/ Mathematics and Statistics Department

Actuarial Courses

Hope College offers a sequence of courses designed for pre-actuary preparation.

Actuarial science is a field of study that uses mathematical models to put a present dollar value on future risky events. Historically, most actuaries have worked in the insurance and pensions industries. Today, actuaries are also involved in financial decision making for both individuals and companies.

The Jobs Rated Almanac has annually rated actuary as one of the top professions based on work environment, income, outlook, job security, stress and other factors. In particular, the actuarial profession is often called the “zero-unemployment” profession because the demand for actuaries has typically outpaced supply. Visit beanactuary.org for more information about the actuarial profession.

Who becomes an actuary

Actuaries are people who have very strong quantitative abilities, enjoy working in the business world, and who want to start their careers immediately after they attain their undergraduate degree (no post-graduate degree required). Again, visit beanactuary.org for more information.

What we offer

The Hope College Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers:

  • Actuarial exam preparation courses
  • Internship opportunities
  • All of the Society of Actuaries certified Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) courses
  • Funding opportunities for exam costs and study materials


Students must have passed the first of a series of certification exams before graduating in order to be competitive for jobs after graduation. Additionally, students who have completed Society of Actuaries certified Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) college courses, have had an internship in the actuarial field, and/or have completed subsequent actuarial certification exams are even more competitive for actuarial positions upon graduation.

Recommended Courses

The following courses are strongly recommended for students intending to become actuaries:

  • Math 365: Introduction to Probability
  • Math 366: Probability for Actuaries
  • Econ 211/212: Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
  • Bus 371: Financial Management
  • Econ 306: Econometrics

The last three courses listed above also satisfy the Society of Actuaries "Validation by Educational Experiences" certification.

The following courses are also recommended:

  • Math 311/312: Statistics
  • Math 231/232: Multivariable Mathematics 1 & 2
  • Math 362: Mathematical Statistics

Download a brochure about Pre-Actuary Preparation at Hope College. For more details on the actuarial profession (a profession consistently rated as one of the best), visit www.beanactuary.org.

First Exam
Students should take Introduction to Probability (Math 365) and Probability for Actuaries (Math 366) after taking at least the first two semesters of calculus. At the end of Math 366, students are ready to take the first actuarial certification examination.
VEE Courses
Through the Department of Economics, Management and Accounting, we offer all of the Society of Actuaries VEE courses. These include Macroeconomics (Econ 211), Microeconomics (Econ 212), Financial Management (Bus 371), and Econometrics (Econ 306).
The Career Services Office offers connections to summer internships with firms in Grand Rapids, Chicago, Detroit and beyond. Students may also obtain semester long internships as part of the Chicago or Philadelphia semester programs. Students that pass their first exam will be competitive for most summer internships.
Preparation for Subsequent Exams
The Hope College Mathematics and Statistics Department offers independent study opportunities for students who have completed their first exam and are preparing for the second, third or fourth exams.
Further Mathematics Study
While not required, pre-actuary students should also plan to take courses in applied statistics (Math 311/312), multivariable calculus (Math 231/232), and mathematical statistics (Math 362).
The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers competitive awards to cover the cost of exam registration and study materials.