Actuarial Science

Information on the Actuarial Science option within the Smeal College of Business.

Career Overview

Actuarial Science has been rated as the No. 1 career path in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The Actuarial Science major at Smeal prepares students for careers in insurance, consulting, finance, and government agencies that demand quantitative and qualitative skills. This major is also a STEM Designated Degree Program.

Actuaries are vital to the insurance industry, calculating the costs of life or health insurance, or how much an insurance company can expect to pay in claims due to natural disasters, car accidents, and other situations.

Employment Prospects

Smeal Actuarial Science students are highly sought by industry and government for internships and full-time jobs. Due to the size of the Smeal Actuarial Science program, Penn State hosts one of the largest actuarial career fair in the country with more than 30 companies attending each year.

Top Internship Companies at Penn State for ACTSC Top Full-Time Companies at Penn State for ACTSC
Cigna AON Hewitt
Highmark Deloitte
Prudential Prudential
PwC Transamerica
Transamerica Willis Towers Watson

Average Stating Salary: $75,000

Average Signing Bonus: $6,000

Average Internship Wage: $24/hour

Major Overview

The Actuarial Science major provides background in the wide range of knowledge needed to be an actuary including calculus, probability and statistics, financial and actuarial mathematics, economics, finance, risk management, pensions, and insurance. Math is a critical part of this major.

Smeal offers the courses needed to satisfy the professional Verification by Education Experience (VEE) requirement and courses designed to help you pass five of the preliminary professional examinations in the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), which one needs to be an actuary. Employers often provide support to help students pass the remaining exams after graduation.

More Information

Watch an informational presentation by Steven Putterman for the 2020 Spend A Summer Day

View our handout with information on the Actuarial Science major

You can find more information on the Actuarial Science major and what courses are required on the Undergraduate Education page.

You can also contact one of the three Actuarial Science faculty advisers with questions:

Steven Putterman Zhongyi Yuan Nan Zhu

Professor of Practice


Associate Professor


Assistant Professor


Additionally, the Actuarial Science Club's website has helpful information for students.