Actuarial science is one of the most in-demand fields in the 21st century, and a master’s in actuarial science is ideal for professionals to set themselves apart on the job market. Attending an actuarial science master’s online program is a viable alternative to the traditional campus setting for students. Graduate programs for actuarial science that are online offer a student the opportunity to attend a school they would otherwise be unable to attend due to distance or cost.
Another benefit to getting an actuarial science master’s degree online is the built-in flexibility. Working professionals who are looking to get a master’s in actuarial science can participate in coursework while working at a day job. An actuarial science master’s online program eliminates the need to find a way to get to a campus and attend night school after work. The ultimate benefit is one of getting a graduate degree in actuarial science that can boost one’s career and earning potential in a way that an undergraduate degree can’t.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Master’s in Actuarial Science
Best Master’s Programs rankings are designed for working professionals and career-changing adult students who want to see a real value and return from their degree. For that reason, BMP editors feature only reputable, accredited institutions and rank them according to practical factors, including cost, reputation, and salary potential, using data from Niche and IPEDS>
1. University of Washington
The University of Washington offers an MS in Applied and Computational Mathematics that is considered among the finest masters in actuarial science online programs. Washington’s online masters in actuarial science degree program can be completed entirely online as a full time student (in one year) or as a part time student (in 3 years). Washington’s graduate applied math degree is nationally recognized by the National Research Council. Coursework includes climate modeling, mathematical finance, numerical analysis, and various mathematical methodologies, to name a few.
The University of Washington (Washington) was founded in 1861, about ten years after the birth of Seattle. The university’s campuses – in Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma – serves more than 47,400 students. The University of Washington is considered a very high research activity school, according to the NSF.
Degree: Applied Mathematics, MS
2. University of Illinois
The University of Illinois offers an MS in Actuarial Science that includes online class options. Illinois’s masters in actuarial science online program is provided by a Center for Actuarial Excellence (CAE) facility and does not require applicants to hold an undergraduate degree in actuarial science. Students graduating from the University of Illinois’s online masters in actuarial science degree programs are typically prepared to sit for these actuarial exams – P, FM, MLC, MFE, and C.
The University of Illinois was established under that Morrill Land Grant Act in 1867. As a public university, Illinois serves more than 51,000 students on its 6,000+ campuses. The University of Illinois is comprised of 16 colleges/schools that offer more than 225 undergraduate and graduate programs. The University of Illinois is home to the second largest university libraries in the country, only behind Harvard University.
Degree: Actuarial Science, MS
3. Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) that is considered among the country’s best masters in actuarial science online programs. This Illinois’s online masters in actuarial science degree program from Carnegie Mellon University can be finished in under two years and includes experiential training in software engineering, business domain knowledge, methodology, and corporate communication. It is noted that there are three on campus events that are designed to accommodate working professionals. Tepper Business School programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Carnegie Mellon University was established in 1900 as a technical college. The university’s Pittsburgh campus covers more than 100 acres and serves more than 14,600 students. Carnegie Mellon University operates more than twelve satellite education facilities across the world, including Qatar.
Degree: Business Analytics, MS
4. Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology offers an MS in Financial Engineering that is ranked among the top masters in actuarial science online programs by US News & World Report. Coursework for Stevens Institute of Technology’s online masters in actuarial science degree program includes Stochastic Calculus for Financial Engineers, Pricing and Hedging, Advanced Derivatives, Special Problems in Financial Engineering, and Portfolio Theory, among others. Concentrations for this degree include financial computing, financial statistics, computational finance methods, financial services, algorithmic trading, and financial risk engineering.
Stevens Institute of Technology (Stevens) was established in 1870. The school’s 50+ acre urban campus occupies the highest point in the city and serves more than 6,000 students primarily in STEM subjects. Stevens Institute of Technology holds the distinction of being home to two Excellence centers on a national level.
Degree: MS in Financial Engineering
5. Rutgers University
Rutgers University offers an MS in Mathematical Finance that is one of New Jersey’s top masters in actuarial science online programs. Rutgers University’s online masters in actuarial science degree program requires the completion of 30 semester credits, which include four electives and six mandates classes, plus a master’s degree essay and a seminar in mathematical finance. Students can enroll in Rutgers online graduate degree as part-time or full-time students (full time is equivalent to 9+ credits per semester).
Rutgers University (Rutgers) was established in 1766 as the Queen’s College. The school is a sea-grant, space-grant, and land-grant university that serves nearly 69,000 students. Although considered the Garden State’s state school, Rutgers is the second oldest of higher learning institutions in the state, with Princeton being the oldest of all of New Jersey’s schools.
Degree: MS in Mathematical Finance
6. Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting Engineering School offers one of the country’s best online masters in actuarial science degree programs with its Master of Science degree in Financial Mathematics. Coursework for Johns Hopkins University’s masters in actuarial science online program includes investment science, interest rate and credit derivatives, time series analysis, data analysis, Monte Carlo methods, optimization in finance, and financial risk management, among others. Degree candidates for this program can opt to specialize in financial risk management, securitization, or quantitative portfolio management. Degree candidates must complete, within five years, ten graduate courses, including one elective course.
Johns Hopkins University (Hopkins) was established in 1876 as a private higher learning institution. The university’s campus in Baltimore serves more than 25,900 undergraduate and graduate students. Johns Hopkins University is recognized as the first research institution of higher education in the nation.
Degree: MS in Financial Mathematics
7. Florida State University
Florida State University offers an online masters in actuarial science degree program with its Master of Science (MS) degree in Financial Mathematics. Florida State’s masters in actuarial science online program requires the completion of 33 semester credits, of eleven classes that include core coursework in Monte Carlo Methods in financial mathematics, Financial Engineering, Advanced Probability, Measure & Integration, Stochastic Analysis, Financial mathematics proseminar, and Introduction to Financial Mathematics, among others. There are two tracks, a Ph.D. track, and a Quantitative Finance terminal MS option track.
Florida State University was established in 1851. Florida State is a senior campus of the state’s university system. The university is a sea-grant and space-grant school that serves more than 41,300 students. Florida State University has been recognized among the top twenty public schools in the national category.
Degree: Financial Mathematics, MS
8. Bentley University
Bentley University’s Graduate School of Business offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Business Analytics that is recognized as one of New England’s finest online masters in actuarial science degree programs. Bentley University’s masters in actuarial science online program offers degree candidates six academic clusters that include marketing, data science, management, economics, information management, or finance. Coursework for Bentley’s graduate actuarial degree includes managerial statistics, managing with analytics, data management, times series analysis, business statistical modeling, and data mining, to name a few.
Bentley University was established as a private higher learning institution in 1917. The university’s campus in Waltham serves more than 5,500 students and covers more than 150 suburban acres. Bentley University has always been primarily focused on business education but was once located in Boston’s Back Bay section.
Degree: Business Analytics, MS
9. University of Southern California
The University of Southern California’s Viterbi Engineering School offers a Master of Science in Financial Engineering that prepares students for rewarding careers in programming, finance, actuarial science, investment banking, risk management, or insurance, among others. The University of Southern California’s masters in actuarial science online program also integrates classes from the Department of Economics, the Marshall School of Business, in its interdisciplinary curriculum. Students enrolled in this online masters in actuarial science degree program solve problems related to securities valuations, dynamic investment strategies, risk management, and strategic planning, among others.
The University of Southern California (Sothern Cal) was established in 1880. The university’s Los Angeles campus is home to more than 48,100 students. Southern Cal Trojans have won more than 300 Olympic medals. The University of Southern California holds the distinction of having more alumni who have won Academy Awards.
Degree: MS in Financial Engineering
10. George Mason University
George Mason University offers a Graduate Certificate in Actuarial Sciences that only requires the completion of 18 semesters credits to finish. Mason’s masters in actuarial science online certificate program prepares students with a solid foundation for the Casualty Actuarial Soc. Exam. Additionally, this online masters in actuarial science certificate program includes coursework that covers exams from the SOA that includes statistics for risk modeling, short term actuarial math, financial math, long-term actuarial math, and financial markets.
George Mason University was established in 1949. George Mason University operates multiple campuses and is now considered the largest of higher learning institutions in the Commonwealth of Virginia. More than 38,700 students are studying at George Mason University. The university was founded by the author of the Virginia Bill of Rights, George Mason.
Degree: Actuarial Sciences, GC
11. University of Nebraska – Lincoln
The University of Nebraska College of Business offers one of the state’s top masters in actuarial science online degree program with is Master of Science in Actuarial Science. NE Lincoln’s online masters in actuarial science degree program is a 36 semester credit program that includes work from the Snell Seminar Series. Experienced degree candidate can complete this program in only 21 months or 2-years for those with limited requirements. The core curriculum includes classes in life contingencies, intro to risk theory, interest theory, and life/health insurance, to name a few.
The University of Nebraska (Nebraska) was established in 1869. As a land-grant institution of higher education and flagship school for the state. The Lincoln campuses serve more than 25,500 students studying for academic degrees and certificates offered by the school’s eight colleges/schools. NE Lincoln is renowned for its Nebraska method of ecological study pioneered ecological research for the next hundred years.
Degree: Actuarial Science, MS
12. Illinois Institute of Technology
The Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business/College of Computing offers a graduate level – MAS (Professional Master’s Degree) in Mathematical finance that is considered among the top online masters in actuarial science degree program in the country. Illinois Tech’s masters in actuarial science online degree program prepares students for careers as quantitative modelers, traders, software developers, or quantitative analysts, to name a few. Core classes include computational finance, Stochastic processes, Monte Carlo methods, advanced quantitative risk management, and future/options/derivatives, and mathematical finance, among others. Illinois Tech offers students two academic clusters – the finance track or the applied mathematics track.
Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) was established in 1890. The school’s urban campus in Chicago serves more than 7,100 students vying for the academic degrees offered by Illinois Tech’s five colleges/schools. Illinois Institute of Technology was the result of a merger of Lewis Institution with Armour Institute.
Degree: MAS in Mathematical Finance
13. Boston University
Boston University’s Questrom School of Business offers a Master in mathematical Finance &y Financial Technology is that recognized among New England’s finest online masters in actuarial science degree program. This 39-semester credit masters in actuarial science online degree program includes classes in credit risk modeling, derivatives, risk management, Stochastic Math, big data analysis, and algorithmic trading, to name a few. Concentrations are available in asset management, risk management, quantitative analytics, and research. Recent employers of graduates include Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Barclays, and State Street, among others.
Boston University was established in 1839. The school’s main campus in Back Bay, Boston, runs along the Charles River near Fenway Park and facing MIT. More than 34,200 students attend classes at Boston University. Boston University’s most famous professor invented the telephone in a lab at the school – Alexander Graham Bell.
Degree: MS in Mathematical Finance & Financial Technology
14. Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus offers an MS in Finance that is considered among the commonwealth’s finest online masters in actuarial science degree program. PS World Campus’s masters in actuarial science online degree program requires the completion of 33 credit units, including foundations in finance, current issues in corporate finance, financial accounting theory, speculative markets, portfolio management, and mergers & acquisitions, to name a few. Additionally, degree candidates must complete a culminating experience in the area of security valuation research, valued at three semester credits.
Pennsylvania State – World Campus was established in 1998. All degrees and certificates offered by PSU World Campus are delivered online. At present, more than 14,400 students attend classes offered by PS World Campus. Pennsylvania State College first began offering distance-learning coursework as early as the 1890s to farmers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Degree: Finance, MS
15. Drake University
Drake University’s College of Business & Public Administration offers a Master of Business Analytics from one of only 17 higher learning institutions recognized as a center of excellence by the SOA – the Society of Actuaries. Drake University’s online masters in actuarial science degree program requires the completion of 30 semesters, which is generally completed in 24 months. Classes for this masters in actuarial science online degree program include statistical modeling, applied analytics information technology – legal and ethical issues, visual analytics, data management, plus an applied analytics project, to name a few.
Drake University (Drake) was established in 1881 as a private institution of higher education. The university’s urban campus in Des Moines serves more than 2,900 students. Drake University is named to honor one of its founders, a civil war general, Francis Marion Drake.
Degree: Master of Data Analytics Leadership
16. Rochester Institute of Technology
The Rochester Institute of Technology offers an MS in Applied Statistics that can be completed entirely online. RIT’s online masters in actuarial science degree program requires the completion of 30 semester credits, which must be completed in 3 years or less; however, full time students finish in 2.5 years. The Rochester Institute Of Technology’s masters in actuarial science online degree program offers students three start dates throughout the year. Classes include ANOVA and Regression Applied Linear Models, Statistical Software, and foundations of statistics, plus a capstone thesis project.
The Rochester Institute Of Technology (Rochester Tech) was established in 1829. RIT operates two campuses, both located in the greater Rochester metro area that serve more than 19,000 students. The Rochester Institute Of Technology is world renowned for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf – a prominent deaf education school.
Degree: Applied Statistics, MS
17. Governors State University
Governors State University offers an MS in Mathematics with an academic cluster in actuarial science that can be completed in about 1.5 years. GSU’s online masters in actuarial science degree program prepares students for careers in which applied math techniques are used to solve real world problems. Students enrolled in Governors State University’s masters in actuarial science online degree program will explore relevant topics in abstract algebra, advanced calculus, combinatorics, which align with the graduate degree’s focus on actuarial science.
Governors State University was established in 1969. The school’s campus is situated about ½ hour from Chicago, with its suburban campus that serves more than 3,400 students vying for academic degrees offered by GSU’s four colleges/schools. Governors State University operates without ‘grades’ opting instead for competencies.
Degree: Mathematics – Actuarial Science, MS
18. Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University offers a graduate certificate in actuarial science that is recognized among the state’s best online masters in actuarial science certificate programs. Central Michigan University’s masters in actuarial science online degree program requires the completion of 16 semester credits, which also includes two prep classes that focus on two actuarial exams. Among topics explored include Bayesian techniques, data mining, measurement errors, spatial data analysis, statistical modeling, and distributions/applications, among others. Many students enrolled in this program are offered graduate teaching assistantships. Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited higher learning institution to apply.
Central Michigan University was established in 1892. Central Michigan University serves more than 20,000 students from its Michigan campus plus another 6,800+ students who study from Central Michigan’s academic offerings online. This high research activity school offers more than 190 programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.
Degree: Actuarial Sciences, GC
19. University of Central Missouri
The University of Central Missouri offers an MS in Actuarial Science and Statistics that is ranked among the state’s affordable online masters in actuarial science degree programs. UCM’s University’s masters in actuarial science online degree program requires the completion of 30 semester credits; however, an accelerated option is available by UCM. The core curriculum for this graduate degree includes probability models, regression analysis, statistical modeling, multivariate statistical analysis, and principles of data mining, plus the completion of a masters level culminating project.
The University of Central Missouri (Central Missouri) was established in 1871 as a state school for teaching training. As a state funded higher learning institution, the University of Central Missouri offers more than 100 programs to the 11,000+ students attending classes in Warrensburg and online. The University of Central Missouri operates satellite facilities in Lee’s Summit, MO.
Degree: MS in Actuarial Science and Statistics
20. Drexel University
Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Quantitative Finance that prepares students to make educated, data-driven strategic financial solutions to real world problems. Drexel’s masters in actuarial science online degree program can be completed 1.5 years with a full-time course load. Coursework covers the areas of credit risk analysis, performance measurement, derivatives, security analysis, and portfolio management, to name a few. Additionally, the curriculum for Drexel University’s online masters in actuarial science degree program is STEM designated but provides classes that cover the Chartered Financial Analysts and Financial Risk Manager exams.
Drexel University was established in 1891 as an art, science, and industry institute. More than 24,100 students attend classes offered by Drexel in Philadelphia and through the school’s distance learning extension. Drexel University is world renowned for its cooperative education options, which provides degree candidates with paid internships throughout their tenure as a student.
Degree: MS in Quantitative Finance
21. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania offers an MS in Data Analytics that is considered among the top online masters in actuarial science degree programs by a number of educational ranking services. Slippery Rock University’s masters in actuarial science online degree program also offers student who finish this 33- semester credit degree also receive a certificate from SAS, the Statistical Analysis System Institute, Inc., and are prepared to take the CAP (Certified Analytics Professional) credential exam given by – the Institute for Operations Research & the Management Sciences (INFORMS).
The Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania was established in 1889 to train teachers in rural PA. The university’s rural campus covers more than 500 acres and serves more than 8,700 students. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania became a state-funded higher learning institution two and one-half decades after its inception.
Degree: Data Analytics, MS
22. Maryville University
Maryville University offers one of the country’s top-rated online masters in actuarial science degree programs with its Masters in Business Data Analytics that can be completed entirely online. Maryville University’s masters in actuarial science online degree program requires the completion of 30 semester credits and offers six rolling start dates throughout the calendar year. Coursework includes data mining, data visualization, database principles, advanced topics in data analytics, forecasting & predictive modeling, plus a capstone project business data analytics, to name a few. Students graduate prepared to promote business growth, operational efficiency.
Maryville University was established in 1872 as an all-girls campus with a mission to serve underprivileged youngsters in St. Louis. Maryville University’s suburban campus serves more than 6,300 students. Maryville University began as a coeducational university in the late 1960s.
Degree: Masters in Business Data Analytics
23. Indiana University South Bend
Indiana University South Bend offers an MS in Actuarial Science that is recognized among the state’s top-rated online masters in actuarial science degree programs. IU South Bend’s masters in actuarial online science degree program can be taken as a thesis option, project option, or coursework option with an exit exam. Concentrations for IU South Bend’s graduate actuarial degree program includes computer science, applied mathematics (or a combination of both), or Data Science. A minimum of 21 semester credits (out of the total required 30 semester credits) must be taken in residency at IU South Bend.
Indiana University South Bend was established in 1916. The South Bend campus of Indiana University is home to more than 4,900 students and located along the St. Joseph River. Indiana University South Bend is recognized as the 3rd largest of all system-wide campus.
Degree: Actuarial Science, MS
24. Lock Haven University
Lock Haven University offers a Professional Science Master’s in Actuarial Science that is considered among the state’s Bend’s online masters in actuarial science degree programs. Lock Haven University’s masters in actuarial online science degree program requires the completion of 30 semester credits to meet program requirements but offers free student tutoring during the weekdays. Students enrolled in Lock Haven University’s graduate degree in actuarial science has open access to SMART – the Science & Mathematics Resource & Technology Center – which offers calculators, manipulatives, technology, and text resources, among others.
Lock Haven University was established in 1870 as a teacher’s state-funded school. This public institution of higher education serves more than 4,500 students studying for the more than 80 academic degrees offered by Lock Haven University. Lock Haven University became a member school of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in 1983.
Degree: Actuarial Science, PSM
25. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers an MBA in Quantitative Analysis that requires the completion of 36 semester credits to graduate. SNHU’s masters in actuarial online science degree program prepares students with refined analytic skills and in-depth business knowledge to help guide businesses to efficiency and profitability through real-time data analysis and technology. Coursework for Southern New Hampshire University’s online masters in actuarial science degree program includes quantitative analysis for decision makers, management science through spreadsheets, and applied statistics for managers, to name a few.
Southern New Hampshire University (Southern New Hampshire) was established in 1932. Of the more than 90,000 students attending classes at Southern New Hampshire University, nearly 90% do so online. Southern New Hampshire University is recognized among one of the United States’ fastest growing higher learning institutions through its expansive distance learning options.
Degree: Quantitative Analysis, MBA
How Do I Choose an Actuarial Science Master’s Program?
It’s natural to want to apply to the best actuarial science graduate programs that are available to you. However, you need to make sure that the program you’re interested in attending is accredited and has a curriculum that meets your needs and goals. You also want a program that can help you study for and pass the tests that are required for working as a certified actuary. School rankings, reputations and percentage of graduate students who are working in their chosen field are all good indicators of the quality of the school. However, the best graduate schools for actuarial science are ones that are comprehensive, provide you with the knowledge you need to pass the exams, and give you the flexibility you need to earn the degree while employed.
In order to become an actuary, you have to take a set of exams and pass them in order to achieve associateship. However, you are allowed to work as an actuary while you are studying for your exams. Employers often give employees the time and opportunity to attend classes and study for the exams. Attending an actuarial science masters online program allows you to gain valuable working skills during the day and the opportunity to request time off from work to go home and take care of your coursework without worrying about losing your job.
How Do I Become an Actuary?
Learning how to become an actuary involves attending a school with an undergraduate actuarial program that’s accredited by the Society of Actuaries. Accreditation indicates that the online actuarial science master’s is held to a national standard and ensure you’ll get an education that’s on par with other schools that offer an actuarial science degree. Accreditation for this degree is especially important due to the fact that mathematics are the cornerstone of actuarial work. You need to be able to use mathematical formulas that are the industry standard for the projections you create as an actuary.
Finding an undergraduate program is the first step in learning how to become an actuary. But how long does it take to become an actuary? It can take anywhere from 7 to 10 years to become a fully qualified actuary. You can expect to spend up to seven years in school if you’re looking to earn both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in actuarial science.
On top of the schooling, you have to pass ten actuarial exams to be considered a fully qualified actuary after finishing your education. The 10 year estimate is on the high side when it comes to learning how to become an actuary, but sometimes people do need that much time to finish their education. Actuarial students can save time on their degree by taking accelerated courses and beginning the exam process while they’re in undergraduate studies. As previously mentioned, you can get hired as an actuary after getting an undergraduate degree, then study for the master’s degree and exams while you’re starting your career.
How Much Does an Actuary Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary for an actuary is $103,350 per year. The job outlook for the role is expected to grow 18% between 2019 and 2029 and is much faster than the average job growth in the U.S. The average salary of actuaries who are just out of school is around $52,000, but the annual salary increases quickly once all of the exams are passed and the actuary gains job experience. Experienced actuaries can earn much more than the national average, especially if the actuary has a proven track record of accuracy with their mathematical predictions.
Other factors that influence the average salary for an actuary include experience, geographical location and local demand for the role. The role of actuary is a highly specialized area of mathematics, and is one that is vital to insurance companies. A majority of actuaries find themselves employed in the insurance field, but are also hired by corporations that engage in risk evaluation. Actuaries also work as consultants and can travel around the country to work on-site for clients.