The Actuarial Career

What is an actuary?  The Canadian Institute of Actuaries describes the profession as follows:

"  Actuaries are business professionals who apply their knowledge of mathematics - particularly of probability, statistics and risk theory - to real-life financial problems involving future uncertainty.  These uncertainties are usually associated with life insurance, property and casualty insurance, annuities, pension or other employee benefit plans, or providing evidence in courts of law on the value of lost future earnings."

More information can be found at

The new (2005) education and examination process leading to the ASA (associate of the Society of Actuaries) designation is outlined below.  Further information is available on the websites of the Society of Actuaries (  under the section Education and Jobs) and of the Canadian Actuarial Society ( under the section on Admissions).


What you can do while at Acadia

I  Mathematics Educational Experience

The following Mathematics and Statistics courses will provide you with the courses you need to satisfy the mathematics educational experience required by the Actuarial Society.

  • Math 3233 Regression (prerequisite:  Math 2223)

  • Math 3283 Time Series (prerequisite:  Math 1333 or permission of the department and Math 2223)

Math 3283 and 3233 are rotated, with only one being offered in a given calendar year.   A student should plan to take one of the courses in their 3rd year and the other in 4th year.

In order to satisfy the prerequisites of these courses, you would need to take the following courses in your first and second years.

  • Math 1013 Introductory Calculus I

  • Math 1023 Introductory Calculus II (prerequisite: Math 1013)

  • Math 1333 is a suggested prerequisite for Math 3233 (recommended)

  • Math 2213 Applied Probability for Science and Engineering (prerequisite:  Math 1023)

  • Math 2223 Applied Statistics for Science (prerequisite: Math 2213)

  • Math 2013 Calculus of Several Variables

If you are majoring in mathematics, then you will be taking these six courses to meet the requirements of your degree.

The following course will partly prepare you for the society's exam P

  • Math 3213 Probability (prerequisites:  Math 2013 and Math 2223).   This course is offered every other year.  Note:  Extra study required for the society's exam P. There are some old actuarial exams and study guides available in our library.  Much of the material is also available on-line.   You could be ready to write exam P in the spring or fall after third year.

II  Economics Educational Experience

The following Economics courses will provide you with the courses you need to satisfy the economics educational experience required by the Actuarial Society.

  • Econ 1013 Microeconomic Principles

  • Econ 1023 Macroeconomic principles

III Corporate Finance Educational Experience

There does not appear to be a single semester course that matches the requirements for this credit.  In lieu of taking a course at Acadia, it is possible to prepare to take an exam administered by the society of actuaries.  The syllabus for this exam (and the others) is available at the website:  The course:

  • Busi 1013 Financial Accounting I

could provide the beginning of your training in this field.


IV  The Preliminary Education Examinations:  P, MF, M and C

These exams would normally be taken after one is employed by an actuarial firm, with the possible exception of exam P and MF.The rule of thumb is that it takes approximately 250 hours of study to prepare for these exams.

P:  Probability  - see the information under part I above

MF:  Mathematics of Finance

M:  Models for Qualifying Risk

C:  Construction and Evaluation of Risk Models.

For more information, please contact Professor Hugh Chipman (