How do I figure out who my advisor is and when they have office hours?
- Please respect the advisors' office hours and only visit them during their hours.
- Advisors’ hours change every term in Actuarial Science. Up-to-date information is kept on the academic advisors page on the Faculty of Mathematics website and is posted outside the advisors’ office doors.
- You can email the Actuarial Science advisors.
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?
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 Waterloo. Just fill out a plan modification form and see your advisors. The default is to follow the calendar from the year you started in the Math faculty.
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.
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 use the Calendar from their first term in the Math faculty. 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 SMAV? How are they calculated?
The CAV (Cumulative Average) is the overall average grade of all courses while a student is in the Faculty of Mathematics.
The SMAV is your Special Major Average, and the calculation depends on what program and calendar you are in. For the Actuarial Science, Actuarial Science Predictive Analytics Option and Actuarial Science Finance Option programs, the special 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 2012/2013 and earlier calendars, the courses above are your Major Average (MAV).
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 SMAV of at least 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, but requires a petition to the Standings and Promotions (S&P) committee. See your academic 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. In the future make sure you course select for you upcoming terms to avoid this problem.
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), Math Business (MATBUS), CS, or STAT.
I am a first year student interested in Actuarial Science. What courses should I take in first year?
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 2014 or later, all math courses must remain above 65% for you to stay in the statistics program.
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 or minor, 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, just pass the course.
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. You will only get credit for the course once, so you will need to take another course later to replace it (41 courses overall).
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. You will only get credit for the course once, so you will need to take another course later to replace it (41 courses overall).
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!
If you liked:
Struggling in Actuarial Science
My SMAV has dropped below the minimum. What can I do?
If your SMAV 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.
What do I need for an Economics minor?
Students using the 2012/2013 Calendar or later need 8 ECON courses.
ECON 221 will not count towards the BMath degree (but will count as one of the ten required ECON courses). ECON 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!