Departments & Programs


Actuarial Studies

Actuaries use mathematics to determine the financial effect that uncertain future events such as birth, death, retirement, fire, earthquake, accident, and sickness have on insurance and other benefit plans. Actuaries may work for insurance companies, consulting firms, or the benefits departments of general businesses and government agencies. The program of study outlined below combined with a B.A. or B.S. degree in mathematics prepares the graduate for entry into the actuarial profession. The B.S. Program II with a Minor in Economics, or the Interdepartmental Major in Mathematics and Economics, works especially well with actuarial career preparation. For further information, contact the mathematics department's academic advisor in Rawles Hall 115, (812) 855-1589.

To advance in the actuarial profession, one must pass a series of highly challenging examinations given by the Society of Actuaries ( or the Casualty Actuarial Society ( Passing these examinations requires discipline and additional study beyond Indiana University course work. Actuaries also must be comfortable with the language and substance of a wide range of mathematics, economics, statistics, and finance/accounting to prepare for these exams. An actuary student should aim to pass at least one, and preferably two, of these examinations before graduation. Actuary students who desire a summer internship may benefit from passing the first examination, Exam P, by the summer following their junior year. Internships help assure strong job placement upon graduation and are strongly encouraged. Additionally, an actuary student should take some VEE (Validation by Educational Experience) accredited courses and must receive a grade of B– or better in these courses to earn VEE credit. A list of VEE-accredited courses is available at the Society of Actuaries Web site and includes several of the courses mentioned below.

M463 covers most of the material for the three-hour Exam P on probability. Students must take M211, M212, M311, and either M301 or M303 as preparation.

Economics E425 covers the syllabus for the 2.5-hour Exam FM on Financial Mathematics, but students must first take E201, E202, and E321 as preparation.

Students pursuing actuarial studies may benefit by taking Accounting A200, Computer Science C211, and Economics E471 and E472. For further advice and information, contact the department's academic advisor in Rawles Hall 125, (812) 855-1589.