# What is actuarial science

### Actuarial Science

If you are interested in any of the programs described above, contact the mathematics Academic Advisor (222 Love Building, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4510; 850/644-5868 or 644-2202; e-mail advisor@math.fsu.edu ).

**General information**

The Actuarial Science Program at the Florida State University is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that resides in the Department of Mathematics. It is classified as Advanced Undergraduate and Graduate Education by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) / Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) Listing of Academic Actuarial Science Programs. The complete listing of all schools can be accessed from the Academic Relations page of the Society of Actuaries web site (www.soa.org) or the Casualty Actuarial Society site (www.casact.org). It can also be found at the Be An Actuary web site (www.beanactuary.com). The current process to become an actuary in the SOA or CAS, or a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) in the SOA, involves passing a sequence of preliminary exams and obtaining validation by educational experience (VEE) in the areas of applied statistics, economics, and finance from an approved university such as FSU. The preliminary exams in the SOA are called Exam P (Probability), Exam FM (Financial Mathematics), Exam M (Actuarial Models; which is split into two parts, Life Contingencies (Exam MLC) and Financial Economics (Exam MFE)), and Exam C (Construction of Models). The preliminary exams in the CAS are called Exam 1, Exam 2, Exam 3, and Exam 4. However, the following exams are jointly administered by the SOA and CAS: Exam P with Exam 1 (hence referred to as Exam P/1), Exam FM with Exam 2 (Exam FM/2), and Exam C with Exam 4 (Exam C/4). The SOA chose not to name their exams numerically, since doing so would possibly imply that the exams must be taken in a particular order. The required course content of FSU's program in actuarial science covers material for the preliminary exams as well as all three VEE areas. There are diverse entry-level opportunities for graduates, including many in Florida. Recent FSU graduates have readily found attractive employment; company interviews held in the department facilitate matching students with employer needs.

The FSU Mathematics Department also offers a Financial Mathematics Master’s Program (http://www.math.fsu.edu/finmath), in which students can choose to concentrate in Actuarial Science. The specialized courses in the Department of Mathematics required for Actuarial Science majors build on earlier mathematics and statistics. Graduate students and mathematically prepared undergraduates in economics, finance, statistics, mathematics, and computer science may elect these courses. The course work in the Financial Mathematics Master's Program involves readings, problem sets and presentations, which model theory through actuarial applications; examinations are typical of mathematics courses. The concentration in Actuarial Science is designed for students pursuing actuarial credentials from one of the professional societies or intending to apply the skills and information of a strong actuarial science program elsewhere in the financial or insurance industries, or in governmental applications. Students already holding the bachelor's degree in another field may pursue this degree. Please see ( “Students already holding a bachelor’s degree” for further options.

The actuarial profession is consistently highly rated (e.g.; by Jobs Almanac, based on criteria related to salary, stress, work environment, outlook, security and physical demands). Banking and investment houses, in addition to the usual insurance and government employers, now employ many trained in actuarial science and the related mathematics, statistics, computing and finance. The students in this degree offering demonstrate strong mathematical and computational aptitude, leadership ability, and communications skills. They become knowledgeable in finance and insurance as well as in mathematics and statistics. Most of them successfully complete examinations in the joint SOA/CAS sequence. A number of students each year participate in internship activities. Graduates from recent past years are well placed in industry and government. These employers have been generous with advice from their experience for the program.

**The undergraduate major**

Broad instruction is provided in the mathematical, statistical, economic and business concepts underlying the operations of property, casualty, and life insurers, governmental agencies, and consulting firms. Beyond the basic scientific calculus sequence that is necessary for the first actuarial examination, and basic courses in economics, accounting, and computer science, the requirements are rather evenly split between mathematics, statistics, and business. Within the required business minor, all students take one course in each of the highly rated departments of Risk Management and Insurance, Economics, and Finance. To deepen the student's information base, an advanced two-course concentration, chosen from several options with regard for student goals, must be completed in one of these departments.

Students are required to take courses that are designed to assist them in successful completion of the preliminary actuarial examinations, and they are provided group support and strong encouragement for completing many of the exams before award of the degree. Since it is necessary in order to be competitive in today's job market that students pass at least one actuarial exam while in school, FSU Actuarial Science offers targeted help. The mathematics courses include material in the syllabus for all of the preliminary actuarial exams with optional study beyond. As a new feature begun in 2007, FSU now offers 20-hour special seminars for Exams P/1, FM/2, and MLC; these are developed and presented by Dr. Stephen P. Paris, the Coordinator of Actuarial Science. These actuarial exams are part of the preliminary exams that are required for actuarial and CERA designations. Passing an actuarial exam requires considerable extra effort above course work on the part of students but it provides - and is essential for - a competitive edge in the job market. Additionally, for an FSU undergraduate degree in actuarial science, the required courses include those courses for which students receive credit in all three of the VEE areas: applied statistics, economics, and finance. Note that in order to receive VEE credit for any course, you must receive a grade of B- or better in the course.

FSU Actuarial Science also organizes opportunities to help you find a job before graduation.

Students join and participate most Thursday evenings in presentations of the Future Seminole Actuaries (FSA). Presentations are by practicing actuaries with government, insurance, consulting, and financial firms who talk with our actuarial science students. The Thursday presentations are usually followed by Friday interviews for summer internships and/or full time positions at the respective actuary's company. The interviews are set up by the departmental advisor in the Math Conference Room. Many job postings to the student aliases are made by faculty and advisors; they have wide contacts and receive queries from diverse actuarial, governmental, and financial sector employers.

**Academic and career advisement**

In addition to faculty advisement, the Student Activities Coordinator is available to give advice and to help students with problems. She keeps a file of materials related to preparation for actuarial examinations and lends them to students who are preparing; she makes available pamphlets and videos about the profession for those who seek beginning information. She maintains contacts with employers and keeps students advised by phone and e-mail of current information and opportunities of interest. By the time of exit interviews at graduation, both she and Dr. Paris know each student well.

**Students already holding a bachelor’s degree**

If you want to become an actuary or CERA, and you have earned your Bachelor’s degree but it is not in Actuarial Science, then FSU Mathematics offers several paths, extending its well recognized Actuarial Science undergraduate program and following requirements of the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society (see www.BeAnActuary.org ). For each of the degree options students will, as part of their programs, be given the opportunity to qualify for all three of the SOA/CAS VEE credits (Finance, Economics, and Applied Statistics). It is convenient for some students to take some courses in the program as a Special Student, possibly converting to degree status after a term or two. Since it is necessary in order to be competitive in today's job market that students pass at least one actuarial exam while in school, FSU Actuarial Science offers targeted help. The mathematics courses include material in the syllabus for all of the preliminary actuarial exams with optional study beyond. As a new feature begun in 2007, FSU now offers 20-hour special seminars for Exams P/1, FM/2, and MLC; these are developed and presented by Dr. Stephen P. Paris, the Coordinator of Actuarial Science. These actuarial exams are part of the preliminary exams that are required for actuarial and CERA designations. FSU Actuarial Science also organizes opportunities to help you find a job before graduation. Students join and participate most Thursday evenings in presentations of the Future Seminole Actuaries (FSA), the undergraduate actuarial science club at Florida State University. The Thursday presentations are usually followed by Friday interviews for summer internships and/or full time positions at the respective actuary's company. The interviews are set up by the departmental advisor in the Math Conference Room. Many job postings to the student aliases are made by faculty and advisors; they have wide contacts and receive queries from diverse actuarial, governmental, and financial sector employers.

For more information on options for students already holding a bachelor's degree, see www.math.fsu.edu/finmath/Degree/act_sci_options.html. back to Contents

**Actuarial Program Requirements**

If you want to become an actuary, then you are well advised to complete a curriculum which supports requirements of the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society (see www.BeAnActuary.org ).

*State Common Prerequisites for Actuarial Science* (22 hr.)*

Florida students may take these courses at FSU or in a Community College and are set by a statewide board. A student may be classified with the Actuarial Science major code 116820 as soon as MAC 2311 and two other courses on this list have been completed. Students should ask for this major code as early as possible.

MAC 2311 (4) Calculus I

MAC 2312 (4) Calculus II

MAC 2313 (5) Calculus III

C++ (3) C++ Programming (or unless C++ is exempted, then MAD 3703 or JAVA may be taken.)

ECO 2013 (3) Economics of the National Economy

** ECO 2023 (3) Economics Price System

* The community college transfer student may also be able to complete some of the courses listed below before entering FSU; in particular, STA 2122, MAP 2302, and ACG 2021 are advised if available.

** Some students who have been strong in ECO 2013 may go directly to ECO 4101. This is not generally recommended but it may help students who come to the Actuarial Science program late and have already satisfied their Social Science liberal studies with another course than Economics; ask the Academic Advisor in Mathematics for details.

*Required Mathematics & Statistics (17 hr)*

MAP 4170 (4) Introduction to Actuarial Mathematics

MAP 4175 (4) Actuarial Models

MAT 4930r (4 1-hr repetitions) Actuarial Applications

STA 4321 (3) Introduction to Math Statistics I

*Required Business and Economics (12 hr)*

ACG 2021 (3) Principles of Accounting I

FIN 3403 (3) Financial Management of the Firm

RMI 3011 (3) Intro to Risk Management/Insurance

*Additional Course Requirements (Complete at least 6 of the following courses; choice should take into account the students background and goals and prerequisites must be satisfied.)*

**Specialized Mathematics & Statistics**

Choose at least 2 of the following:

MAP 2302 (3) Ordinary Differential Equations

MAP 4176 (4) Actuarial Models and Credibility

MAS 3105 (4) Applied Linear Algebra I

Choose at least one of the following:

MAA 4224 (3) Introduction to Analysis I

MAA 4226 (3) Advanced Calculus I

MAA 4227 (3) Advanced Calculus II

MAD 3703 (3) Numerical Analysis I

MAP 4341 (3) Elementary Partial Differential Equations I

MAS 4106 (3) Applied Linear Algebra II

STA 4203 (3) Applied Regression

STA 4322 (3) Mathematical Statistics

STA 4853 (3) Time Series

Choose at least one of the following:

Source: www.math.fsu.edu

Category: Insurance

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