Actuarial Science Major
General Information
Actuaries are business professionals who quantify, model, and analyze risk in a business environment. Wherever risk or uncertainty is present, such as in the contexts of life, property or casualty insurance, health care, or in the financial management of pensions or annuities, actuaries are needed to understand and manage that risk. An actuary needs to have a solid grounding in the theory and applications of calculus, probability and statistics, mathematical finance including interest theory, and various mathematical modeling techniques.
In addition to their mathematical analysis and problem-solving abilities, actuaries need to have excellent oral and written communication skills as well as a basic understanding of economics, finance, and corporate structure and decision making. An ideal actuary has mastery of technical mathematical material, can apply it in its proper context, and can communicate it to an appropriate audience.
Career Opportunities
The job of actuary is consistently rated very highly in terms of job satisfaction, salary, employment outlook, work environment, and growth opportunity. One can usually find it at or near the top of annual “best jobs” lists. Actuaries are in high demand and are most commonly employed in the insurance, financial services, and health care industries as well as in government agencies. The numerous such companies present in the Springfield-Hartford corridor means that actuarial jobs are relatively plentiful, and even more opportunities are possible in the greater Boston and New York areas. Graduates of Western New England have obtained positions at many of these companies.
Program Objectives
The Actuarial Science major is housed within the Department of Mathematics and follows the educational recommendations of the two largest actuarial-related professional societies in the US: the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuary Society (CAS). A student who successfully completes the Actuarial Science major will:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the foundational mathematical concepts needed for actuarial science.
2. Demonstrate the ability to communicate actuarial mathematics to an appropriate audience, in both written and oral form.
3. Demonstrate competence with software relevant to a career in actuarial science.
4. Demonstrate success in learning mathematical concepts independently.
The SOA and CAS credential professional actuaries through a widely recognized and respected process that involves exams, coursework, and work experience. The Actuarial Science major involves coursework that covers the majority of the syllabi for Exam P/1 (Probability), Exam FM/2 (Financial Mathematics), Exam MFE/3F (Models for Financial Economics), Exam MLC/LC (Models for Life Contingencies), and Exam ST (Stochastic Processes/Statistics). Although not a requirement, students are strongly encouraged to pass at least one if not both of Exams P/1 and FM/2 before graduation. In addition, a student completing the major will be in position to receive credit for all three of the validation by educational experience (VEE) areas required of the SOA and CAS. See below for more information.
Mathematics Faculty
Degree Requirements
Required Mathematics and Computer Science courses (54 credit hours)
Other required courses (27 credits)
AC 201/HONB 203 | Financial Reporting | 3 cr. |
EC 111 | Principles of Microeconomics | 3 cr. |
EC 112 | Principles of Macroeconomics | 3 cr. |
ENGL 206 | Writing for Business | 3 cr. |
FIN 214 | Introduction to Finance | 3 cr. |
FIN 320 | Intermediate Corporation Finance | 3 cr. |
FIN 417 | Investments | 3 cr. |
ILP 317 | Management Issues for Professionals | 3 cr. |
PH 211 | Business Ethics | 3 cr. |
| Total Credit Hours: | 27 |
Other Recommended Courses
A student who wishes to use their general electives to obtain additional coursework that supports a career in the actuarial sciences could take any of the following.
Obtaining a Mathematical Sciences Minor
A student obtaining an Actuarial Science major can complete the requirements for the Mathematical Sciences minor by taking one additional course: MATH 412, MATH 418, or MATH 421. In addition, a student wishing to pursue an Economics minor or a Business minor needs to take only three or four additional courses, respectively.
See the Mathematical Sciences Minor for the list of courses.
Actuarial Exams and VEE Credits
The following courses help prepare students for the corresponding SOA or CAS exams. It should be noted that preparing for an exam requires independent study beyond the coursework. For complete topics, consult the exam syllabi as published by the SOA or CAS.
*Passing SOA Exam MLC allows a student to receive credit for CAS Exam LC, but passing CAS Exam LC alone does not allow a student to receive credit for SOA Exam MLC.
The validation by educational experience (VEE) requirement of the SOA and CAS can be obtained by taking the following courses, for which we anticipate VEE approval. Although VEE experiences can be completed independently of the exam process, a student needs to have passed at least two exams before applying for VEE credit.
*Approval expected by Summer 2017
Total Credit Hours: 122