MS in Actuarial Science

Actuaries use quantitative skills to help others make prudent and intelligent financial decisions. These decisions are based on future predictions that are derived from past and present data analyses. Most actuaries work for life, health, and property/casualty insurance companies. However, many are employed by consulting firms, government agencies, accounting firms, industrial corporations, banks, and financial services companies.

Although actuaries are skilled mathematicians, they are also business men and women who need broad-based business skills. Many actuaries find themselves in high-level management positions. In addition, the prospective actuary needs to prepare for the professional qualifying examinations offered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. Fellowship in either of these two professional societies assures the public that the actuary has been trained to perform at a high level of competence. Actuaries, as well as other business professionals, are often asked to make decisions that have far-reaching social implications. Very often these decisions involve a balancing of competing social and ethical values that are never fully disclosed or discussed. Examples of such decisions may include issues involving the environment, affirmative action, right to privacy, and plant closings.

Boston University’s Actuarial Science program provides specialized courses in actuarial science and related courses in probability and statistics. The program also offers the student a broad-based exposure to business and economic principles along with an opportunity to further his/her knowledge of mathematics. In addition, the program will prepare each student for the professional qualifying examinations. And finally, the program will provide an opportunity for students to be aware of and understand the ethical dilemmas that are often encountered in the process of business decision making.

Concentrations

Students may select one of two concentrations depending on their areas of interest and preparation:

  • Insurance
  • Mathematical Finance

Dual Degree Option

Appreciating the converging nature of management skills and technology, the Department of Actuarial Science has special relationships with Metropolitan College’s administrative sciences and computer science departments. With prior approval, students in either program are able to apply 8 credit hours from one degree toward a second degree, thereby reducing their work on the second degree by two courses. Students must be accepted independently by both departments but may request that application materials, such as references and transcripts, be forwarded from their initial program to their second.

Admission Requirements

To satisfy the admission requirements for the actuarial science program, applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree
  • Have completed two semesters of calculus (equivalent to MET MA 123, 124, and 225), and one semester of multivariate calculus (equivalent to MET MA 225)
  • Submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination (international students only)

Any applicant with deficiencies in the requirements may be admitted on a provisional basis. Such prerequisite courses must be fulfilled prior to other courses.

In certain cases, the Admissions Committee may request an applicant to submit official scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

International Applicants

Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not received a degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is English, should submit a TOEFL score. For current information on the TOEFL examination, please visit www.ets.org/toefl. The TOEFL institution score for Boston University Metropolitan College graduate programs is 9034.

Foreign students with a low TOEFL score may be admitted to the program subject to an English program offered through the Boston University Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP).

To allow for processing time, applicants requiring student visas must submit completed application materials and International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) forms at least six weeks prior to the start of the semester.

International applicants must submit the following materials:

  • Score from Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), directly mailed from the Educational Testing Service (ETS)
  • Authorized financial statement from a bank (original, shown in U.S. dollars)
  • Copy of current I-20 and I-94, both sides (if applicable)
  • Letter of financial support from sponsor (firm, government, parents, etc.)
  • Notarized English translations of all documents not in English

Passing Grade

Minimum passing grade for a course in the graduate program is C, but an average grade of B must be maintained to satisfy the degree requirements. Grades from all required and elective courses are counted toward the average.

Degree Requirements

A total of 43 credits is required for the Master of Science in Actuarial Science. In addition to a computer laboratory course (MET AT 602), a minimum of 10 courses (40 credits) at the 500-level or above are required for the MS in Actuarial Science. All required courses are selected from the following lists of core required courses and core elective courses.

Core Required Courses (23 credits)

For the concentration in insurance, the six required courses are:

  • MET AT 602 Laboratory for Actuarial and Financial Data Analysis II (3 cr)
  • MET AT 721 Mathematics of Compound Interest
  • MET AT 722 Finance for Actuaries
  • MET AT 731 Actuarial Mathematics I
  • MET AT 741 Actuarial Statistics I
  • MET AT 743 Regression and Time Series

For the concentration in mathematical finance, the six required courses are:

  • MET AT 602 Laboratory for Actuarial and Financial Data Analysis II (3 cr)
  • MET AT 721 Mathematics of Compound Interest
  • MET AT 722 Finance for Actuaries
  • MET AT 731 Actuarial Mathematics I
  • MET AT 761 Mathematics for Investment and Portfolio Theory
  • MET AT 762 Mathematical Finance for Actuarial Science

Core Elective Courses (20 credits)

For both concentrations, the remaining five courses (a total of 20 credits) need to be selected from the following list.

  • MET AT 732 Actuarial Mathematics II
  • MET AT 741 Actuarial Statistics I
  • MET AT 742 Actuarial Statistics II
  • MET AT 743 Regression and Time Series
  • MET AT 751 Individual Insurance Applications of Actuarial Principles
  • MET AT 752 Group Insurance Applications of Actuarial Principles
  • MET AT 753 Actuarial Valuation and Financial Statements
  • MET AT 761 Mathematics for Investment and Portfolio Theory
  • MET AT 762 Mathematical Finance
  • MET AT 782 Pension Mathematics and Mortality Tables
  • MET AT 990 Seminar in Actuarial Science
  • MET CS 563 Software Development with C++ for Mathematical Finance
  • MET MA 581 Probability
  • MET MA 582 Mathematical Statistics
  • MET MA 603 SAS with Statistical Applications

Students who have completed any of the above coursework or successfully passed the corresponding professional examinations may substitute these courses with courses available through Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) and the School of Management (SMG). Approval must be obtained from both the actuarial science department and the CAS/SMG departments offering the courses. It must be emphasized that prerequisite courses identified upon admission must be fulfilled as soon as possible.

Some recommended courses include CAS MA 575 Linear Models and CAS MA 585 Time Series Analysis. For a complete list of available courses, please contact the actuarial science department.

In special cases, at most two elective courses can be taken from the following list, provided written permission is obtained from the actuarial science department:

  • MET AD 712 Financial Markets and Institutions
  • MET AD 713 Derivative Securities and Markets
  • MET AD 717 Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management
  • MET AD 740 Planning and Operating New Ventures
  • MET AD 744 Venture Capital and Financing Innovation
  • MET AD 763 Multinational Finance and Trade
  • MET AD 764 Multinational Tactics, Strategy, and Positioning
  • MET CS 565 Advanced Java Programming
  • MET CS 579 Database Management
  • MET CS 669 Database Design and Implementation for Business
  • MET CS 682 Information Systems Analysis and Design
  • MET CS 770 Object-Oriented Analysis and Design
  • MET CS 779 Advanced Database Management
  • MET CS 782 IT Strategy and Management

Directed Studies

Courses in directed studies are offered to students who plan to engage in special research topics under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

  • MET AT 991 Directed Study I
  • MET AT 992 Directed Study II

Actuarial Internships

The following internship courses are also offered to students who seek practical applications of actuarial principles in insurance companies, financial institutions, pension consulting firms, and other related fields.

  • MET AT 981 Internship in Actuarial Science I
  • MET AT 982 Internship in Actuarial Science II

To take these internship courses, students should have successfully completed MET AT 722 and AT 731 and maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher.

Relationship to Professional Examinations

Courses offered in the program are designed to prepare students for professional actuarial examinations. The middle digit of the above three-digit course code approximately refers to the examination course number administered by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS).