MA in Mathematics

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Mathematics with an Actuarial Focus

For more information or answers to your specific unanswered questions, please contact Dr. Mark Maxwell at

The University of Texas at Austin offers a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics with an actuarial focus.  Our program is intended for students needing to learn the academic content of SOA and CAS Exams FAM, ALTAM, ASTAM, SRM MAS-I,  and MAS-II.  Students that have already had formal classes on much of that material or passed any of those exams will not generally be admitted and should apply to one of the few more extensive actuarial programs elsewhere.

We do not admit new students in the spring or summer.  Students applying for our program are automatically considered for financial aid as a Teaching Assistant.  We have traditionally offered 2-4 Teaching Assistantships (covering tuition and pays a stipend) and admitted 2-4 non-supported graduate students.  More information about the University's tuition structure can be found here:

The actuarial M.A. program is essentially a professional program focused on providing the academic preparation for entry-level actuarial jobs in the United States.  Our program is funded by the State of Texas and strongly supported financially by actuarial employers throughout the United States, who hope to recruit qualified graduates of the program.  Students that are not U.S. Citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents usually have a much more difficult time finding internships and actuarial jobs in the United States. 


Admission Information

Interested students must complete the application for admission to the mathematics graduate program.  Our application deadline is December 15.  In addition, applicants must:

1. Include in the Statement of Purpose plans for using their actuarial education.

2. Send to the actuarial program director information on what actuarial exams they have passed, if any, either including a photocopy of actual score reports or identifying the month and year in which the exam was passed so the official pass list can be used to confirm the information.

The minimum score required on the GRE Quantitative for admission is 151, although successful actuarial graduate students usually score 161 or above.  Actuarial graduate students generally are expected to pass SOA Exam P no later than their first semester in the program, and preferably before they begin the graduate program; thus applicants need to have already succeeded in calculus, linear (matrix) algebra, calculus-based probability and, preferably probability-based statistics.  Most of our successful applicants have successfully passed at least one of SOA Exam P or SOA Exam FM. 

Since all of our admitted graduate students are considered for Teaching Assistantships, we require international students whose native language is not English to have a TOEFL score of at least 113 on the internet-based TOEFL test and pass an oral English assessment examination administered after they arrive at the University of Texas at Austin. 


Requirements for the M.A. (Actuarial Focus)

The M.A. in Mathematics requires at least 33 semester-credit-hours (11 three-credit courses) to include M 389U, M 389V, M 389J, and M 389P.   M.A. students can use at most nine hours of upper-division undergraduate hours (courses with second number between 2-7) with no more than six of those nine in a single subject.  Other coursework to be approved by the actuarial program director and the mathematics graduate program advisor.

Sample Course Plan

Possible schedules for graduate students may vary enormously, depending on exam status upon arrival.  This is an example of a graduate student who has Exam P successfully completed and is a teaching assistant.  Her goal is to stay for four semesters, pass as many additional actuarial exams and obtain a summer internship.

First Year
Fall: M 398T (required for all teaching assistants, but does NOT count toward the 33 credits required for graduation), M389D (Introduction to Financial Mathematics), and M 389F (Interest Theory).  Prepare to pass SOA exam FM in February.  Attend the CNS career fair in September and apply for internships.
Spring: M 389J (Probability Models with Actuarial Applications), Elective, and Elective (many students take M378K for VEE Statistics credit).

Second Year
Fall: M 389U (Life Contingencies I), M 389P (Actuarial Statistical Estimates), and Elective.  Prepare to Pass SOA exam FAM.  Attend the CNS career fair in September and apply for full-time jobs.
Spring: M 389V (Life Contingencies II), Elective (many select M389C - Actuarial Case Studies or M389G - Intro. to Statistical Learning), and Elective.  Sit for Exam ALTAM, ASTAM, or MAS-I.