What are the Core Classes in Actuarial Studies?

Nicole Long

Core classes in actuarial studies help prepare actuarial students to succeed in a career as an actuary. They cover the material students need to understand in order to pass the necessary examinations for entrance and continued advancement in the profession. Core classes in actuarial studies include mathematics, statistics, finance, and various other courses.

Introductory computer science or computer programming classes may be part of the core in actuarial studies.
Introductory computer science or computer programming classes may be part of the core in actuarial studies.

Actuaries must have some basic skills to be successful in the occupation. The profession relies heavily on mathematics, statistics, and analytical skills. Actuaries can find work with insurance agencies, lenders, government agencies, and private companies.

An actuary may choose to work for a life insurance company.
An actuary may choose to work for a life insurance company.

Those looking to gain certification in the field need to pass a series of exams. Initially, employers may require just the passage of the first exam and then provide financial support for the remaining tests to gain certification at the Associate level. Further advancement in the field may require passing additional tests.

Requirements for those entering an actuarial studies program include a wide variety of mathematics classes. Calculus, algebra, and linear algebra are a few of the mathematics classes required. Other math-based core classes in actuarial studies include financial mathematics, theory of interest, and advanced calculus classes.

Core classes in actuarial studies also include a wide range of statistics courses. Beyond basic statistics, students are expected to take classes such as probability, probability models with actuarial applications, and applied regression and time series. Other statistics courses can include statistics in business forecasting as well as correlation and regression analysis.

Finance classes also can be found among the courses required for actuarial students. These courses include introductory finance, financial risk management, and computational finance. Financial engineering and managing financial risk are other course options in an actuarial degree program.

Specific coursework aimed at actuarial science represents a good portion of a student’s requirements for graduation from an actuarial program. Courses include risk management and insurance, property and casualty insurance, stochastic processes, and classwork focused on pensions and health insurance. Other requirements may include attending seminars and participating in practical assessments.

Beyond mathematics, statistics, finance, and actuarial classes offered as part of the core classes in actuarial studies, business-based classes are also part of the curriculum. Classes in marketing, management, and business law will help actuaries interact in the business world. This also includes courses in economics and accounting.

Computer science courses will help actuaries work with information systems and track and produce data sets needed for analysis. These courses include introductory computer science and computer programming classes. Students also should take spreadsheet and database management coursework.

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