FAQ in Actuarial Science and Statistics

Do you need help with your academic journey or have a question that you need to be answered now? Browse the topics below to see if your answer is there.

If you have a question that you can't find an answer to, please contact your respective advisor for Statistics and Actuarial Science or Financial Analysis and Risk Management.

General FAQs
General course questions
Actuarial Science accreditation questions
Actuarial Science FAQs
Statistics FAQs
Data Science FAQs
Financial Analysis and Risk Management FAQs

General Advising FAQs

I was unable to attend the SAS information night, can I have access to the slides?

Of course! If you have any questions after reviewing the slides, please send the SAS advisors an e-mail.

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

Questions about first-year core and general Mathematics things go to the Mathematics Undergraduate Office (MUO).

The Co-operative education office can help navigate everything related to co-op.

Questions about Statistics and Actuarial Science (SAS) go to the SAS advisors. Questions about Finanicial Analysis and Risk Management (FARM) go to the FARM advisors. See the schedule of advising hours.

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

  • Make sure you come with your questions prepared.
  • Any forms you need to have signed should be brought with you and should be filled out so that the advisor can spend their time helping you and everyone else, efficiently.

Where can I find a list of required courses for my program?

You can find the required courses either in the Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar, or see the undergraduate program sheets for any Statistics, Actuarial Science, or FARM program.

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.

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.

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 fewer courses to finish, can request a graduation check by emailing the SAS advisors for STATs and ACTSC or FARM advisors for FARM.

You can use our program sheets to check which course you need to pass.

General course questions

Where can I find course or class information?

Visit the Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar to find a description of a course.

See the Schedule of Classes for Undergraduate Students to find a class time or see enrolment total/capacity.

I forgot to course select for next term.

You must wait until the open enrolment (add/drop) period.

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

You will have to ask the advisors if they are 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.

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. Please contact your respective 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. The approval should be written (ex. in an e-mail) and then forwarded to your respective advisor.

When is the WD deadline/add period/last day to drop classes without penalty/etc.?

Check the calendar of important dates.

What is a "non-math" elective?

Any course which does not have a subject code of Mathematics (MATH), Actuarial Science (ACTSC), Applied Math (AMATH), Pure Mathematics (PMATH), Combinatorics and Optimization (CO), Computational Mathematics (CM), Math Business (MATBUS), Computer Science (CS), or Statistics (STAT).

What is considered a "math" course?

Any course with the subject code MATH, ACTSC, AMATH, PMATH, CO, CM, MATBUS, CS, or STAT.

Actuarial Science FAQs

What courses are required in 1A and 1B if I want to be in Actuarial Science?

The chart below shows a typical sequence for the average student. There are other versions that are fine too and will lead to Actuarial Science, at some point, but this is the most common.

1A term 1B term
Mathematics (MATH) 135/145 MATH 136/146
MATH 137/147 MATH 138/148
Computer Science (CS) 115/135 CS 116/136
MATH English proficiency course Elective
MTHEL 131 Elective (MTHEL 131 if not 1A term)

What electives do I need to take, and what if I cannot get into them?

The only elective you have to have finished in order to declare Actuarial Science is MTHEL 131. If you don’t have that course you will have to wait to major in Actuarial Science until you have it.

  • MTHEL 131: Needed to declare Actuarial Science.
  • Economics (ECON) 101 and 102: These are required as part of the program by the time you graduate and a mark of >70% in each of them gets you the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) in Economics.
  • Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) 101 and 102: AFM 101 is required for all ActSci programs. AFM 102 is only required as part of the Finance Specialization. The course(s) must be completed by the time you graduate. A mark of at least 70% in AFM 101 gets you half of the Accounting and Finance VEE.

If you try to enroll in these courses but can’t because they are full then take something else. We recommend you take something you can enjoy doing when you are getting through first year since it’s hard enough to adjust to university studies without extra stress of electives you don’t like.

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?

First check that you meet the Actuarial Science admission requirements.

To declare your major, you need to complete a plan modification form and email it to the SAS advisors for approval.

If you do not meet the 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.

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.

What courses do you recommend for 2A and 2B?

The chart below shows a typical sequence for the average student. There are other versions that are fine too but look different; especially for students who started in a first-year entry program of Bridge to Academic Success in English (BASE), but this is the most common.

2A term 2B term
Statistics (STAT) 230 STAT 231
MATH 235 ACTSC 372
MATH 237 Elective or AMATH 250
Elective Elective

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 Specialization and Actuarial Science Finance Specialization programs, the special major average, on 2014 and later 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 or COMM course is not considered a math course.

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 the 2014 or later calendar must maintain a SMAV of at least 70%.

What if I don't meet these requirements?

If you do not meet these requirements you will be told to wait a term and try again. The department is very strict about the requirements and does not make exceptions.

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.

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?

The Major Average for Statistics is comprised of all math courses. This average should be at least 65%.

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 a 60% in STAT 230 to take STAT 231?

No, just pass the course. Please note that a grade of 60% may be required in STAT 230 to take upper year STAT courses

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 SAS advisors 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 a 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 SAS advisors 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).

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:

STAT 330

STAT 331/371

STAT 332/372

STAT 333

STAT 341

STAT 337


STAT 450

STAT 431

STAT 443

STAT 430

STAT 454

STAT 433

STAT 440

STAT 441

STAT 442

STAT 444

STAT 431

STAT 436

STAT 437

Data Science FAQs

How do I transfer to Data Science?

Entry to the BMath Data Science is competitive.

The minimum requirements are:

1.  A minimum math average of 65%.

2.  A minimum CS average of 70%.

3.  Are enrolled in, or have completed CS 136.

If you meet these requirements, please complete this form prior to the last lecture day of the term. Application decisions are made at the start of the following term.

How many places are available?

We accept about 16 students per term in BMath Data Science.

What are the required averages?

We look at three averages: CAV, CS and MATH. All three averages have ranged independently from the mid 70s to low 90s.  This depends on the term and the students that apply.  It is impossible to predict what the average(s) will be in the term you apply.

Can I apply a second time?

Yes, you can apply again if you are unsuccessful the first time.  However it would be wise to have a back-up plan in place.

What is an alternative to Data Science?

An alternative might be a Statistics Major with a Computing Minor.  Aim to take CS 431.  Another alternative might be a BCS (Data Science) or a BMath (CS)/BCS with a minor in Statistics.

Is Statistics competitive?

No. Anyone who meets the minimum requirements can join.

When will I hear back from my application?

If you apply in term N you will hear back in term N+1. You may need to wait until after the add period.

What happens if I apply to Statistics, Computational Math, Computer Science, and Data Science?

Then you may get accepted by all four. If you are, congratulations! Simply accept the one you want and ignore the others.

How is BMath Data Science different from BCS Data Science?

BMath DS requires you to take MTHEL 300 as your 2nd communication course; BCS DS does not. The BCS DS requires you to take the depth and breadth requirements of CS; BMath DS does not.

Otherwise a BCS student is a CS major with some Statistics, and as such has access to any CS course. BMathDS is a Statistics degree with added CS. It does not let you into any CS course, but restricts you to the list.

Does being in BMath Data Science give you easier access to BCS Data Science?


Financial Analysis and Risk Management FAQs

I am in first year. How do I get into FARM?

First review the FARM admission requirements. If you meet the requirements, fill out a plan modification form and email it to FARM advisors.

What is a my FARM CAV, MAV, and SMAV?

CAV is your cumulative average. Both math and non-math courses are included, i.e. all courses.

MAV is your math average. All math courses are included, i.e. courses with the prefixes: ACTSC, AMATH, CM, CO, CS, MATBUS, PMATH, STAT.

SMAV is your special major average calculated from all courses with the prefixes: AFM, ACTSC, BUS, COMM, ECON and MATBUS.

What are the CAV, MAV and SMAV requirements for FARM?

CAV of at least 60%.

MAV of at least 60%.

SMAV of at least 70%.

My CAV/MAV/SMAV dropped below the FARM requirements. Will I be kicked out?

No, you will not be removed. However, you must meet the requirements of the CAV/MAV/SMAV by the time you graduate. If that is not possible, you will not be allowed to graduate with FARM and must select a different plan.

Can I take AMATH 250 instead of AMATH 350?

No, AMATH 350 is required for FARM. If you have already taken AMATH 250, you must take 350 and lose credit for 250.

I want a course override for a COMM or MATHBUS course.

During course selection or the add/drop period, email the FARM advisors.

I want a course override for a course that is not COMM or MATBUS.

Email the advisor of the program that owns the course, i.e. for a CS course, contact the CS advisors. For an ECON course, contact the ECON advisors. etc.

Contact details for advisors in the Faculty of Math.

Contact details for advisors for non-math courses (ECON, AFM, HRM, etc.).

What are Stocktrak milestones and when are they due?

As a FARM student you have access to the FARM pages in Learn. Look under the content labelled “Milestones” to see a description of each, the related deliverables and the due dates. If you still have questions email the FARM advisors.

I forgot to submit milestones. Will I be kicked out of FARM program?

You will not be automatically kicked out of FARM for late milestones, BUT your graduation may be delayed. Speak with FARM advisor as soon as possible.

I have an error message in StockTrak and I cannot access it.

E-mail the FARM advisors.