Actuarial Science

Actuarial science is the quantitative analysis of risk. In addition to mathematics and statistics courses, students in actuarial science take classes in finance, economics, and computer programming. If you are interested in majoring in Actuarial Science, please contact the Co-Director of Actuarial Science.

We have a first class actuarial science program that has been recognized by LOGO_CAE_COLOR_COLOR-PAN the Society of Actuaries as a Center of Actuarial Excellence.  A dedicated group of experienced faculty is ready to help you achieve your goals. The UWM undergraduate actuarial program is designed to prepare students for:

  • Exams P/1 and FM/2,
  • at least two VEE credits, and
  • one of the remaining three preliminary examinations.

For more information on the professional development requirements, visit the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society websites.  We also provide scholarships and examination fee reimbursement for qualified students.

What Do Actuaries Do?

Actuaries help individuals, businesses and society manage risk by evaluating the likelihood of future events and creating plans to reduce the negative financial or emotional impact of undesirable events. Some of the questions that actuaries address on a daily basis include:

  • What price best balances an insurance company’s risk tolerance with various risk parameters such as age of the insured, health status, place of residence, and other risk characteristics?
  • What would be the economic loss in the event of a flood, and how can these costs be covered?
  • How large a fund is needed for a company to provide pensions for its employees?
  • How likely is it for someone to be hospitalized? What is the average duration of a hospital stay, and how can the costs associated with each day of hospitalization be provided for?
  • In the event of a merger, how can the employee benefits plans of the different organizations be reconciled?
  • How should an investment portfolio be balanced to maximize return and minimize risk?

Actuaries also must take this information and convey it to their companies and customers clearly and concisely through written reports, graphs, charts, or other visual or oral presentation formats.

Career Opportunities

The actuarial profession consistently is rated as one of the top professions for income potential, job security, work environment and growth potential. Prior to entering the profession, actuaries must pass a series of rigorous professional examinations, but a graduate degree is not a requirement. Although most actuaries are employed by insurance companies, actuarial consulting firms, financial companies, and the government, every company in the private and public sector faces risk of some sort and thus employs professionals to manage this risk. For example, transportation firms, oil and gas companies, the Social Security Administration, airlines, large manufacturers, and federal and state government agencies that deal with labor issues all require the expertise of actuaries. Surveys of practicing actuaries generally show that most are very satisfied with their career. They describe their work as dynamic and challenging and believe they are developing lifelong professional skills that are transferable across multiple

Is Actuarial Science Right For Me?

Actuaries like to solve complex problems and explain their solutions to others. They enjoy learning and studying new topics on a regular basis, work well with all types of people, have strong writing and oral presentation skills and can work independently as well as in teams. Actuaries tend to be self motivated and have good business sense. Actuaries must have good interpersonal skills as well as specialized knowledge in mathematics, statistics, computer programming, economics and finance.