Mathematics/Actuarial Science

Bachelor of Science
College of Arts and Sciences

Actuarial science is a collection of mathematical and statistical techniques that make it possible to calculate the monetary value of uncertain future events.

For example, an insurance company that sells homeowner’s insurance must take into account how often houses burn down and what the replacement costs are when setting the insurance premium (yearly payment) for homeowners’ insurance. If the premium is set too low, then on average the company will not collect enough money in premiums to cover the replacement costs of the homes it insures. But if the premium is set too high, customers will choose other insurance companies which offer lower rates.

Another example is that the State of Ohio manages a pension fund for its employees. Out of each employee’s paycheck a certain percentage is contributed to the fund and this money is invested until the employee retires. At that point the employee begins to receive a monthly pension check which continues until he or she dies. Some questions confronting the managers of the pension plan are:

Further information on the actuarial profession can be found on the Society of Actuaries’ website at:

Career Opportunities

The Jobs Rated Almanac, in four previous editions, has rated actuary the top job twice, and the second best job the other two times.

Students graduating from this specialization have opportunities to work in a wide variety of fields including insurance, pension plan design, health care, consulting, risk management and many others.

The department cooperates with major companies who send recruiters to BGSU every year. Among these are Nationwide Insurance (Columbus), PriceWaterhouseCoopers (Chicago) and Watson Wyatt Worldwide (Cleveland).

Graduates with this specialization have been very successful in finding employment immediately after graduation. Some graduates are currently in high-level management positions. Current students have also been successful in finding summer and academic-year internships.

The main criterion for employment and promotion for actuaries is passage of examinations administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. These examinations are difficult and highly mathematical. The specialization is specifically designed to prepare students for the first three actuarial exams. It is common to find a job after passing one examination. Companies will usually pay for fees and study materials or seminars after employment.

Actuarial Science at BGSU

Actuarial science is a specialization in the mathematics major tailored to the needs of actuaries. Required mathematics courses include calculus, linear algebra, probability, and statistics. Also required are courses in accounting, economics, finance, applied statistics and computer science. No separate minor is required.

There are three mathematics courses specifically designed for actuarial science students. They cover the basic terminology and mathematical concepts of risk theory, the theory of interest, and life contingencies (life insurance, pensions, etc.). Course and curriculum are reviewed and updated to reflect the current requirements of the professional actuarial societies.

Various topics in statistics are heavily represented on later actuarial exams, and so it is advisable to plan to take some of the numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics that are offered by the department.

It is possible for students to earn a limited number of graduate credits during the senior year and complete a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics in one year beyond the bachelor’s degree. The department offers graduate programs through the Ph.D. level.

Faculty and Facilities

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has 30 faculty members, all who have advanced degrees in mathematics or statistics from leading universities. Nine of the Faculty are devoted exclusively to teaching responsibilities. Beginning with calculus, all courses are taught in small sections to insure an appropriate level of personal attention.

Students utilize various software tools including Maple, Minitab, Matlab, Mathematica, R and Geometer’s Sketchpad. These are available in the Math Science Computer Laboratory, a classroom currently equipped with Dell All-In-One systems, and in other computer labs around campus.

Part-time employment is available for undergraduates as tutors in the Learning Commons and the Math Emporium or as paper graders for the department.

Scholarships and Student Organizations

A number of scholarships exist specifically for mathematics majors specializing in actuarial science. They include:

The BGSU Actuarial Science Society is a student group which helps its members gain employment by bringing prospective employers to campus for talks and interviews and by maintaining a website with sample resumes.

Preparation for College

Completing the requirements for high school graduation is necessary for admission to BGSU, but only finishing the minimum coursework will leave you unprepared for college. Students should have four years of college preparatory mathematics in high school. Two, three or four years of the same foreign language is excellent preparation for college. Courses that provide exposure to or training in the visual and performing arts are excellent choices.

While it is not necessary to take calculus in high school, the department offers an advanced placement program to receive credit for all or part of the calculus sequence by taking the Advanced Placement Examinations of the College Entrance Examination Board while in high school.

Program Details

To learn more about the official program of study for Mathematics/ Actuarial Science, please check the undergraduate catalog online at

For Further Information

Internet Access

BGSU's website for future students contains University highlights, admissions procedures, financial aid information and many department profiles. It can be accessed at

The University

Bowling Green State University is a vibrant university that engages, challenges and prepares students for meaningful futures. At BGSU, students enjoy an education that integrates personal growth, academic excellence and an environment that expands their thinking and potential. A mid-size residential university, BGSU has an enrollment of approximately 20,000 and a full-time faculty of more than 900 on its main campus. More than 200 undergraduate majors and programs are offered as well as master's and doctoral level programs.

NOTE: Information in this guide is subject to change without notice. To learn more about the official program of study for Mathematics/Actuarial Science, please check the undergraduate catalog online at: