Brief Synopsis of the Actuarial Program

What is an Actuary?

Actuaries are professionals who use their mathematical, statistical and financial skills to solve financial problems involving future uncertainty. They put price tags on future risks. Due to their versatility, actuaries enjoy a wide variety of challenging and rewarding careers. The main areas of practice for actuaries are:

  • Insurance industry (life and health insurance, property/casualty insurance, annuities). They are involved with most aspects of the business including the design, pricing and valuation of products, the solvency of the company, investment management, marketing, and administration.
  • Consulting. They offer advice on various aspects of pension plans, employee benefit schemes and financial planning.
  • Government agencies. They supervise insurance companies, design social security programs and project their costs.
  • Other areas. These include reinsurance, investment companies, banks, universities and large corporations.

Best Overall Job

According to The Jobs Related Almanac, actuary is consistently rated as one of the best jobs when salary, work environment, stress career outlook, security, and physical demands are jointly taken into consideration.

Professional Examinations

To become an actuary one must complete a series of professional examinations. For the life insurance and pension areas the examinations are jointly sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries.

For the property and casualty areas the examinations are offered by the Casualty Actuarial Society in consultation with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Actuarial Science at SFU

SFU currently offers 3 programs in Actuarial Science. The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science offers a program leading to a bachelor of science with a major or honors in Actuarial Science. The department also offers a Certificate in Actuarial Mathematics intended for second degree students. These programs prepare the student for most of the Society of Actuaries Associateship examinations (SOA exams P, FM, M and C) or the Casualty Actuarial Society Associateship examinations (exams 1 through 4).

Most courses are offered either at the Burnaby campus. Some courses may be offered at the Surrey campus or the Harbour Centre campus (515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver). Students should consult with academic advisors at the Students Services or the Actuarial Science program advisor.

More information is available in Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and here.

Scholarships and Awards

Co-operative Education

The Co-operative Education Program provides the opportunity to test skills and knowledge learned in the classroom, to acquire experience and to help students finance their education. Entrance requirements apply.

For further information, please contact

Co-ordinator for the Program in Actuarial Science