What is Actuarial Science?

Actuaries are experts in the identification, assessment, and management of risk. To be an actuary you must have a broad collection of skills, including a mastery of advanced mathematics, economics, and finance. Actuaries are employed by insurance companies, consulting firms, and government agencies on both the state and federal levels. The actuarial profession has consistently been rated as one of the top five jobs in the United States according to the Jobs Rated Almanac. 

Actuarial Advising

Actuarial advising is offered in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science through Professor Jeff Forrester. While Dickinson College does not currently offer an official actuarial degree, the College does offer the courses necessary to prepare students for an actuarial career, while still maintaining the ideals of a liberal arts education.

Actuarial Exams

Actuaries achieve professional status by passing a series of rigorous examinations prescribed by either the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The first few examinations of the two organizations are identical, and a self-motivated, above-average student should be able to pass the first and possibly the second actuarial exam before graduating. The subsequent exams are typically completed during employment.

Suggested Coursework

Students interested in a career in actuarial science need a strong background in mathematics in addition to appropriate courses in economics and finance. This is why most actuaries major in mathematics, but this is not a necessity. 

Below is a list of courses which will help prepare students for an actuarial career.

Important Courses

  • MATH 170 (Single Variable Calculus)
  • MATH 171 (Multivariable Calculus)
  • MATH 270 (Integration and Infinite Series)
  • MATH 225 (Probability and Statistics I)
  • MATH 325 (Probability and Statistics II)
  • MATH 262 (Introduction to Linear Algebra)
  • ECON 111 (Introduction to Microeconomics)
  • ECON 112 (Introduction to Macroeconomics) 
  • INBM 100 (Fundamentals of Business)
  • INBM 250 (Finance)

Recommended Courses

  • MATH 241 (Numerical Methods)
  • MATH 331 (Operations Research)
  • COMP 131 (Intoduction to Computer Science I)
  • COMP 132 (Intoduction to Computer Science II)
  • INBM 240 (Marketing in a Global Context)

Internet Resources

  • www.beanactuary.com This website, jointly developed by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society, contains a wealth of information regarding the actuarial profession and is an excellent place to begin for those interested in the career.
  • www.soa.org The official website of the Society of Actuaries.
  • www.casact.org The official website of the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Validation by Education Experience

The Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) was added to the Associateship requirements of the SOA and CAS in 2005. Candidates seeking to attain membership with the SOA and/or CAS are required to complete the VEE requirements for Economics, Applied Statistics, and Corporate Finance. This is in addition to passing the required exams and other membership requirements.

The VEE requirements can be fulfilled by earning at least a B- in an approved college/university course or by taking an approved educational experience. The following Dickinson College courses have been approved and are included in the Directory of Approved Courses for VEE.

VEE Subject Approved Courses Time Period
Economics Econ 111: Introduction to Microeconomics and with Econ 112: Introduction to Macroeconomics 1991–2008
Applied Statistics (Regression component only) Math 325: Probability and Statistics II 2005–2008