose to work in. A graduate degree can bump those opportunities up even further.
By using cutting-edge technology, actuaries are able to handle vast amounts of information, much more than has ever been studied in the past. The more complex the problem, the more lucrative the job. While this type of work may not be for everyone, for those who like this type of work, the opportunities for advancement will be endless.