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Actuarial Science Program at Frostburg State University

Actuarial Science Program at Frostburg State University

By Kathleen S. Elder, FSA


The Actuarial Science Program at Frostburg State University (FSU) is just nine years old. We have grown from an initial group of three majors to between 15 and 20 majors. Although based in the Department of Mathematics at FSU, the major requires a cross-section of business–related courses: Macro and Micro Economics; Introduction to Accounting; Management; Corporate Finance; and Principles of Insurance. Students are also required to take a basic computer course and a basic speech communications course, as well as pass the first SOA/CAS actuarial exam.

Student recruitment is not formal, although we do participate in the Uuniversitys tele–marketing process, with our departments telephone calls targeted at prospective students who have expressed an interest in either mathematics or actuarial science as a major. One of our selling points is that we currently have the only actuarial science major in the Maryland state university system, and our tuition is low enough to be attractive. We do not have any financial aid for recruiting strong students, although we have been able to provide some text books for mathematics courses for strong students.

We try to get an FSU graduate who is working as an actuary to attend Career Day each Fall (as part of the annual Homecoming festivities). Occasionally, we will have one former student who is making a formal presentation for Career Day, and one or two other former students who are available to meet informally with any undergraduates who are interested in actuarial careers.

Juniors and seniors majoring in actuarial science are eligible for a scholarship funded by BGS&G Insurance of Cumberland, Maryland, which is about 10 miles from FSU. This company, which is now CBIZ, has been a supporter of the program since its inception. In fact, they pledged the scholarship fund as part of the program development. The scholarship fund has been growing, and the annual amount available has increased from $250 per annum for one student to $1,000 per annum each for two students. The criteria include a good grade point average and a strong interest in actuarial science as a career, but special consideration is given to students from the western Maryland area (where FSU is located).

In addition to funding the scholarship, BGS&G/CBIZ has been the principal employer of our graduates. They also provide summer employment and part–time employment during the academic year for some of our undergraduates. Students who are from the Baltimore–Washington, D.C. area have found summer and post–graduation employment in those two cities, in insurance companies, consulting firms, and governmental agencies. As the coordinator of the program, I maintain contacts with our former students, and these contacts have been helpful in generating jobs for other students.

While I teach all of the actuarial courses (Theory of Interest and two semesters of Actuarial Mathematics), other members of the Mathematics Department teach the required mathematics courses. Economics, Accounting, and Business Departments faculty teach the non–mathematical business–related courses. These courses are not geared specifically for the actuarial exams, but are part of those departments curricula. No adjunct faculty are used for teaching the actuarial courses, as I am qualified to teach them.

Detailed information about FSU can be obtained on the Web site:

  • Kathleen S. Elder, FSA
  • Associate Professor of Actuarial Mathematics
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Frostburg State University
  • 101 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD 21532–1099
  • ph: 301.687.4384
  • f: 301.687.4795