FAQ in Actuarial Science and Statistics

How do I figure out who my advisor is and when they have office hours?

What do I need to bring with me to my advisor?

  • Make sure you come prepared with your questions ready to be asked.
  • Any forms you need to have signed should be brought with you and be filled out before coming to the office.
  • Remember the advisors have many students to see and lots of other work to do besides advising you. While they are happy to help they can’t be wasting time (and desk space) watching you fill out a form you should have brought with you filled out.

Do old/new rules apply to me.
Majoring in Actuarial Science.
Course specific questions.
Accreditation question.
Statistics FAQs.
Struggling in Actuarial Science.
Other questions.


Do old/new rules apply to me

I like the new calendar requirements better. Can I change calendars?

You may follow any calendar that has come out since you have been studying as an undergraduate student at UWaterloo. Just fill out a plan modification form and see your advisors. The default is to follow the calendar from the year you started.

I read MTHEL 300 is now a required course, does this apply to me?

Only students using the 2015/2016 (or later) calendar are required to complete MTHEL 300. So unless you change your calendar you won’t have to take the course.

I saw that ACTSC 232 now requires 60% in MTHEL 131 and 60% in ACTSC 231. I didn’t know about this, can I get an exception?

This change applies to all students (except the Laurier/Waterloo Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)/Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) double degree students) and no exceptions will be made.

I took the ELPE and passed with a ‘fair’. Can I rewrite the ELPE to get a better mark?

No. ELPE marks are final and once you have passed it you are not allowed to write it again.

When can I see my advisor to have my remaining courses to graduate looked over?

Students who are at least in their 4A term, and have 10 or less courses to finish can visit the advisor during normal office hours to have a grad check completed. Students should have first done this themselves, and bring the results with them to the meeting to speed things along.

See the department of Statistics and Actuarial Science program sheets.

I’m in Actuarial Science Co-operative Education (co-op), is there anything I need to watch out for?

Students in co-op sequence B and D need to be careful because they end with 4A and 4B both in winter. In order to complete all the required ACTSC courses in time, students must get into Statistics (STAT) 330 and STAT 333 in their 3A term, so that they can complete ACTSC 431 & 432 (ACTSC) or ACTSC 431 & 445 (ACTSC Finance) in their 3B term. ACTSC 431, 432 and 445 are all only offered in fall and spring terms.

Majoring in Actuarial Science

When can I declare Actuarial Science as my major?

Typically students select their major in 2A or 2B, but you can do it in 3A or later too.

What do I do to declare Actuarial Science as my major?

To declare your major you need to get the signature of the Actuarial Science advisor on your plan modification form. You can do that at normal office hours (except for the first two weeks of a term).

If you do not meet these requirements you will be told to wait a term and try again. Additionally, we only admit students from within the Mathematics Faculty, so if you are in a different faculty you must transfer to Mathematics before you are eligible for entry to Actuarial Science. If you don't meet the requirements by the end of 3A you should strongly consider another major, as fourth year courses are open only to Actuarial Science majors.

What courses do I need for my major?

Please refer to our program sheets.

How do I know what calendar I am using?

Students automatically are using the calendar from their first term at Waterloo. So if you started in fall 2014 you are assigned the 2014/2015 calendar. The only way it changes is if you change it with a plan modification form. You can find a list of calendars on the Undergraduate website.

What is a CAV and MAV? How are they calculated?

The CAV (Cumulated Average) is the overall average grade of all courses while a student is in the Faculty of Mathematics. The MAV is your Major Average, and the calculation depends on what program and calendar you are in. For the Actuarial Science and Actuarial Science Finance Option programs, the major average, on 2013 and prior calendars is the average grade from the following courses:

  • ACTSC 231 and ACTSC 232
  • STAT 230 and STAT 231
  • All 300-400 level math courses (math courses include ACTSC, Applied Mathematics (AMATH), Pure Mathematics (PMATH), Combinatorics and Optimization (CO), Computer Science (CS), and STAT – a MTHEL course is not considered a math course)
  • In the 2014/2015 and subsequent calendars, the courses above are your Special Major Average (SMAV) and your MAV is  all your math courses.

What are my CAV/MAV requirements?

  • You must maintain a CAV of at least 60% to stay in good standing and remain in the Math Faculty.
  • Students using 2013 or prior calendar must maintain a MAV of at least 70% to stay in the program.
  • Students using the 2014 or later calendar must maintain a MAV of at lest 70%.

Course specific questions

How can I take a sixth course in a term?

You may take six courses if you have an overall CAV of at least 80%. This requirement may be relaxed for students in 4B who need six courses to finish, at the discretion of the undergraduate advisor.

Can I take courses while I am on co-op?

Students are always allowed to take one course while on co-op. Students may be permitted to take a second course during co-op terms if it has been approved by their employer.

I took ACTSC 221 before I decided to major in Actuarial Science. Do I still have to take ACTSC 231?

Yes. It contains more material and is more in depth. We will not accept ACTSC 221 in place of ACTSC 231 regardless of your grade.

The ACTSC course that I want to take is already full. What can I do?

You will have to ask the actuarial science advisor if s/he is willing to sign a course override form. In most cases you will be told to wait until the first week of classes and try to sign yourself into any free spots that open in the course.

The advisor will only sign you into the course if resources and the instructor permit. If the advisor does not sign the override form you cannot take the class.

I want to take a course and its pre-requisite in the same term. What do I do?

You will need an override form from an Actuarial Science advisor.The advisor (after checking with the course instructor) will do so only if there is good reason, and if your grades are sufficient that you will be able to fill in with self study where your preparation is not sufficient. Some combinations are never allowed as the pre-requisite material is too central to the following course for them to be taken at the same time. An example is ACTSC 232 and ACTSC 331.

I need ACTSC 446 to count as STAT 446 for my minor/double honours in Statistics. Can I count it as both ACTSC 446 for the Actuarial Science requirements and as STAT 446 for the Statistics requirements?

Only if you took ACTSC 446 (STAT 446) before spring 2012. As of fall 2012 STAT 446 is no longer offered at Waterloo and so the course cannot be double counted.

What electives should I take?

It is entirely up to you. Employers do not seem particularly interested in minors, though an Economnics (ECON) minor might help if you are interested in going into finance and/or investment.

The employers tell us they like some breadth – arts electives are popular as they give the impression that you are comfortable outside of mathematics.

What is a “non-math” elective?

Any course which does not have a subject code of Mathematics (MATH), ACTSC, AM, Pure Mathematics (PMATH), CO, Computational Mathematics (CM), CS, or STAT.

I am a first year student interested in Actuarial Science. What courses should I take in first year?

See see the FAQ from first-year Actuarial Science students.

I got a 55% in a course, how can I exclude it?

You can no longer exclude any courses.

Accreditation questions

Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) accreditation.

Statistics FAQs

What do I need to be admitted to statistics?

See the admission requirements on the Undergraduate website.

What is my MAV for statistics?

If your calendar is 2013 or prior, the average of all 300 and 400 level math courses (AMATH, PMATH, CO, CS, STAT, ACTSC, etc) must remain above 60% for you to stay in the statistics program.

If your calendar is 2014 or later, all math courses must remain above 60% for you to stay in the statistics program.

I was in Business (or Financial Analysis and Risk Management (FARM)) before and I took STAT 371 and 372. Do they count as STAT 331 and 332?

Yes, together they both count as both courses. They do not each count individually though.

I was in Business (or FARM) before and I took STAT 334. Does it count as STAT 330 and/or STAT 333?

No. If you want a statistics major you must take STAT 330 and STAT 333. You will lose the credit for STAT 334, meaning you would have to take 41 courses overall.

Do I have to get 60% in STAT 230 to take STAT 231?

No.

Do I have to get 60% in STAT 230 to take STAT 330, 333, 334, 340, or 341?

Yes. If you don't get a grade above 60% the first time you take STAT 230 and you want to do a statistics major, you must retake it. You will need an override from the statistics advisor to do so. Both marks will count in your average (unless you specifically exclude the first one, which makes it count as a failed course.) You will only get credit for the course once, so you will need to take another course later to replace it (41 courses overall).
Note: if you took STAT 230 in spring 2011 or earlier, this does not apply to you.

Do I have to get 60% in STAT 231 to take STAT 331, 332, 371, or 373?

Yes. If you don't get a grade above 60% the first time you take STAT 231 and you want to do a statistics major, you must retake it. You will need an override from the statistics advisor to do so. Both marks will count in your average (unless you specifically exclude the first one, which makes it count as a failed course.) You will only get credit for the course once, so you will need to take another course later to replace it (41 courses overall).
Note: if you took STAT 231 in spring 2011 or earlier, this does not apply to you.

I'm in my fifth term, so why is Quest not letting me into STAT 333?

You must be in 3A to take STAT 333. 3A begins when you have passed 19 unique courses, not just when you start your fifth term. So if you have failed one or two, or taken a couple of terms with only four courses, you are not in 3A yet. Exceptions to this requirement are rare, and reserved for extremely strong (average > 90%) students.

What 400 level STAT courses should I take?

For a general guideline, look at the pre-requisite for the 400 level course. If you enjoyed the 300 level course(s) that it requires, then you will likely enjoy that 400 level course as well!

For example. If you enjoyed STAT 333, there is a good chance you will enjoy STAT 433. If you enjoyed STAT 331, you may enjoy STAT 431 or STAT 443.

Struggling in Actuarial Science

My MAV has dropped below the minimum. What can I do?

If your MAV average is below 70% you should consider another major such as statistics or mathematical studies. You can use your next term to take Actuarial Science courses that are not limited to only Actuarial Science majors to try and bring up your average in order to be readmitted. If you try this and your average is not above 70% after one term you should pick another major, as the upper year courses are for actuarial science majors only.

I got a 45% in a course, how can I exclude it?

You can no longer exclude any courses.

Other questions

What do I need for an Economics minor?

Students using the 2012/2013 calendar or later nered 8 ECON courses.

ECON 221 will not count towards the BMath degree (but will count as one of the ten required ECON courses). ECPM 321 is an anti-requisite of STAT 231. ECON 372 is an anti-requisite for ACTSC 446. Taking it as the ECON version will prohibit you from getting credit for ACTSC 446.

I am in co-op sequence B or D and my last two study terms are winter terms. Will the courses I need be offered then?

No. ACTSC 431, 432, and 445 are only offered spring and fall. If you end up getting an 8-month work term sometime before fourth year, this problem will sort itself out because your sequence will be rearranged around your 8-month work term and one of your last 2 terms will be spring or fall.

If you have gotten all the way to fourth year and are still following your original sequence (B or D), you have two options:

  • drop one work term. You would have your fifth (and final) work term in spring, and 4B in fall, graduating 4 months early.
  • add an extra school term. You would have your fifth work term in spring, school in fall, sixth work term in winter, and an extra school term the following spring. You'd get all six work terms but graduate 4 months late.

If neither of those options appeals to you, plan ahead!