Section Navigation: Graduate Programs
Certificate in Actuarial Sciences FAQ
What are the prerequisites for admission to the Actuarial Certificate program?
The minimum mathematical background required for admission to the Certificate program is completion of the following GMU Mathematics courses or their equivalent. Descriptions of these courses and their prerequisites can be found in the Graduate Catalog.
- MATH 113 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry I)
- MATH 114 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry II)
- MATH 213 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry III)
- MATH 203 (Matrix Algebra)
- MATH 351 (Probability)
- MATH 352 (Statistics)
Alternately, the requirements are met if a student has passed SOA Exam P or CAS Course 1. Note that no course should be taken without the proper prerequisites.
If you are not sure whether or not courses you have taken as an undergraduate are sufficient, contact the graduate coordinator.
What if I don't meet all of the prerequisites?
We recommend that you take the appropriate undergraduate courses under the Non-Degree Program. To determine exactly which courses you should take, contact the graduate coordinator.
Can I take some courses without being admitted to the Certificate program?
The Non-Degree Program allows students to take a course for which they have the necessary prerequisites without being admitted to a degree or certificate program. If a student subsequently is admitted to a program, any course taken under the Non-Degree Program is treated as transfer credit, and is subject to all applicable restrictions (indicated here in the COS Policies for Graduate Students webpage). However, if a student registers for a course under the Non-Degree Program and then at some point during that semester is admitted to a degree program, the course automatically counts toward the degree and is not treated as transfer credit.
How do I apply for admission to the Actuarial Certificate program?
The online application process can be started with Admissions, where you can also obtain forms and other information. A completed application packet consists of: (1) the online application form, (2) your undergraduate transcripts, (3) three letters of recommendation, and (4) a goals statement. International students may have additional requirements. Please check with Admissions for information regarding additional required documents for international applications.
What if I am already in another degree program at Mason?
If you are currently enrolled in a Ph.D. or Doctoral degree program, If you are currently enrolled in a Ph.D., Doctoral, or Masters degree program, you can apply to the Certificate in Actuarial Sciences program using a Graduate Secondary Certificate Program Application form. If you are currently enrolled in a different Certificate program at GMU, you will need to apply to the Certificate in Actuarial Sciences program as a new student. In some cases, credits earned toward your Ph.D., Doctoral or Masters degree can also be applied to the MS degree. Please note that you cannot count the same courses for two different Graduate Certificates.
What is the application deadline?
Current application deadlines can be found on Admissions website. Applications received after the deadline are processed in the Mathematics Department on a rolling basis, which means that applications are acted on shortly after they are complete and after the application materials have been forwarded to the department by the COS Graduate Admissions office. Applications received after the deadline often take longer to process, so in order to ensure that your application materials are forwarded in a timely fashion, it is recommended that you submit your application by the above deadlines.
It should be noted that Math 554 (Mathematics of Compound Interest) regularly runs in the summer. This course is a requirement for the Certificate in Actuarial Sciences and is a prerequisite for Math 555 and 556 (Actuarial Mathematics I, II). The student entering the Certificate program who has not already had this course or its equivalent must take this course first. Consequently a student seeking Fall admission to the Certificate program must either take this course as a nondegree student in the summer before being admitted, or wait until the following summer to start the course sequence for the Certificate. Please bear this in mind when considering applying to the program.
Is it possible to waive the application fee?
No. It is the policy of the College of Science not to waive the application fee under any circumstances.
Is the GRE required?
The GRE is not required for admission to the Certificate in Actuarial Sciences program.
Is there any financial aid available?
The Mathematics Department does not make Graduate Teaching Assistantships available to students in the Certificate in Actuarial Sciences program. Other part-time job opportunities not originating with the Mathematics Department are brought to our attention from time to time. Information on such positions will be sent in an email.
I am an international student. Is there anything special I should know?
International students who wish to apply to the graduate program are subject to certain policies. For example, they are subject to application deadlines imposed by the College of Science, they must take the TOEFL or the IELTS exam. Information on requirements can be found here. Students may obtain more information from the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS).
Are graduate courses offered at night?
Most graduate courses are held at night, starting at 4:30pm or later.
Are graduate courses offered in the summer?
The only graduate course that regularly runs in the summer is Math 554 (Mathematics of Compound Interest). It should be noted that this course is a requirement for the Certificate in Actuarial Sciences. The student who wishes to complete the Certificate Program as efficiently as possible should take this course during the summer, as it is a prerequisite for Math 555 and 556 (Actuarial Mathematics I, II).
How can I find out when a particular graduate course will be offered?
The graduate course frequency chart indicates when all courses numbered 500 and above are typically offered. Also on this page is a listing of the graduate course offerings for the past several years. The student should understand that this is a planning document and not a guarantee that these courses will be offered in the semester indicated.
Is an undergraduate allowed to take graduate courses?
Qualified undergraduates may take graduate courses. Details and links to the necessary forms can be found at the Registrar's webpage.
I intend to graduate this semester. What do I do?
Graduation is not an automatic process. You must apply to graduate! Everything you need to know and do, together with all relevant deadlines, can be found here.