Is Actuary a Hard Major? Here’s Your Honest Answer!


Choosing a major can be a difficult decision, especially when there are misconceptions surrounding its level of difficulty. One such major that often gets a bad reputation is actuary. Many students believe that pursuing actuary is too difficult and may shy away from it as a result. However, it’s important to separate fact from fiction before making a decision about a potential major.

In this post, we’ll explore the question of whether actuary is a hard major and provide insights to help you decide if this is the right path for you. We’ll also provide tips to help you succeed in your studies and discuss alternative degree programs for those interested in actuarial work.

Actuary Major: Difficulty Level

Actuary is often considered a difficult major due to its heavy emphasis on mathematics and statistics. In addition, the curriculum can be challenging, with courses such as calculus, probability theory, financial mathematics, and statistics being required. However, it’s important to note that while the coursework is rigorous, it can be manageable with the right attitude and approach.

Actuaries also face real-world challenges, such as analyzing and managing risk for businesses and insurance companies. They must be able to effectively communicate complex concepts to clients and colleagues, work with large amounts of data, and make informed decisions based on their analysis. These demands require a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and excellent problem-solving skills.

Tips for Success in Actuary Major

If you’re considering pursuing a major in actuary, it’s important to approach it with the right mindset and study habits. Here are some tips for success:

  • Develop strong foundational skills in mathematics and statistics before starting the program, as these skills will be heavily relied upon throughout the curriculum.
  • Attend lectures, actively engage with the material, and take notes.
  • Practice problems regularly, seeking assistance from professors or tutors if needed.
  • Join study groups and take advantage of resources such as review sessions and office hours.
  • Stay organized and keep on top of deadlines and assignments, as falling behind in a fast-paced program like actuary can be detrimental.
  • Participate in internships or co-op programs to gain real-world experience and build your resume.

Alternative Degrees for Those Interested in Actuarial Work

While actuary is a specialized major, there are related degrees that share similar skill sets and can lead to similar career opportunities. Some examples include:

  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Economics
  • Finance

It’s important to research and compare the different majors to determine which one aligns best with your interests and career goals. Keep in mind that some majors may require more of a focus on theory, while others may have more of a practical or applied approach.

If you’re still unsure about whether actuary or a related major is right for you, it may be helpful to speak with a career counsellor or academic advisor for guidance. And remember, no major is inherently “easy” or “hard” – it all depends on your strengths and interests.

If you are interested in finding out more about whether geography is a hard major, Check out this post.

Interesting facts

Here are some interesting facts about the actuary major:

  • Actuaries consistently rank among the top-paying business professions globally, according to Forbes.
  • Actuaries use advanced mathematical, statistical, and financial theories for risk analysis and management.
  • The actuary profession has a faster-than-average job growth rate of 18% projected through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you’re interested in the actuary major, you may also want to check out our article on is mechanical engineering worth it, which provides an in-depth look at the benefits of pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.


What is an actuary?

An actuary is a professional who uses mathematical and statistical techniques to analyze and manage financial risk.

What kind of coursework do actuaries take?

Actuaries take a variety of courses in mathematics, statistics, economics, finance, and business. Some examples of specific courses include calculus, probability, financial modeling, and risk management.

Is the actuary major difficult?

Yes, the actuary major is considered to be challenging due to its rigorous coursework and the demanding work of actuaries.

What are some tips for succeeding in the actuary major?

Some tips for success in the actuary major include developing a strong foundation in math, practicing good time management skills, and seeking out internships or other professional experiences.

What is the job outlook for actuaries?

The job outlook for actuaries is excellent, with a projected growth rate of 18% through 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What kind of career opportunities are available for actuaries?

Actuaries can work in a variety of fields, including insurance, finance, healthcare, and government. Some specific job titles include risk analyst, actuarial analyst, and chief risk officer.

How much do actuaries typically earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for actuaries in the United States is $108,350.

What are some related majors to actuary that offer similar skill sets?

Related majors to actuary include mathematics, statistics, finance, and economics.

What other factors should I consider when deciding on a major?

In addition to considering job prospects and earning potential, it’s important to also think about your personal interests, values, and skills when deciding on a major.

Where can I find more information about the actuary major and career path?

You can visit the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) for more information about the actuary profession and related certification programs.

Real experience

Sophie was always a math whiz in high school, so when she graduated, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in a mathematical field. She decided to major in actuary, but quickly found that it was much more challenging than she had anticipated.

At first, Sophie felt overwhelmed by the coursework and struggled to keep up with the pace of her classes. However, she didn’t let that discourage her. She sought out extra help and spent countless hours studying and practicing problem sets until she felt confident in her abilities.

For Sophie, the hard work has paid off. She landed an internship at a major insurance company during her junior year and was offered a job after graduation. Now a successful actuary, Sophie reflects on her journey and is proud of herself for pushing through the tough times. She knows that her determination and problem-solving skills will continue to serve her well in her career.


Deciding on a major is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your future career path. While actuary is often considered a difficult major, with the right mindset and study habits it can be manageable and lead to a rewarding career.

Remember to seek out resources and support to help you succeed, and consider related majors if actuary isn’t the right fit for you.

For those interested in going above and beyond, there are even opportunities to pursue a double major in actuary and mathematics. However, be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons before committing to such a rigorous program. Check out this post for more information.

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