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Actuarial Science

  • Available as major (B.S. degree)

    Actuarial science involves the study of risk — assessing the risk of events occurring, and helping to create policies for businesses and clients that minimize the cost of that risk.

  • In this career, you will be involved in:

    • Determining how likely it is that various events will happen
    • Combining statistics, finance and business principles
    • Making calculations
    • Interpreting statistics
    • Predicting probability and cost
    • Using statistical theorems, such as the law of large numbers
    • Helping to design insurance policies, pension plans, and other financial strategies while ensuring that plans are maintained on a sound financial basis.

    At Olivet, you can: 

    • Study regression and time series, business computer applications, intermediate macroeconomics, discrete math, and numerical analysis.
    • Benefit from review sessions for actuarial exams.
    • Enjoy working closely in classes with others in your major.
    • And so much more!

    Olivet is one of only a few of the schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) that offers a major in actuarial science.

    We’ve designed our program specifically for students who want to enter this career following graduation. Courses focus on all three of the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) areas: Economics, Corporate Finance and Applied Statistics. Few schools make all three available to their undergraduate students.

    We also prepare you to take the first two required exams, the Probability and Financial Mathematics exams. These are jointly sponsored by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). SOA certifies actuaries in the fields of life insurance, health benefits systems, retirement systems, and finance and investment. CAS covers the property and casualty field, which includes automobile, homeowners, medical malpractice, workers compensation, and personal injury liability.

    The first exam tests your math competence and helps evaluate your career potential. After the first few exams, you will choose a specialty. Then you continue by taking a series of four or more exams. You will take one exam at end of your sophomore year, and the second at end of your junior year. The pass rate for our students is better than the overall passing rate for each exam. Passing two or more examinations gives you better opportunities for employment at a higher starting salary.

    Putting knowledge to work

    Math lab helps you transition from high school to college when you are taking freshman-level courses. Math education majors get extra job-related experience serving as peer tutors.

    Math Club is open to all students, but designed particularly for math and math education majors. You will enjoy finding the fun in math with the “Mathematical Magic Show.” Learn the math concepts behind the tricks demonstrated to you by your professors. Then, go home and impress your family and friends. Or use the tricks in your own math lessons for high school students. Be part of the “Pi Day” activities on campus; math murder mystery; and mathematical origami project. Do one-on-one tutoring with community middle school and high school students. Share social times and make connections with other Olivet students.

    Two research options are offered by Olivet for mathematics and science students:

    • Pence-Boyce Research Program Fellowships — Named to honor two Olivet professors, Elbert Pence (physics) and Fannie Boyce (mathematics), and funded by alumni and friends of Olivet. Alumnus Mark Lockwood published his work on probabilistic polyforms as a result of his participating in this program.
    • Olivet Research Associates Program – Set up to fund research in science and mathematics. Work with a faculty member on a forward-looking, 10-week research project during the summer. Projects may be theoretical, lab or field studies. Receive a stipend so you can work full time on your project.

    Complete an internship between your junior and senior year. In the past, our students have interned with Lincoln Financial Group, Transamerica and other well-known companies.


    If you:

    • love crunching numbers and using computers
    • are an effective communicator
    • keep up with current events
    • have excellent calculation and computer skills
    • enjoy working with spreadsheets and database

    then a career in actuarial science may be for you.

    Actuarial science is one of the top-rated occupations in “Jobs Rated Almanac.” About 65 percent of actuaries work for insurance companies. Many also work for banks, financial planning companies and airline companies.

    Possible careers include: actuary, consultant

    Actuarial Science is part of the Department of Mathematics within the College of Arts and Sciences.

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  • Olivet is one of only a handful of Christian universities that offers a major in actuarial science.