What is an Actuary?
Actuaries manage risk through the use of mathematics, statistics, and financial theory. While the majority of actuaries work for insurance companies, opportunities also exist within consulting firms, employee benefits departments, banks and investment firms, hospitals, government, etc.
There are two professional organizations, the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. The Society of Actuaries (SOA) deals with life, health, and pensions. The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) deals with property, casualty liability, and data breaches. To learn more about what an actuary is and how to get started, visit the be an actuary website.
About the Program
The College offers a certificate in actuarial studies. The program is supervised by a faculty committee of representatives from the Department of Mathematics and the Program in Statistics, and administered through the Multidisciplinary Studies Center. Ordinarily, interested students should apply by spring semester of their junior year.
Current committee members include:
- Carl Mueller, PhD (Berkeley), Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Committee
- S.R.S. Rao Poduri, PhD (Harvard), Professor and Director of Statistics
For certification, students must complete course requirements with a GPA of at least 2.5. None of the certificate courses may be taken satisfactory/fail.
At graduation, students successfully completing the Actuarial Studies Program will receive a certificate along with their diploma.
Please note: Course substitutions may be possible with the program advisor’s approval.
Five Core Courses
MTH/STT 201: Introduction to Probability (Prerequisites: MTH 162 or equivalent; MTH 164 recommended)
MTH/STT 203: Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (Prerequisite: MTH/STT 201 or equivalent)
MTH 165: Linear Algebra with Differential Equations (Prerequisite: MTH 162 or equivalent)
Plus one of the following:
- STT 212: Applied Statistics for the Biological and Physical Sciences I
- ECO 231W Econometrics (Prerequisite: ECO 230, MTH 203, STT 213 or DSC 262)
Plus one of the following:
- FIN 205: Financial Management (Prerequisites: ECO 108 or equivalent; ECO 230, STT 213, or STT 203)
- MTH 210: Introduction to Financial Mathematics (Prerequisite: FIN 205 and [MTH 143 or MTH 162] and [one of STT 211, STT 212, STT 213, ECO 230 or MTH 201])
- MTH 210H: Introduction to Financial Mathematics Honors (Prerequisite: MTH 201)
Students must choose two of the following courses:
- MTH 202: Introduction to Stochastic Processes (Prerequisite: MTH/STT 201)
- MTH 208: Operations Research I (Prerequisites: MTH 162 and MTH 165, or MTH 173Q)
- MTH/STT 280: Introduction to Numerical Analysis (Prerequisites: MTH 162 or equivalent; MTH 235 or MTH 173 recommended)
- STT 216: Applied Statistics II (Prerequisite: STT 211, 212, 213 or equivalent)
- STT 221W: Sampling Techniques (Prerequisites: STT 211, 212, or 213 AND STT 203 or equivalent)
Plus one course from either the additional course list, the following list, or an approved substitute:
- ECO 236: Health Economics (Prerequisite: ECO 207)
- Independent Study (Approved by the certificate program advisor)
In addition, some proficiency in a high-level computer language is required. Examples of courses that may be used to satisfy the computing requirement:
- CSC 161: Introduction to Programming
- STT 277: Introduction to Statistical Software and Exploratory Data Analysis (Prerequisites: STT 212 and STT 216 or STT 226)
Applying for the Certificate
Students interested in receiving the actuarial studies certificate must complete and submit the following Registration Form.
To become an associate member of the Society of Actuaries (SOA), one must complete twelve requirements consisting of examinations, courses, and an online course. Some or all of these may be taken while employed, after college graduation, or while still a student.
The first requirement is an examination in probability. Visit the SOA website.for more information about these requirements.
The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) has a different set of requirements from the SOA, although the first few are the same. Visit the CAS website for more information about these requierments.
We encourage certificate students to take the first two examinations before graduation. The exams are given three times a year: February, May and November.
Insurance companies, including Travelers, Liberty Mutual Group, MetLife, Unum, Cigna, Excellus BCBS and some consulting firms, such as Towers Watson, Mercer, Harbridge Consulting Group offer summer internship programs. These opportunities are competitive, typically require a minimum 3.2 GPA, completion of at least one exam, and begin recruiting as early as mid-fall.
Make an appointment with a Career and Internship Center counselor to discuss resources and strategies for finding actuarial internships. A counselor can help you learn about the profession, identify firms of interest, navigate CareerLink and NIC internship posting databases, and contact/network with individuals (including UR alumni) working in the field.
See the Greene Career Center website for more information.
Career Advice from UR Alumni
Learn more at the math website's actuarial page.