Actuarial science is the study of the financial implications of uncertain future events. Actuaries study how to quantify and manage risk primarily in the fields of life and health insurance, pensions, employee benefits, and investments. They also work as financial consultants and as government employees on Social Security and Medicare issues.

Actuaries must have excellent quantitative reasoning skills in addition to an understanding of modern business and finance. To become an actuary, a candidate must pass a series of exams in areas such as probability, financial mathematics, and actuarial modeling.

The actuarial science program at Valpo, administered by the mathematics and statistics department, provides a background in the areas of mathematics, finance, statistics, and economics. A bachelor of science from Valparaiso University and passing marks in the first several examinations of the Society of Actuaries are sufficient to enter the field.

Students interested in pursuing the actuarial science major should confer with the program director, Patrick Sullivan.


Students in actuarial science at Valpo must complete the general-education requirements for the bachelor of science. This University-wide core strengthens communication and critical thinking skills while introducing the student to global cultures and traditions.

CAS General-Education Requirements for the B.S. »

Required Courses

A minimum of 61 credit hours approved by the program chair is required. Specific required courses are listed below. Students completing the actuarial science program may apply 20 credit hours in business administration courses toward the bachelor of science. Introductory courses fulfill the quantitative analysis general-education requirement and three of the six credits required for the social science general-education requirement.

Students who pursue both an actuarial science major and the business administration minor will be required to graduate with a total of 131 or 133 credit hours.

Please note that several of the advanced courses are offered only every other year, so planning ahead is crucial.

Course Title Credits
Introductory Courses 24-26 Credits
ACC 205 Financial Accounting 3 Credits
ACC 206 Managerial Accounting 3 Credits
ECON 221 Principles of Economics – Micro 3 Credits
ECON 222 Principles of Economics – Macro 3 Credits
IDS 115 Business Applications for Decision-Making 3 Credits
MATH 131 Calculus I 4 Credits
MATH 132 Calculus II 4 Credits
One course from the following two options:
MATH 260 Linear Systems and Matrices 1 Credit
MATH 264 Linear Algebra 3 Credits
Probability and Statistics 19 Credits
One course from the following three options:
IDS 205 Business Statistics 3 Credits
STAT 140 General Statistics 3 Credits
STAT 240 Statistical Analysis 3 Credits
One course from the following two options:
ECON 325 Econometrics 3 Credits
STAT 340 Statistics for Decision-Making 3 Credits
Each of the following:
STAT 343 Time Series Analysis 3 Credits
STAT 344 Stochastic Processes 3 Credits
STAT 441 Probability 4 Credits
STAT 442 Mathematical Statistics 3 Credits
Finance and Modeling 15 Credits
FIN 304 Financial Modeling 3 Credits
FIN 410 Theory of Corporate Finance 3 Credits
FIN 420 Investment Management 3 Credits
FIN 425 Financial Derivatives 3 Credits
One course from the following two options:
ECON 321 Intermediate Micro-Economic Theory 3 Credits
ECON 324 Intermediate Managerial Economics 3 Credits
Capstone Courses Credits
ACRS 325 Actuarial Modeling 3 Credits

 Actuarial Exams Actuarial Links

Career Paths

While many graduates of Valpo's actuarial science program have gone on to become actuaries, working at companies such as Safeco and Watson Wyatt, others have chosen careers in business or gone on to MBA programs or graduate programs in statistics. Among graduate programs that have accepted Valpo students of actuarial science are Carnegie Mellon University, Purdue University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin.