Best Colleges for Actuarial Science in 2022-2023

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Best Actuarial Science Colleges and Programs in the World

About Actuarial Science

Actuarial science is a discipline of mathematics that evaluates, analyzes, and mitigates financial risks and uncertainties using mathematical, statistical, and financial theories. The professionals who assess and manage financial risks and uncertainties are known as actuaries. 

Actuarial science is a true calling for someone who is a math whiz and can analyze data, crunch numbers, and interpret statistical data. The following page explains how to become an actuary and provides information on the best colleges for actuarial science throughout the world.

Duties of Actuaries

The numbers and statistical data are the actuaries’ best friends. They assist organizations in determining financial risks and uncertainties by analyzing numbers and data. Their services are required in any field that is prone to financial risks, such as insurance, banking, healthcare, and even some non-financial organizations. The following are some typical duties performed by actuaries:

  • Compile and analyze financial and statistical data
  • Design and test financial policies such as insurance policies to minimize risk and maximize the profitability 
  • Come up with appropriate insurance and premium rates 
  • Calculate the amount of cash reserves required in the event of a payout or claim
  • Make diagrams, tables, and reports to clarify calculations and proposals
  • Collaborate with other members of the team and other departments
  • Keep up top date with the latest development in the field of actuarial science
  • Give training to the assistant actuaries

Popular degrees for pursuing a career in Actuarial Science

To enter the field of actuarial science, students normally need a bachelor’s degree. They can major in actuarial science or a related topic like mathematics, statistics, or finance. Because most actuarial positions require computer programming skills, majoring in computer science, which contains a large amount of mathematics, is also acceptable. Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient to become an actuary, many students choose to pursue a graduate degree in order to get specialized knowledge that will help them advance in their careers. Some universities also offer actuarial science MBA programs. Those interested in pursuing a career in academia can even earn a Ph.D. in this discipline. Students should keep in mind that actuarial science is a difficult and demanding discipline in which they must pass many actuarial entrance exams (which vary from country to country) to qualify. These exams have a low passing rate, usually in the single digits. Some of the best actuarial science programs in the world are

Bachelor’s/Undergraduate programs in Actuarial Science

  • Bachelor in Actuarial Science
  • Bachelor in Mathematics
  • Bachelor in Statistics
  • Bachelor in Finance
  • Bachelor in Computer Science
  • Bachelor in Economics

Master’s/Post-graduate programs in Actuarial Science

  • Master in Actuarial Science
  • MBA in Actuarial Science
  • Master in Economics
  • Master in Actuarial and Financial Sciences
  • Master in Financial and Actuarial Mathematics
  • Master in Statistical and Actuarial Sciences
  • Master in Actuarial and Risk Management
  • Master in Econometrics, Operations Research, and Actuarial Studies

Specializations in Actuarial Science

Actuaries typically specialize in one of the following fields, such as

Life insurance: This is the most common type of actuarial specialty. Actuaries in this field, work with whole life and term life insurance, both of which pay a lump sum of money to the policyholder’s family when the policyholder dies. Life insurance actuaries estimate how long someone will live depending on risk factors including age, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and so on.

Health insurance: This field is involved in the development of long-term care and health insurance policies by estimating predicted care expenses under the provisions of an insurance contract. Their forecasts are based on a variety of criteria, such as family history, location, and occupation.

Property and casualty insurance: The actuaries in this field are involved in the development of policies that protect policyholders from property damage and liabilities as a result of accidents, natural disasters, fires, and other occurrences.

Pension and retirement benefits: This specialization assists employers in developing different sorts of retirement benefits, as well as retiree healthcare programs.

Enterprise risk management: It helps to identify risks, including financial, economic, and geopolitical risks, that could impact a company’s short- and long-term goals. They assist top executives in determining how much risk the company is willing to take by developing strategies to mitigate those risks. 

Duration of programs in Actuarial Science

A bachelor’s degree in actuarial science can last anywhere from three to four years; in North America, it usually takes four years to complete an undergraduate degree in actuarial science or a related field, whereas, in Europe and the rest of the world, it usually takes three to four years. A master’s degree can take anywhere from one to two years to complete. The following table lists the duration of the undergraduate and graduate degrees in actuarial science worldwide. 

Country Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree
USA and Canada 4 years 2 years
UK 3-4 years 1-2 years
Australia 3-4 years 1-2 years
Others 3-4 years 1-2 years

Career opportunities in Actuarial Science

There are many different types of sectors that employ actuaries, insurance sector being the topmost of them all. Since actuarial exams are mandatory for certification, students can study for them while interning or working. These tests can take anywhere from seven to ten years to pass because they are the most difficult to pass and frequently require several attempts. The following are some career opportunities for anyone who is interested in becoming an actuary.

  •  Actuary
  • Consultant
  • Finacial advisor
  • Product manager
  • Risk analyst
  • Investment advisory
  • Professor

Average salaries for Actuaries

The majority of actuaries work in offices, although some also work as consultants and travel to meet with their clients. Their salary is determined by the role they hold, their educational level, their experience, and the kind of employer they work for. The following table shows the average, lowest, and highest salaries in the field of actuarial science. 

Country Lowest salary in USD*/year Average salary in USD*/year Highest salary in USD*/year
Canada  58,450 (Glassdoor) 85,235 (Glassdoor) 155,866 (Glassdoor)
Australia 49,763 (Glassdoor) 85,819 (Glassdoor) 142,181 (Glassdoor)
Switzerland 102,177 (Glassdoor) 124,986 (Glassdoor) 204,355 (Glassdoor)
Singapore 56,415 (Glassdoor) 72,328 (Glassdoor) 144,655 (Glassdoor)
UK 56,141 (Glassdoor) 90,243 (Glassdoor) 124,759 (Glassdoor)
USA 82,000 (Glassdoor) 124,789 (Glassdoor) 200,000 (Glassdoor)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Top 50 universities in the world for Actuarial Science based on academic rankings

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 4 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA Click Here Click Here
2 7 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
3 2 4 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
3 3 5 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
7 25 12 Imperial College London UK Click Here Click Here
8 17 18 University College London UK Click Here Click Here
8 21 15 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
10 10 10 University of Chicago USA Click Here Click Here
11 75 21 National University of Singapore Singapore Click Here Click Here
12 81 46 Nanyang Technological University Singapore Click Here Click Here
13 15 13 University of Pennsylvania USA Click Here Click Here
14 11 9 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here
18 45 16 Peking University China Click Here Click Here
19 8 11 Columbia University USA Click Here Click Here
21 12 22 Cornell University USA Click Here Click Here
22 101-150 30 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Click Here Click Here
23 26 24 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor USA Click Here Click Here
23 24 35 University of Tokyo Japan Click Here Click Here
26 22 18 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
27 35 50 University of Manchester UK Click Here Click Here
27 76 54 Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
32 5 8 University of California – Berkeley USA Click Here Click Here
37 33 33 University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
38 69 58 University of Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
40 14 20 University of California – Los Angeles USA Click Here Click Here
42 27 26 New York University USA Click Here Click Here
43 65 70 University of New South Wales Australia Click Here Click Here
46 42 37 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
47 51 54 University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here
49 151-200 27 London School of Economics and Political Science UK Click Here Click Here
52 32 23 Duke University USA Click Here Click Here
58 80 57 Monash University Australia Click Here Click Here
70 54 75 University of Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
75 31 58 University of Wisconsin – Madison USA Click Here Click Here
77 151-200 124 University of Southampton UK Click Here Click Here
95 101-150 110 University of Sheffield UK Click Here Click Here
103 101-150 141 University of Nottingham UK Click Here Click Here
126 101-150 125 University of Alberta Canada Click Here Click Here
133 201-300 143 University of Technology Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
140 92 80 McMaster University Canada Click Here Click Here
149 151-200 201-250 University of Waterloo Canada Click Here Click Here
170 201-300 201-250 Western University Canada Click Here Click Here
176 101-150 176 University of Lausanne Switzerland Click Here Click Here
186 40 86 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities USA Click Here Click Here
198 98 301-350 Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel Click Here Click Here
290 201-300 201-250 Griffith University Australia Click Here Click Here
298 301-400 201-250 Simon Fraser University Canada Click Here Click Here
330 NA 351-400 University of London UK Click Here Click Here
459 801-900 301-350 University of St. Gallen Switzerland Click Here Click Here
494 301-400 401-500 York University Canada Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the USA for Actuarial Science

Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 24.5 percent increase in actuary employment, making it one of the best careers to study in the USA. Many top universities in the USA offer bachelor’s, master’s, as well as doctoral programs in actuarial science. The undergraduate actuarial science programs in the USA last four years, while graduate actuarial science programs in the USA last one to two years. The table below offers a list of the top actuarial science schools in the USA, as ranked by ranking agencies, as well as the bachelor’s and master’s programs in actuarial science they offer. 

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 4 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA Click Here Click Here
3 2 4 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
10 10 10 University of Chicago USA Click Here Click Here
13 15 13 University of Pennsylvania USA Click Here Click Here
14 11 9 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the UK for Actuarial Science

Actuarial degrees are highly valuable in the UK because of its strong financial industry and growing demand for qualified employees, therefore, a lot of students go to study in the UK. Some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, such as the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London, and Imperial College London offer a wide range of master’s specializations in actuarial science. Many UK universities also offer bachelor’s degrees in actuarial science and relevant fields. 

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
2 7 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
3 3 5 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
7 25 12 Imperial College London UK Click Here Click Here
8 17 18 University College London UK Click Here Click Here
27 35 50 University of Manchester UK Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Australia for Actuarial Science

In addition to a wonderful, sunny atmosphere, studying in Australia allows students to gain true global exposure and extend their perspectives. Both domestically and internationally, Australian universities are regarded for providing high-quality education. They offer a comprehensive selection of actuarial science courses for undergraduates and graduate students. The table below is a list of Australia’s leading actuarial science universities, which provide bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the subject.

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
27 76 54 Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
37 33 33 University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
38 69 58 University of Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
43 65 70 University of New South Wales Australia Click Here Click Here
47 51 54 University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Canada for Actuarial Science

Canadian institutions are well-known for providing fully-funded scholarships that can cover the cost of a student’s entire education. Therefore, Canada is the best place to study especially for international students. Students can apply for scholarships at the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, and other institutions that offer master’s degree programs in actuarial science. They also offer several options for those interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees in actuarial science.

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
26 22 18 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
46 42 37 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
126 101-150 125 University of Alberta Canada Click Here Click Here
140 92 80 McMaster University Canada Click Here Click Here
149 151-200 201-250 University of Waterloo Canada Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Switzerland for Actuarial Science

As per Glassdoor statistics, salaries in Switzerland for actuaries range from 102,177 to 204,355 USD/year based on experience. Because of the high-paying salaries for actuaries, a lot of international students prefer to study in Switzerland. Considering the demand for actuary jobs, many universities in Switzerland offer bachelor’s and master’s courses in actuarial science along with scholarships and funding options for international students. The table below lists some of the top universities in Switzerland offering master’s and bachelor’s courses in actuarial science.

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
8 21 15 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
70 54 75 University of Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
176 101-150 176 University of Lausanne Switzerland Click Here Click Here
459 801-900 301-350 University of St. Gallen Switzerland Click Here Click Here

Academic requirements for studying Actuarial Science

Because actuarial science is the most sought-after business degree, entrance to these programs is quite tough. Merely meeting the admissions requirements isn’t enough to get into one of the best actuarial schools. Students must have a strong academic record with good knowledge of mathematics, statistics, and business principles. Plus, they must have excelled in competitive exams such as the SAT, ACT, GMAT, and others. The following are some of the general academic requirements to study in the best actuarial science colleges in the world. 

Bachelor’s level

  • A high school education with a 3.0 GPA or above with mathematics and statistics as compulsory subjects
  • Academic transcripts
  • SAT and/or ACT scores (varies from university to university)
  • Personal statement 
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Valid passport
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (6.0 and above)

Master’s level

  • A bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, finance or relevant field (knowledge of maths and statistics is a must) with a GPA of 3.0 or higher 
  • Academic transcripts
  • GMAT, MCAT and/or GRE scores (varies from university to university)
  • Personal statement 
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Valid passport
  • Resume
  • Work experience (preferable)
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (6.0 and above)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Frequently Asked Questions

Countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, China, and Hong Kong are the best to study actuarial science. 

According to US News and World Report, actuarial science is ranked seventh among the best business jobs. A student with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in actuarial science can easily ger employed in the finance, healthcare, life insurance, retail, and consulting industries.

Actuaries must pass a series of rigorous professional exams administered by professional bodies in order to become authorized, which might take several years. The majority of these exams take place in a university setting. However, in certain countries, such as the United States, they take place during employment, and others follow a hybrid of the two.