Actuarial Science

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A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

Conferences: Students and faculty travel to two conferences each year.

Seminars: Faculty show what they have been working on and students present their research projects.

Tutoring Jobs: Available to students interested in teaching others and mastering basic principles.

Faculty & Staff


Brett Calhoon headshot
Instructor of Mathematics
B.A., Humboldt State University, Mathematics, 2010, M.S., Western Washington University, 2014
Phone: 970.943.7024
Office Location: Hurst Hall 216
Robert A. Cohen, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Mathematics, Chair of the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
B.A. Humboldt State University, Mathematics, 1996, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder, Mathematics, 2004
Phone: 970.943.2111
Office Location: Hurst Hall 210
Kim Fix, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Mathematics
B.A., Winona State University, 2000, Ph.D., University of Iowa, Mathematics, 2009
Phone: 970.943.3234
Office Location: Hurst Hall 216
Erik Kjosness, M.S. headshot
Lecturer of Mathematics
B.A., Western, Math and Computer Information Science (emphasis in Graphic Design), 2004, M.S., Montana State University, Mathematics, 2014
Phone: 970.943.2127
Office Location: Hurst Hall 108
Jeremy Muskat, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Professor of Mathematics
B.A., Western, Mathematics, 2000, M.S., University of Vermont, Mathematics, 2003, Ph.D., Colorado State University, Mathematics, 2007
Phone: 970.943.3150
Office Location: Hurst Hall 112
Alex Rasche headshot
Lecturer of Math
B.S., Texas State University - San Marcos, Mathematics and Physics, Ph.D., Texas State University - San Marcos, Mathematics Education
Phone: 970.943.7009
Office Location: Hurst Hall 114
Sarah Schaefer headshot
Mathematics Lecturer
B.A., Concordia University Portland, Psychology, 2002, B.A., Concordia University Portland, Education, 2002, M.S., Montana State University, Mathematics, 2015
Phone: 970.943.7023
Office Location: Hurst Hall 106
Zachary Treisman, Ph.D.  headshot
Lecturer of Mathematics
B.A., Reed College, Mathematics, 1999, M.S., University of Washington, Mathematics, 2003, Ph.D., University of Washington, Mathematics, 2006
Phone: 970.943.2075
Office Location: Hurst Hall 110


FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 BUAD 311 - Essentials Excel Skills for the Workplace (1 credits)

This course prepares the student for Microsoft Excel Office Specialist certification. This course covers all of the topics tested by the certifying examination including managing worksheets and workbooks, applying formulas and functions, analyzing and organizing data, visual presentation of data, and sharing worksheet data with others. Prerequisites: college-level mathematics requirement with a minimum grade of "C-" or instructor permission

 BUAD 312 - Advanced Excel Applications (2 credits)

This course emphasizes the use of computer spreadsheets to organize, analyze and present quantitative information to aid managerial decision-making. The course exercises include examples from several disciplines including business, energy and environmental impact analysis, natural sciences, and social sciences. Specific topics will include business planning and budgeting, capital budgeting and net present value analysis, time value of money, cost / benefit analysis, goal seeking, scenario planning and pivot tables.Prerequisites: BUAD 311, Excel Office Specialist certification or instructor permission.

 ECON 201 - Macroeconomics (3 credits)

An introduction to the methods, models, and approaches used by economists to analyze and interpret events and policies related to the overall operation of the economy. The course endeavors to make sense of unemployment, inflation, recessions, debt and deficits, economic growth, the expanding role of the Federal Reserve, and policies to provide stability to the economy. Additional attention is given to the making of economic policy in an era of globalization. Finally, students are exposed to multiple schools of thought regarding macroeconomic reasoning. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; pass MATH 099; or Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test score of 85 or higher, or university-level math requirement with a minimum grade of C-. Prerequisite or corequisite: ENG 102.

 ECON 202 - Microeconomics (3 credits)

The theory of microeconomics makes use of the tools of marginal cost-benefit analysis to provide a framework for the economic analysis of decision-making. The focus is on the choices of individual firms and consumers, and the resultant outcomes in individual markets. The social implications of the functioning of competitive markets are examined, as well as the causes of market failure and the potential roles of government in correcting them. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; pass MATH 099; or Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test score of 85 or higher, or college-level math requirement with a minimum grade of "C-."

 ECON 316 - Econometrics (3 credits)

The application of advanced statistical methods and modeling to an empirical understanding of economic issues. Combines elements of statistical reasoning with economic theory and provides an excellent opportunity to combine concepts learned in previous economics courses. Topics covered include multiple regression analysis, model specification, dummy variables, multicollinearity, heteroscedasticity, autocorrelation, limited dependent variables, simultaneity, time series, forecasting, and methodological issues. Prerequisites: ECON 201or ECON 202; and ECON 216 or MATH 213.

 ECON 361 - Money, Banking and Financial Markets (3 credits)

A survey of the core topics relating to the monetary sector of the economy. This includes an examination of the role and nature of money, financial institutions and markets, banking structure and regulation, determinants of interest rates, central bank policy, exchange rates, and the international monetary system. Attention is also given to particular monetary episodes such as the Great Depression, the Latin American debt crisis, the collapse of the Mexican Peso, and the Asian monetary collapse. Prerequisites: MATH 140, MATH 141, or MATH 151 with a minimum grade of ÒC-Ó; ECON 201.

 MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 credits)

A course in the use of statistical techniques to draw knowledge from data. Topics include exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, t-procedures, ANOVA, chi squared procedures, regression, and non-parametric tests. Statistical software is used extensively to analyze real data sets. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-, or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission. GT-MA1

 MATH 252 - Calculus III (4 credits)

Topics include calculus of functions of several variables, differentiation and elementary integration, vectors in the plane and space. Prerequisite: MATH 251 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 313 - Statistical Modeling and Simulation (3 credits)

A study of statistical techniques used to model and simulate stochastic processes. The core topics include linear and nonlinear multivariate models, generalized additive models, time series models with auto-correlated error, and mixed effects models. Emphasis is placed on computational techniques appropriate to large data sets and data visualization. Prerequisites: MATH 213 or ECON 216, MATH 260, CS190.

 MATH 314 - Applied Probability (3 credits)

A study of the basic principles of probability theory and their applications. Topics include combinational analysis, conditional probabilities, descrete and continuous random variables, and measures of centrality and variance. Emphasis is placed on applications using probability distributions (including binomial, geometric, Poisson, uniform, exponential, and normal distributions) to assess and manage risk in the fields of finance, insurnace, medicine, and quality control. Prerequsite: MATH 251 with a grade C- or better.

 MATH 414 - Actuarial Mathematics (3 credits)

A study of mathematical concepts useful in risk management, including multivariate probability and interest theory. Topics include the Central Limit Theorem, joint distributions, combinations of distributions, conditional and marginal probabilities, time value of money, annuities, and loans. Emphasis is placed on solving problems from the actuarial field, including applications to insurance and business. Prerequisites: MATH 252 with a minimum grade of ÒC-Ò; MATH 314 with a minimum grade of ÒC-.Ó


Actuarial Science is an interdisciplinary field that uses mathematics, statistics, economics and business to analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. Actuaries are essential to the insurance industry and have among the best job outlooks of any profession.

The Program

The Actuarial Science emphasis provides a strong mathematical background that emphasizes topics in statistics and probability with supplementing courses in business and economics. The coursework in this program prepares students for the first actuarial exam in probability (SOA exam P) and provides much of the background needed for the second exam in financial mathematics (SOA exam FM). Most Actuarial Science students are able to pass the first professional certification test before they graduate.

Careers & Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Actuarial jobs will grow 22 percent by 2026, which is much faster than the national average. Actuaries work with other professionals in a variety of fields, including:  

  • Enterprise risk management
  • Government
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Market research
  • Pension and retirement benefits
  • Property and casualty insurance

Learn More

Reach out to Robert A. Cohen, Ph.D. for more information.