Actuarial Science

Actuarial Science
This fact sheet gives recommended upper level courses that will be particularly useful to students interested in actuarial science.
The Mathematics Major - Actuarial Science Concentration
Lower Division Courses
MS 201 - Calculus 1 MS 245 - Linear Algebra
MS 202 - Calculus 2 MS 255 - Logic and Proofs
MS 203 - Calculus 3 Any CS course at the 100 level
Upper Division Courses Any six at the 300 or 400 level
Capstone MS 497-498 - Senior Research
Strongly Recommended Courses
MS 371 - Probability ES 101 - Macroeconomics
MS 372 - Statistics ES 102 - Microeconomics
Other Recommended Courses
MS/CS 350 - Mathematical Modeling MS/CS 392 - Numerical Analysis

What is an Actuary?

Actuaries quantify future risks for companies and organizations. The insurance industry are an obvious source of employment for actuaries, but most major companies and the government also employ actuaries. They price insurance policies and pensions and help to make decisions about beneficial future activities. Although the actuarial profession is small (a recent estimate was 18000), the actuarial career has been given a very high rating (the fourth best job) by the Jobs Rated Almanac in 2000.

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Career Preparation

Actuaries must not only have a strong knowledge of the analytical tools needed (mathematics, statistics, computer science), but also know the industry / company / organization they are evaluating. The ideal preparation is a major in mathematics with a minor in business, such as finance or applied statistics. Other useful areas of study include computer science, economics, liberal arts, and communications.

Becoming an actuary requires taking a series of exams that measure proficiency in skills deemed necessary. Most students will take one or two of these in college, and companies which employ actuaries give time and bonuses for completing the rest. It can take five to ten years to advance in this career, earning the professional designations of Associate, and then Fellow.

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Links To More Information

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Recent Graduates

  • Jonathan Anderson, 1999, University of Louisville
  • Julie Porcelli, 1993, William M. Mercer Inc.
  • Jeff Williams, 1991, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC

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