Best Actuarial Science Programs

Actuaries earn high salaries and can expect strong job growth. Check out our ranking of the best bachelor's in actuarial science programs.

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by Reese Lopez

Published on July 26, 2022

Edited by Amelia Buckley
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Using math and statistics to calculate financial risk, actuaries most commonly work for insurance companies and other financial institutions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects careers for actuaries to grow 24% from 2020-2030, a rate much faster than the national average of 8%. Earning an online bachelor's in actuarial science can help you enter this quickly growing field.

Most bachelor's programs take 120 credits and about four years to complete. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that undergraduate students paid an annual average of $13,677 in tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 school year. When considering an on-campus or online degree, it helps to research a program's true cost, which can include room, board, transportation, and other costs on top of tuition.

Like many other business majors, an actuary degree offers strong salary potential. The BLS reports that actuaries earned an annual median salary of $105,900 as of May 2021. Attending a top program can prepare you for a high-paying actuary position right out of college. Keep reading to learn more about our picks for the best actuarial science programs.

Our Top Pick

New York University - New York, NY

Why It's #1: New York University is the number one ranked school on our best actuarial science programs list. The school has a selective admissions rate of 16% and an 85% graduation rate. While NYU's tuition is higher than average ($50,684 per year), 52% of students receive aid. The school boasts a 9-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring close attention from professors.

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Best Accredited Bachelor's in Actuarial Science Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

New York University

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 16%
Graduation Rate 85%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester
In State | $29,906
Out of State | $29,906

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

A top-ranked private college located in Manhattan, NYU offers one of New York's best bachelor's in actuarial science programs. The school's BS in business with a concentration in actuarial science trains students to identify and assess risk. The curriculum prepares candidates to sit for several certification exams offered through the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Prospective NYU students can submit their application through the Common App. The application also requires undergraduate grades and any previous undergraduate coursework. The school does not require SAT or ACT scores.

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#2

Brigham Young University

School Information
Location Provo, Utah
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 78%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $331 (Latter-day Saint), $662 (Non-Latter-day Saint)
Out of State | N/A

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

A private college affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU offers one of Utah's top bachelor's in actuarial science programs. Actuary students gain comprehensive skills in statistics and risk modeling, with common course offerings including actuarial problems and big data science. Candidates can also complete an actuarial internship in a professional environment.

Program applicants must hold a high school diploma. BYU does not require ACT or SAT scores through winter 2024. Applicants must also submit letters of recommendation, an ecclesiastical endorsement, and multiple admissions essays.

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#3

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 43%
Graduation Rate 70%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 7% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $305
Out of State | $620

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

A member of the City University of New York system, Baruch operates a main campus in Manhattan. The school's bachelor's in actuarial science explores mathematical and statistical concepts in relation to the insurance industry. Students complete courses such as theory of interest, short-term insurance math, and mathematics of inferential statistics.

The college's admissions department evaluates both high school GPA and curriculum rigor. Applicants can also submit a college essay and optional letters of recommendation. Baruch does not require SAT or ACT scores through spring 2023.

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#4

University of Wisconsin-Madison

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $498
Out of State | $1,691

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Wisconsin's flagship public college, UW offers a top-ranked bachelor's in actuarial science program. This interdisciplinary degree combines knowledge from a variety of fields including economics, statistics, and computer science. Typical course topics include loss models, linear algebra, and data science programming.

Program applicants must apply to UW's School of Business before enrolling in the actuarial science program. Students must hold at least 24 UW credits (either completed or in-progress) with a minimum 2.75 GPA.

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#5

University of California-Santa Barbara

School Information
Location Santa Barbara, California
Admission Rate 30%
Graduation Rate 83%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester
In State | $3,976
Out of State | $15,347 

Credits to Graduate
N/A

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

A top-ranked California public college, UC Santa Barbara hosts one of the state's best bachelor's in actuarial science programs. Degree candidates receive broad training in math and statistics, including preparation for industry-standard actuary certification exams. 

Undergraduate applicants must hold a high school diploma with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The actuarial science program recommends students complete two years of algebra, plane geometry, and trigonometry while still in high school. UC Santa Barbara does not require SAT or ACT scores.

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#6

University of Central Florida

School Information
Location Orlando, Florida
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $212
Out of State | $749

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

One of Florida's major public colleges, UCF offers a top-rated bachelor's in actuarial science program. Candidates gain a broad understanding of actuarial risk assessment. They complete courses including matrix and linear algebra, life contingencies, and introduction to derivative markets. The curriculum may also include internship or co-op experiences with departmental approval.

Undergraduate applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. While not required, UCF strongly encourages applicants to complete an optional admissions essay.

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#7

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

School Information
Location Champaign, Illinois
Admission Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 85%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $12,474
Out of State | $30,446

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

One of Illinois' major public colleges, U of I offers a top bachelor's in actuarial science program. Students explore topics in statistics, mathematics, and economics. They can receive additional support through the school's Milliman mentorship program. Degree candidates choose from four concentration tracks: life and annuities, finance and investment, property and casualty, and predictive analytics.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts. Students can also submit optional SAT or ACT scores.

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#8

Purdue University

School Information
Location West Lafayette, Indiana
Admission Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $348
Out of State | $948

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

A public college based in Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue hosts one of the state's best bachelor's in actuarial science programs. Degree candidates gain a strong foundation in math and statistics. They can take courses in elementary linear algebra, financial management, and statistics for risk modeling. Most students pair the actuarial science major with a business management minor.

Purdue applicants must submit high school transcripts and an admissions essay. Applicants may also submit optional SAT or ACT scores.

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#9

Ohio State University

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 86%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $480
Out of State | $1,490

Credits to Graduate
121

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

A major public college based in Columbus, Ohio State offers a BA and BS in actuarial science. Students complete courses in topics including probability and statistics, linear algebra, and actuarial mathematics. Candidates can also complete an internship as part of the curriculum, gaining hands-on experience at a professional insurance company.

Bachelor's in actuarial science applicants must submit high school transcripts. SAT or ACT scores are optional through 2023. Applicants may also submit up to two letters of recommendation.

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#10

CUNY Queens College

School Information
Location Queens, New York
Admission Rate 49%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 3% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $305
Out of State | $620

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

A major New York public college based in Queens, QC offers a bachelor of business administration in actuarial studies. The program builds broad business knowledge and specialized actuarial skills. Typical courses include methods of math statistics, business law, and mathematics of finance. Candidates can also complete internships in the New York area.

Applicants to the bachelor's in actuarial science must submit high school transcripts. The school does not require SAT or ACT scores through spring 2023.

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How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Bachelor's in Actuarial Science ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 190 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Frequently Asked Questions About Actuarial Science Programs

Is a bachelor's in actuarial science worth it?

Yes. A bachelor's in actuarial science can prepare you for a variety of actuary careers with insurance agencies and other businesses. These jobs offer high salary potential and strong prospects for career advancement, making the degree a worthwhile investment for many students. Most programs also prepare you to obtain industry-standard certifications, which are required for careers in the field.

If you already work full time, putting your career on hold to earn a degree can be a difficult decision. However, many online programs allow you to take classes when they fit into your schedule, making it possible to maintain your current job while earning a degree.

What can I do with a bachelor's in actuarial science?

A bachelor's in actuarial science typically prepares you to work as an actuary in a variety of industries. While actuaries most commonly work in insurance, they may also find jobs in enterprise risk management or pension and retirement benefits. Actuaries may also work in the public sector, assessing financial risk for government agencies.

Actuaries often specialize in one area of insurance, such as health insurance, life insurance, or property insurance. They may also work as consultants for various businesses and individual clients. Actuaries with significant professional experience and business knowledge may eventually move into managerial roles, such as chief risk officer.

What continuing education is available for actuarial science graduates?

Actuaries can advance their career by earning higher levels of professional certification. Industry certifications typically include a continuing education requirement, which ensures actuaries maintain knowledge of the latest developments in the field. The Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuary Society (CAS) offer certifications for actuaries.

Both the SOA and CAS offer two major certification levels, which include associate and fellow. Associate-level certification often takes several years of professional experience, while fellowship-level requires several additional years. Actuaries can consult both societies' websites for information on continuing education and certification exam preparation.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in actuarial science?

The BLS reports that actuaries earned an annual median salary of $105,900 in May 2021. The lowest 10% of actuaries earned below $63,260, while the highest 10% earned over $206,820. Actuary salaries vary by many factors, including location, level of experience, and industry of employment.

Actuaries employed at government agencies earned the highest median salaries in 2021, at $110,590 per year. Finance and insurance actuaries follow closely behind, earning an annual median salary of $110,000 in 2021.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in actuarial science?

Management roles and other leadership positions typically pay the highest salaries for actuaries. Payscale reports that actuarial directors earned an average annual salary of $155,160 as of November 2021. Other top-paying jobs include chief actuary ($197,260 average salary as of June 2022 Payscale data) and senior actuary ($123,630 average salary as of April 2022 Payscale data).

With enough experience and additional business skills, actuaries may move into other leadership and upper management positions, such as financial management. The BLS reports financial managers earned an annual median salary of $131,710 as of May 2021.

Feature Image: Thomas Barwick / DigitalVision / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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