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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

MS 476, Math Sciences Building
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
T. 403.220.5203

Actuarial Science

Bachelor of Science

(Faculty of Science)

The Actuarial Science program at the University of Calgary prepares students for careers as actuarial professionals. Actuarial practitioners, also known as actuaries, are responsible for assessing and quantifying financial risk.

Actuarial Science is concerned with the construction of models and solutions for financial, business and societal problems involving uncertain future events. Broadly speaking, actuaries forecast the cost of future risks and improve financial decision making by developing models to evaluate the current financial implications of uncertain future events. Actuaries have been described as financial architects and social mathematicians.

As an Actuarial student you will learn about advanced mathematical and statistical techniques, but also study topics in actuarial mathematics, demographics, economics, marketing, the mathematics of investment and finances, pension mathematics, risk management and insurance, and accounting.

General Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission applicants are required to present the appropriate high school subjects and a competitive average.

Dates and Deadlines

Why take this program?

Risky business
Do you like to solve complex problems? Are you interested in a science that is intimately linked to business and finance? Actuarial Science explores the complicated world of financial risk, equipping students with the fundamental and practical tools to assess and forecast risk and to implement sound financial decision making. While actuarial employment is traditionally located in the insurance and employee benefits industry, the expanding international business climate and rapidly changing economy provide fertile ground for the growth of new and exciting opportunities in actuarial problem solving.

A wise investment
The Actuarial Science program at the University of Calgary provides excellent career preparation through its curriculum offerings and extracurricular activities. In order to effectively prepare you for actuarial careers, the curriculum covers topics found in the first four professional actuarial examinations sponsored by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. The department holds Actuarial Industry Nights where you can interact with industry professionals and future employers. In addition, the department offers an Actuarial Science Co-operative Education Program that allows you to obtain relevant work experience and develop industry contacts.

Forecasting a bright future
In recent years, “actuary” has been ranked by Jobs Rated Almanac as one of the top two professions in America, based on statistics for a wide range of occupations comparing environment, income, outlook, physical demands, security and stress. Actuaries are generally highly paid with strong starting salaries, have good employment prospects throughout the next decade, enjoy moderate geographic flexibility (actuarial jobs exist in most major urban centres), usually work regular hours in an office environment and can control the pace of their own career progress through the efforts they devote to the professional-examination process. Actuarial Science graduates can look forward to a bright future in an evolving field and expect great returns.

What do I need to get in?

You’ll need to meet the admission requirements of the Faculty of Science

What will I study in my first year?

In your first year you will obtain the basic mathematical skills required in all science and engineering disciplines, including Actuarial Science, by taking courses such as:

  • calculus: calculating with continuous quantities
  • linear methods: solving systems of equations via systematic techniques
  • computer science: basic knowledge of computers and programming

Calculus and linear methods provide you with the basic tools required to set up and solve models for quantitative problems. Computer science will give you a method to find solutions to quantitative problems where exact solutions are difficult or impossible to obtain, or simply too tedious to obtain by other means (e.g. by hand).

Courses in first year may also include a number of options from all Faculties, which actuarial students are encouraged to take for the sake of interdisciplinary content.

What will I study in later years?

Second year builds on the basic skills learned in first year, and introduces you to probability and statistics, elementary mathematics of finance, basic survival models, and elementary contingent payment models. Courses in second year may also include Risk Management and Insurance along with Economics.

In your third and fourth years you will pursue courses in actuarial models and actuarial modeling and study topics like actuarial mathematics, demographics, economics, mathematics of investment and finance, pension mathematics, risk management and insurance.

You are also expected to take a number of courses from outside your major field and are encouraged to take courses that will provide breadth and contribute to the interdisciplinary nature of your degree.

What can I do with my degree?

Actuarial Science graduates possess an extensive background in interest theory, actuarial mathematics and contingency theory. They can apply advanced actuarial and statistical methods in problem solving and modeling, and understand the theoretical basis of actuarial models and their application to insurance and other financial risks. In addition, graduates have basic computer skills that include knowledge of software packages for statistical analysis, as well as solid oral and written communication skills. Moreover, students who have completed the program should have developed the expertise and knowledge required to pass at least the first four professional examinations sponsored by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. Although not a graduation requirement, students must write and pass these professional examinations to qualify as an actuary in Canada or the United States and to maximize future employment opportunities.

Traditionally, most actuaries have been employed in the insurance, employee benefits and pension and management consulting industries. Today, many graduates also find career opportunities in banks, brokerage houses and software-development companies.

Possible areas of employment include but are not limited to:

Canada Pension Plan, provincial health insurance

Technical writing, post-secondary instruction

Life insurance, financial planning

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Canadian Institute of Actuaries Accreditation

CIA Accreditation Agreement -The University of Calgary

Approved Course Exemption Grades for 2014-2015

The agreement relates to the specific courses offered by the university which have been mapped to the SOA/CAS/CIA Exam Syllabus for the specific exams outlined below.

The CIA will review the minimum grades for exemptions for each course at the university of Calgary on an annual basis. The CIA is targeting to have a higher standard for exemption, resulting in fewer candidates obtaining exemptions than would successfully pass SOA/CAS exams. Exemptions will be granted by the CIA based on the student’s achievement of the following minimum passing grades.

SOA/CAS Exam Reference University Course Reference Minimum Grade for Exemption
FM/2 #1  ACSC 325 B
FM/2 #2  ACSC 539.04 B+
MFE/3F #1 ACSC 539.04 B+
MLC #1 ACSC 327 B+
MLC #2 ACSC 427 B+
MLC #3 ACSC 527 B+
3L #1 ACSC 327 B+
3L #2 ACSC 427 B+
3L #3 ACSC 527 B+
C/4 #1 STAT 437 B+
C/4 #2 ACSC 533 B+

You can find more details about the CIA accreditation program at the following website: