Actuaries are business professionals who help organizations figure out the financial risks of the future and how to soften the blow if something bad should happen. It takes a great deal of dedication and hard work to get through the years of college, not to mention the rigorous examinations at the end. One of the best things you can do to feel confident in your abilities is find a school with an excellent program. Here’s a look at four of the top schools for actuarial science in the United States.
Centers for Actuarial Excellence
The Society of Actuaries has compiled a list of university and college actuarial program. Schools are rated on the level of degrees offered, the curriculum offered, how many students graduate, and the faculty/student ratio. If the SoA deems a school especially outstanding it receives a Center for Actuarial Excellence (CAE) designation.
The SoA also ranks programs based on “graduate quality, appropriate integration with other areas of study, connection to industry as well as actuarial research and professional involvement.” Programs maintain their ranking for 5 years with annual reports regarding changes. (See the full list here.)
University of Nebraska Lincoln
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln’s actuarial science program is currently considered a Center for Actuarial Excellence. They offer not only a bachelor program, but also graduate programs to receive your actuarial science master’s degree. Undergraduate tuition is $20,000 a year for residents, and $34,000 for nonresidents (room and board included). The graduate program varies based on several factors (estimate your costs here). The actuarial science program is housed in the Department of Finance at UNL, and they offer a variety of handy benefits, “including summer internships, career guidance, job placement, and participation in the Actuarial Science Club.” Online classes may be available in the graduate program.
University of California Santa Barbara
Also a CAE, UCSB offers actuarial science degrees all the way up to the PhD level, including a five year bachelor’s/master’s combo. Costs for undergraduate programs at USCB with room and board included is about $30,000 for in state residents; out of state residents pay about $58,000. Graduate programs for in state run about $38,000 (boarding not included), while out of state tuition for graduate programs is about $53,000.
The Department of Statistics and Applied Probability houses the actuarial program, and classes roughly conform to several examinations for the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). The SOA’s, CAS’, and Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA)’s joint Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) program approves USCB courses in applied statistics, economics, and corporate finance.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is another CAE, as well as recipient of the University Award from the Casualty Actuarial Society. A bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD program in actuarial science can be found here. Current yearly tuition for the undergraduate programs for Illinois residents is $30,000-$36,000, while out of state students should expect closer to $50,000. Graduate programs may be about $40,000 for residents, while non-resident tuition may run as high as $60,000. The actuarial science program is through the mathematics department, with special attention to financial economics and statistics. Their Actuarial Science Club is very active, and holds goals of “inform[ing] students about what it takes to become an actuary and get[ting] a job in the field.”
Not all actuarial science programs can make the CAE ranks, but Purdue University in Indiana ranks highly on most actuarial science program listings. Tuition ranges from about $20,000 for Indiana residents to almost $40,000 for nonresidents (room and board included) per year. The program is a joint venture by the mathematics and statistics departments. No graduate degrees are available from this program, but they do include courses focused on “the first five exams set by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society.” Additionally, graduates of the program receive not only a degree in actuarial science, but also a statistics degree and a management minor.