Actuarial Science

The Certificate in Actuarial Science is an eighteen (18) credit program composed of courses from two schools: the School of Science and Engineering and the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business.  The certificate is available to any Duquesne University student, and can be fully accessed only through fourteen (14) additional credits of prerequisite coursework.

The courses required for the Certificate in Actuarial Science are chosen to position students for successful completion of two actuarial exams before graduation, while simultaneously giving students at least three (3) courses that count towards the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) requirements as stipulated by the Society of Actuaries.

Program Information

The Certificate in Actuarial Science will position students for successful completion of two actuarial exams before graduation.



Required Credit Hours


Required Courses

This course introduces students to the way in which a free market economic system resolves the basic social questions of what goods and services to produce, how scarce resources are organized to produce these goods, and to whom the goods are distributed once they are produced. Students will explore the components of the market system, supply and demand, and how they interact under conditions ranging from perfect competition to monopoly. Market failures and their remedies are also examined.
This course introduces students to the basic economic principles of the aggregate economy. Students will explore the determinants of, and relationships among, the level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), unemployment, inflation, foreign trade and interest rates. In addition, various theories of the role of fiscal and monetary policy to promote stabilization will be addressed. 
Univariate and multivariate probability distributions of discrete and continuous random variables, mathematical expectation, limit theorems, random variable transformations, moment generating functions. Prerequisite: grade of "C" or better in MATH 116. 
Sampling distributions of random variables, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing for one and two sample settings. ANOVA, simple linear regression, estimation techniques, properties of estimators, likelihood ratio test. Prerequisite: grade of "C" or better in MATH 301.
Business Finance is a core course required for all undergraduate business majors. Students are introduced to the concept of shareholder wealth maximization through the following topics: financial statement analysis, time value of money, capital budgeting, cost of capital, risk and return, and impact of financial leverage on the value of the firm. Prerequisites: ACCT 214 and STAT 285. 
This course is designed to develop an understanding of futures and options and other derivative financial instruments. The main emphasis is on the reduction of asset and liability risk for business and financial institutions through hedging operations in debt and equity instruments, commodities and currencies. 

Prerequisite Courses

Introduces students to the discipline of accounting and the principles of financial reporting. Students will develop a basic understanding of how to use the financial statements to assess the profitability, liquidity and solvency of business entities. Students will gain an understanding of how financial statement information is communicated and be exposed to new technology tools to analyze and visualize financial data. 
The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to cost concepts, product costing systems, budgeting systems, and the development of accounting data for internal managerial decisions.  Students will gain an understanding of how accounting information is communicated within an organization and continue to work with technology to analyze and visualize accounting data.
Limits, continuity, and differentiation of algebraic, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, and inverse trigonometric functions. Sum, product, quotient and chain rule formulas for differentiation. Logarithmic and implicit differentiation. Linearization and differentials. Indeterminate forms and L’Hospital’s Rule. Graphing using the first and second derivative. Application of the derivative to optimization and related rates problems. Indefinite and definite integrals. Substitution rule for integration. Application of the definite integral to area problems. Credit is not allowed for both MATH 115/104, MATH 115/114, or MATH 115/111. Prerequisite: grade of "C" or better in MATH 105, or evidence of mastery of college algebra skills and trigonometry.
Applications of integration (areas, volume, work, arc length, surface area), additional techniques of integration, improper integrals, infinite sequences and series, including tests of convergence, power series, Taylor and Maclaurin series. Prerequisite: grade of "C" or better in MATH 114 OR MATH 115.

Recommended Course Sequencing

Students who follow the recommended sequencing can be ready to take the first actuarial exam (exam P - Probability) after completing MATH 301, as early as the spring or summer of their sophomore year. They can be ready to take the second actuarial exam (exam FM - Financial Mathematics) after completing FINC 331 and FINC 338, as early as the summer of their junior year. The recommended course sequencing will also give students room in their senior year to take additional courses that, although not part of the Certificate in Actuarial Science, would qualify toward further VEE requirements (or in the case of SOCI 408 would provide germane enrichment).

ACCT 214 and MATH 115
ACCT 215 and MATH 116
ECON 201 and MATH 301
ECON 202 and MATH 302W
FINC 313
FINC 338

Suggested Post-Certificate Courses

Financial Management provides the second part (with FINC 334) of the necessary conceptual foundation for upper-level courses in Finance and is required for the major in Finance. Topics include: financial statement analysis and financial forecasting, risk and return, the cost of capital, capital budgeting, real options in capital budgeting, the corporate valuation model and measures of financial performance. 
Econometrics is the application of statistical methods for the purpose of testing economic and business theories. This course will introduce students to the skills used in empirical research including, but not limited to, data collection, hypothesis testing, model specification, regression analysis, violations of regression assumptions and corrections, dummy variables and limited dependent variable models. Extensive focus will be on the intuition and application of econometric methods, and as a result, statistical software will be used extensively. Students will be required to complete an independent research project involving the application of regression analysis. 
In this course, students learn how to apply statistical and econometric tools in an attempt to forecast economic and business data. Drawing on techniques learned in Econometrics, students collect data, build forecasts, evaluate the forecasts, and apply economic theory and econometric techniques to refine the forecasts. Emphasis is placed equally on the student correctly performing and concisely communicating the forecasts. 
This course is an intensive study of the analytic techniques applicable to the selection of the various securities of private as well as public entities. Consideration is given to the markets in which these securities are traded and the type of information necessary to the decision-making process of the investor as the attempt is made to measure the value of a particular security. Several models are examined in seeking appropriateness in establishing the relative worth of a security. 
This course is a comprehensive examination of the evolving nature of the domestic and international money and capital markets, as well as the underlying forces which shape them. Attention is also paid to the clearing, settlements, and payment systems, which play an important part in the markets’ performance. The course is required for the Finance major. 
This course examines interrelationships among population processes and social, economic and political patterns of development. Specific emphasis is placed on the demographic contexts and consequences for policies in developing and developed societies.