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Do you enjoy complex math equations, solving problems, and ponder the concept of quantifying the future through mathematics? The last statement may sound a bit far-fetched, but if you’ve ever considered the concept of how to predict the future in a meaningful fashion, you’ll benefit from getting your bachelor’s degree in actuarial science. Actuarial science involves the use of complex mathematics to assess the odds that a specific incident is going to happen, or not. Essentially, an actuary looks at the data from a given incident, such as heart attacks or auto accidents, and uses that information to help calculate the potential for the risk going forward.

So, is actuarial science a good major? If you have a strong inclination for math, you’ll find that becoming an actuary is a rewarding and well-compensated career. During your studies for your actuarial science degree, you’ll learn how to use actuarial software, how to write the relevant equations, use existing data as inputs, and generate results that provide a reasonable degree of accuracy for the risks that surround a group of people.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Undergraduate Actuarial Science Programs

To rank the best campus-based actuarial science bachelor’s programs, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors focused on accredited, trustworthy institutions. Programs are ranked by factors that matter to students, including tuition, student satisfaction, and potential salary. Data comes from IPEDS and Niche.

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois offers a BS in Actuarial Science that is ranked among Illinois’s best undergraduate actuarial science programs. The University of Illinois’ undergraduate degree in actuarial science requires the completion of a minimum of 120 undergraduate semester units, with major classes in actuarial statistics, casualty actuarial mathematics, life contingencies, financial markets, and methods of applied statistics, to name a few.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana Champaign) is a public university that was established as a land grant industrial school in the 1860s. In addition, U of I is a sea and space-grant institution of higher education that serves more than 52,150 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year.

What We Like: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is recognized to be one of the nation’s Public Ivies – a public education that delivers ivy-league education.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

2. The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin offers a BS in Actuarial Science that requires Austin students to complete 120 undergraduate semester units to meet the actuarial science competencies from Texas’s flagship campus. The University of Texas’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs include classes in economics, probability & statistics, and quantitative reasoning, to name a few. Interested students should inquire about Austin’s honor’s program.

The University of Texas (UT @ Austin) is a public higher learning institution that was developed in the 1880s. UT Austin serves more than 50,650 students each year as the flagship, space-grant school in the state.

What We Like: The University of Texas is home to nearly 1.5 dozen libraries and seven campus museums, including the LBJ museum.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

3. SUNY at Binghamton

SUNY Binghamton offers two of the best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs in the Empire State with its Bachelor of Science program (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) program off in Actuarial Science. Binghamton’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs encourage students to pursue relevant internships, which have been a part of the program in the past, available with NY Life, Cigna, met Life, State Farm, Price Water House Coopers, Guardian Life, and Prudential, to a name a few.

SUNY at Binghamton is a multi-campus state-funded school that is a member of the SUNY system. Founded in the mid-1940s as the Triple Cities College, SUNY Binghamton now serves more than 18,050 undergraduate and graduate students each year -online and on-campus

What We Like: SUNY Binghamton was initially designed to serve the needs of veterans returning from war and to help support IBM, located in Broome County.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS & BA

4. University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

The University of California, Santa Barbara offers a BS in Actuarial Science that is has been named one of the Golden State’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs. Students enrolled in the University of California’s actuarial science bachelor’s degree offers a combo BS and MS degree that can help degree candidates earn two degrees in less time. This degree from the University of California Santa Barbara prepares graduates to sit for several of the industry related designations.

USCB was established in the 180s as Blake School, designed to train teachers. This campus joined the state’s university system about four decades later and now serves approximately 25,250 students each year.

What We Like: The University of California’s SB campus is organized into five undergraduate and graduate schools offering programs in letters/sciences, engineering, creative studies, education, and environmental sciences.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

5. Michigan State University

Michigan State University’s BS in Actuarial Science is named one of the most innovative and State’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs available in the marketplace. Students attending Michigan State University’s bachelor’s degree program in actuarial science will need to finish a minimum of 120 undergraduate semester credits covering general education and major requirements. Examples of classes for this actuarial degree include actuarial models, financial mathematics, theories of mathematical interest, and an actuarial practicum, to name a few.

Founded in the 1850s under the Morrill Act as a land grant school, Michigan State University is now a comprehensive school with living alumni networks that exceed 600,000 worldwide members. The school is also a space-grant school with a student enrollment served online and on-campus of nearly 50,000 each year.

What We Like: Many of Michigan State University’s programs consistently rank among the nation’s top on-campus and online programs.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

6. University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut offers a BS in Actuarial Science that is ranked among the best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs by the Casualty Actuarial. Classes for the University of Connecticut’s undergraduate actuarial degree are offered by a Center of Excellence by the Society of Actuaries. Sample coursework for this undergraduate degree in actuarial science includes programming for analytical professions, applied actuarial statistics, and elementary differential equations, to name a few.

The University of Connecticut was established in the 1880s under the Morrill Land Act as an agricultural school but now operates as the state’s flagship sea and space grant school with more than 27,250 undergraduate and graduate students.

What We Like: The University of Connecticut is one of the finest schools in the nation, having received consideration as a Public Ivy School.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

7. University of Massachusetts – Amherst

The University of Massachusetts offers a BS in Mathematics – Actuarial Science. The programs and coursework from UMass meet the VEE (Validation by Educational Experience) class mandates. UMass Amherst’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs are offered other concentrations in teaching, data science, math computing, and applied math, pure math, to name a few. Core requirements include multivariable calculus, introduction to abstract math, integral calculus, and number theory, to name a few.

Established as an agricultural higher learning institution in the 1860s, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a member of the state’s university system and the 5 College Consortium in the Pioneer Valley.

What We Like: With nearly 31,000 students, Amherst is recognized as the largest of all campuses in Massachusetts’s state system.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

8. Drake University

Drake University offers a BS in Business Administration with a major in Actuarial Science that is considered among Iowa’s most innovative and best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs. Example of the classes required for Drake University’s bachelor’s degree in actuarial science includes life insurance math, theory of interest lab, and probability, business strategy and policy, information technology and business, business law, and corporate finance, to name a few.

Drake University is a private institution of higher education that was founded in the 1880s. In addition, Drake University is a space-grant school that serves more than 5,050 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year.

What We Like: Drake University holds the distinction of being one of the oldest of oldest 25 schools in the nation.

Degree: Business Administration – Actuarial Science, BS

9. University of the Pacific

The University of the Pacific offers a BS in Applied Mathematics with an Actuarial Science concentration that has been named among the best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs with dual campuses in California. Classes for this actuarial science degree from the University of the Pacific include an introduction to linear algebra, abstract algebra, quantitative analysis, topics in applied statistics, models of life contingencies, and empirical methods, to name a few.

The University of the Pacific was founded as a college in 1911. The University of the Pacific has moved a few times since its inception but now serves more than 3,550 students on its dual campuses and online.

What We Like: The University of the Pacific holds the distinction of being the oldest of all chartered schools in the Golden State and the first coeducation campus that operates independently.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

10. Auburn University

Auburn University offers a BS in Actuarial Science that requires degree candidates to finish a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. Auburn University’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs include classes in mathematics of interest theory, fundamentals of accounting, probability & statistics, principles of macro and macroeconomics, topics in linear algebra, linear differential equations, actuality seminar in the mathematics of finance, to name a few.

Auburn University was founded as an all-male college in the 1850s but now operates as one of Alabama’s dual flagship schools. Auburn University began as a private school but became Alabama’s first land-grant university in 1872. Auburn University has undergone several name changes, including an A&M and polytechnic school.

What We Like: More than 30,300 undergraduate and graduate students attend classes, making it the state’s second-largest school.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

11. Temple University

Temple University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Actuarial Science that is considered among Philadelphia’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs and recognized as one of the Actuarial Excellence Centers by the SOA – the Society of Actuaries. Temple University’s programs are VEE-accredited, and degree candidates must complete 124 undergraduate credits across classes that include actuarial modeling, actuarial analytics, and theory of interest, to name a few. Note, Temple University offers a global immersion experience to round out their undergraduate program.

Temple University was established in 1888 and is a private school that is partially state-related. The school was established by a Baptist minister in the City of Brotherly Love and now serves more than 39.350 postgraduate and graduate students each year.

What We Like: Temple University is organized. Into twenty colleges/schools, offering more than 500 academic degree programs.

Degree: Business Administration Concentration Actuarial Science, BA

12. New York University

New York University offers a BS in Business Administration in Actuarial Science that is one of the most innovative & best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs located in Manhattan, New York City. The New York University actuarial student will complete core classes in mathematics of investment, corporate finance, calculus I, II, III, plus advanced electives. Students may choose electives like life contingencies, forecasting of time series data, and statistical inference & regression analysis, to name a few.

New York University is a research university that was founded in the 1830s by a state charter. New York University’s ten colleges serve nearly 52,000 students on its New York University campus, and other domestic academic facilities, and those around the globe.

What We Like: NYU began as an all-male school in lower Manhattan near City Hall with a broad focus on secular education.

Degree: Business, BS Concentration Actuarial Science

13. University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida offers a BS in Actuarial Science that is considered among the nation’s most innovative and best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs. Students graduating from the University of Central Florida’s bachelor’s degree program find rewarding careers as a professor, insurance analyst/underwriter, actuarial mathematician, or underwriting service representative, to name a few. Classes include calculus with analytic geometry I, II, & III, and plus applied time series, among others.

The University of Central Florida, chartered within the 1960s, is a research school and a public member school of Florida’s state university system. The University of Central Florida, located near Florida’s space coast, is a space-grant school with a student enrollment that now nears 72,000 students from all states and across the world.

What We Like: The University of Central Florida’s original name was Fl Technical University, with an initial class of about 1,900 students.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

14. University of Louisville

The University of Louisville offers a BS in Actuarial Science that prepares students to sit for professional exams in the actuarial field offers by the Casualty Actuarial Society & the Society of Actuaries, exams which offer graduates entry into the field. In addition, the University of Louisville’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs require coursework in risk and insurance finance, mathematical foundations of actuarial science, and economic analysis and forecasting, to name a few.

Founded as a seminary in the late 1790s, the University of Louisville is a research facility that is honored to be one of the first schools to the west of the Allegheny Mountains that received a charter.

What We Like: The University of Louisville is well known for its many successful athletic programs, with students representing the school as the Cardinals.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

15. Bradley University

Bradley University offers a BS in Mathematics – Actuarial Science that is considered one of the best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs in Illinois and beyond. Bradley University’s baccalaureate actuarial science degree includes classes in probability & statistics, topics in actuarial science, elementary linear algebra with applications, investment analysis, portfolio theory & management of financial research/modeling, operations research, applied statistical methods, strategic management in organizations, and business communication, and the legal environment of business, among others.

Bradley University was founded in the 1890s as a private institution of higher education. Bradley University’s Peoria campus and online platform serve more than 4,550 undergraduate and graduate students each year for degrees offered by the university’s six colleges/schools.

What We Like: Bradley was founded by a philanthropist whose husband and children died suddenly.

Degree: Mathematics – Actuarial Science, BS

16. Central Washington University

Central Washington University offers a BS in Actuarial Science that is ranked among the most innovative & best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs by the SOA – the Society of Actuaries. Classes from Central Washington University’s undergraduate degree in actuarial science include probability theory, advanced statistical methods, predictive analytics, advanced visual basic programming, actuarial modeling, multivariable calculus, financial mathematics I, II, & III, enterprise database systems, and mathematical statistics, to name a few.

Central Washington University was founded as a teacher’s school in the 1890s by a state legislative action but now operates as a four-year school that serves approximately 12,150 students each year. Central Washington University is recognized as a Hispanic-servicing institution with about fifteen percent of its students of Hispanic descent.

What We Like: Parts of Central Washington University’s campus are a part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

17. Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University offers a BS in Actuarial Science that is one of Indiana’s most innovative and best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs in the Midwest. Valparaiso University’s undergraduate actuarial degree that requires the completion of a minimum of 131 5o 133 credit units in classes that include -actuarial modeling, the economics of financial markets, statistics for decision-making, theory of corporate finance, mathematical statistics, Stochastic Processes, investment management, and actuarial theories, plus a colloquium, to name a few.

Valparaiso University (Valpo) was founded as a coeducational college in the late-1850s and later became a teacher’s training and business school. The university’s suburban campus and online platform serve approximately 3,450 students each year.

What We Like: Valparaiso University is recognized to be one of the first established coeducational institutions of higher education in the United States.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

18. University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati offers two of the best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs in Ohio with its Bachelor of Science degree (BS) its Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Statistical/Actuarial Science. Classes for UC’s undergraduate degree in actuarial science include an introduction to probability, mathematical statistics, financial mathematics, and Applied Probability & Stochastic Processes, to name a few.

The University of Cincinnati (UC) was founded in 1819 and holds the distinction of being the city’s oldest higher learning institution. This space-grant university, which is a member of the state’s university system with a student enrollment that exceeds 46,550 postgraduate and undergraduate students.

What We Like: The University of Cincinnati also is recognized as the second largest institution of higher education in Ohio.

Degree: Statistics/Actuarial Sciences, BS & BA

19. Bryant University

Bryant University offers a BS in Actuarial Science that offers an interdisciplinary approach with coursework from the liberal arts college and the school’s college of business. Bryant University’s actuarial program is ranked among the top ten best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs of regional schools by US News & World Report in the US’s northern area. Sample classes include actuarial statistics, mathematical interest theory, calculus 7& analytic geometry, and fundamentals of property and casualty reserving, to name a few.

Established in the 1860s, Bryant University is a private school that now operates as a space-grant institution of higher education. Bryant University’s Smithfield location covers more than 400 acres and serves approximately 3,700 students each year.

What We Like: Bryant University was initially founded as an extension of a larger school teaching bookkeeping and business.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

20. Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University offers a BA in Actuarial Science that is one of the most affordable and best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs in the nation. Students enrolled in Texas Christian University’s baccalaureate degree in actuarial science are required to complete accounting for decision making, techniques in programs Python for Data Analytics, and scientific analysis and modeling, to name a few. All degree candidates must finish a minimum of 124 semester units to meet TCU’s graduation criteria.

Texas Christian University was established in the 1870s by the Disciples of Christ. The university’s campus is a few miles from Fort Worth’s downtown and serves approximately 11,250 students each year.

What We Like: Texas Christian University is organized into ten colleges and schools offering programs in liberal arts, education, communication, business, medicine, nursing, engineering, and fine arts, among others.

Degree: BA in Actuarial Science

21. Butler University

Butler University offers a BS in Actuarial Science that is ranked as one of the most innovative and best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs in the Hoosier state and beyond. Butler University also offers students an accelerated academic track of only 3 years. Classes for Butler’s actuarial degree program include financial math, linear regression and time series, loss models, probability & statistical theory, to name a few.

Butler University was established as a Christian school in 1855 and named to honor its benefactor – Ovid Butler. The university’s urban campus (located just a few miles from Indianapolis’ downtown) serves more than 4,400 undergraduate and graduate students every year.

What We Like: Butler University is organized into six colleges/schools offering programs in pharmacy/health, communication, business, arts, or liberal arts/sciences.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

22. Saint John Fisher College

Saint John Fisher College offers a BS in Mathematics – Actuarial Science that is considered among the Garden State’s most innovative and best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs. Saint John Fisher College’s student to faculty ratio is an impressive 12 to 1. Classes for this bachelor’s degree in actuarial science include macro and microeconomics, mathematical sciences, regression techniques, statistics, and probability models, to name a few.

Saint John Fisher College (St Fisher) was founded as a private school in 1948. The suburban campus in Pittsford and online campus is home to more than 3,550 undergraduate and graduate students.

What We Like: Saint John Fisher College is organized into five schools/colleges offering degrees and programs in arts/sciences, education, business, pharmacy, and nursing.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BA

23. Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University offers a BS in Actuarial Science that can be completed in as few 3. 5 to 4 years. Bellarmine University’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs include coursework in business finance, investment theory, business, and professional communications, probability & mathematical statistics, real analysis, abstract algebra, econometrics, intermediate macroeconomic theory, calculus, and numbers & proof, to name a few.

Bellarmine University was founded as a private school in the 1950s and has a Roman Catholic affiliation, with the initial school established by the Louisville Archdiocese. The university is named for a cardinal saint and operates as a space-grant institution of higher education with a student enrollment that needs 4,000 students.

What We Like: Bellarmine University is organized into seven colleges/schools that offer programs in arts/sciences, business, nursing, education, communication, professional studies, and environmental studies.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

24. Mount Mercy University

Mount Mercy University offers a BS in Actuarial Science that prepares students for rewarding careers working for companies like Allstate Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, Transamerica Insurance, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield to name a few. Classes that need to be completed by students enrolled in Mount Mercy University’s best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs include discrete mathematics, fundamentals of computer science, mathematical theory of interest, and risk management, plus an internship in mathematics and actuarial science, to name a few.

Mount Mercy University (MMU) was founded as a private school in the late 1920s by the Sisters of Mercy as a two year school for women. The school’s urban campus includes a grotto which is listed with the National Register of Historic Places.

What We Like: Mount Mercy University became a four-year university several decades after its inception in the late 1950s.

Degree: Actuarial Science, BS

25. Simmons University

Simmons University offers a BS in Financial Mathematics that is considered one of the best undergraduate actuarial sciences programs in New England and beyond. Classes for degree candidates enrolled in Simmons University’s baccalaureate degree program in actuary science includes econometrics, financial math, principals of macro/microeconomics, statistical design & analysis, and financial accounting, to name a few. Students with excellent GPAs may consider enrolling in Simmons University’s honors degree pathway.

Simmons University, which was a college until 2018, is a private school that was founded in 1899. Simmons University is primarily a women’s undergraduate school with a coed graduate division. Nearly 4,900 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year.

What We Like: Simmons offers programs and a degree from its college of health sciences and other schools that include business, library/information science, social work, humanities, and nursing, to name a few.

Degree: Financial Mathematics, BS

How Do I Choose an Actuarial Science Program?

The best actuarial science schools are ones that have a good reputation, has accreditation, and has a large percentage of graduates finding employment after earning their degree. Another option is to choose a school from a list of the best actuarial schools published by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The SOA puts out a list of the top actuarial science colleges that meet their standards, and acts as a type of accreditation for the best actuarial science schools. Currently, there is no association or organization that accredits actuarial degree programs, but the SOA is the organization that administers the professional examinations that you need to work as an actuary.

Actuaries are usually required to pass at least two or three of the SOA exams that are relevant to their chosen concentration in order to find steady employment. In order to pass the exams, you want to select an actuarial science program that provides you with the requisite education. Schools that are listed by the SOA are ones that teach students in accordance with the requirements of the tests, but there are other colleges and universities with actuarial science bachelor’s degree programs that can do the same. You want to choose an actuarial science program that meets your personal needs while delivering an education that helps you pass the exams and find employment.

What Can I Do with an Actuarial Science Degree?

An actuary has the job of quantifying potential future costs that are associated with uncertainties. As an example: an auto insurance company wants to get an idea of how many people of a certain age group are likely to have a minor fender bender over a defined period of time. Your duty as an actuary is to find the data for past events, the population of the age cohort, the types of cars they drive, etc., and put that all together into formulas that arrive at an estimated conclusion of how many people are likely to get into a minor fender bender in a given time period.

A majority of jobs you can get with an actuarial science degree are found in the insurance and finance industry. It’s estimated that seven out of 10 actuaries work in these industries, but there are other industries that rely on individuals with an actuarial science degree. Because you’re most likely to find employment in the finance or insurance sector as an actuary, here’s a look at what jobs you can get with an actuarial science degree:

  • Investment Strategy
  • Pension and Retirement Benefits
  • Property and Casualty
  • Enterprise Risk
  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Real Estate Analyst/Appraiser

What are Other Jobs Related to Actuarial Science (Besides an Actuary)?

As previously noted, a majority of jobs in actuarial science are found in insurance and finance, but there are actuarial science degree jobs that aren’t related to either of these fields. You can find actuarial science jobs in areas that include:

  • Statisticians
  • Job Benefits and Analysis Specialists
  • Mathematicians
  • Market Research Analysis
  • Intelligence Agency Analyst
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • Data Scientist
  • Business Intelligence

These roles are not strictly finance or insurance related, but many of them have the ultimate function of informing an employer about how much money they need to keep on hand to hedge against risks. Actuarial degree jobs are limited in scope due to the fact the role is one of determining the risks of a given scenario and how their outcome can impact the balance sheet of an organization. Going back to school to earn a master’s degree in actuarial science can open up more actuary science jobs, but you’re more likely to find yourself specializing in a concentration of actuary science that helps you improve your career trajectory.

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