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Actuarial Science

Annoucements

September 2017:  The Actuarial Career Fair will be held Tuesday, September 26.  19 companies are planning to attend, the largest number of companies in the fair's nine year history.

March 2017:  We have 12 students who have passed two or more exams and 14 others who have passed one exam.  Congratulations to these 26 students!  Thanks to the generosity of Bob and Lynne Pollack, we now offer all students full reimbursement for passing any of Exam 1/P, Exam 2/FM, or Exam 3F/MFE.  Additionally, we are able to help out with the costs for study materials, up to $75 per exam.  Reimbursements are paid from the Bob and Lynne Pollack Actuarial Exam Fund.

November 2016:  The Society of Actuaries selected UMass for a Fall Campus visit, one of five universities nationwide.  The visit took place on November 3 and two representatives from SOA explained the soon-to-be adopted new VEE and exam structures.  The representatives, who were joined by three local actuaries, handed out these awesome t-shirts:

October 2016:  The Actuarial Career Fair was held on October 13.  Fourteen companies attended:  Aetna, Aon Hewitt, Hanover, The Hartford, John Hancock, Liberty Mutual, MassMutual, Mapfre, Mercer, Prudential, Sun Life, Swiss Re, Travelers, and Unum.  This was the largest number of companies in the fair's eight year history.

April 2016:  The Actuarial Club has become a chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma and has a new webpage:  GIS.  Officer elections were held on April 6 and the chartering banquet was on April 29.  We were pleased to have Gamma officers from Howard University, UConn, and the University of Hartford help us out with the ceremony.  Dean Cave introduced the event, Roger French from the Central Massachusetts Chapter of the CPCU Society spoke, and four alumni from Liberty Mutual and a senior recruiter from the Hanover attended.  Rising senior Daniel Wu is the president of our new chapter.

See more announcements below, including information about reimbursement for exam fees and study material expenses.

Introduction

The actuarial field is a vibrant one and a great way to put to use the mathematics and statistics knowledge you are learning as a major. Actuary is listed as the 4th best job in the 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey behind Mathematician, Tenured Professor, and Statistician.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers several courses to prepare students for an actuarial career, including courses to prepare for the first two actuarial exams. We are one of only three institutions in Massachusetts on the 2015 UCAP list maintained by the Society of Actuaries.

We currently have 130 students selecting the Actuarial Concentration within the major, several of whom are also majoring in another field (Finance, Engineering, Economics,...). Our alumni are employed at insurance and other financial companies throughout the country.  We have an active Actuarial Club that holds events throughout the year.

Our Casualty Actuary Society (CAS) University Liaisons are Chad Wilson and Hayley Shi, from Travelers.  Chad is a Fellow of the CAS and Hayley is active in the Property and Casualty analytics space and is also a recent UMass graduate.

Thanks to Robert Pollack, Hanover Insurance, and the Actuarial Club of Hartford and Springfield for generous donations to the program this year.

Companies with internship or job opportunities for our students should contact the Actuarial Coordinator, HongKun Zhang.

About the concentration

There are two professional societies for the actuarial field, the SOA (Society of Actuaries) and the CAS (Casualty Actuary Society). They share many of the same requirements to obtain certification as an actuary. The first set of requirements is the completion of training in three academic areas through coursework. This is known as Validation by Educational Experience (VEE). The societies also have a series of exams to test proficiency in various areas of mathematics, statistics, finance, and modeling. Actuarial students should aim to pass at least one exam before graduation, as early as the summer after sophomore year if possible. 

VEE requirements

All concentrators are required to complete four courses for the VEE requirements.  And now we offer a course on Time Series, allowing actuarial students to meet all the VEE requirements.

  • Economics:  Economics 103 and 104
  • Corporate Finance:  Finance 301.   Math majors who have declared the Actuarial concentration may contact Jacob Lagerstrom to submit a request to be enrolled in Finance 301. Requests for enrollment should occur during adivising week.
  • Applied Statistics (Linear Regression):  Statistics 525
  • Applied Statistics (Time Series):  Statistics 597TS.   This one-credit course on time series was first offered in Spring 2016 and satisfies the VEE requirement.  We plan to offer it every spring. 

Actuarial exam courses

The department offers several courses related to the actuarial exams. Students must take at least one of the exam courses, and also the Math Finance course (Math 537), for the concentration.

  • Exam P/1: This is an exam covering probability. Math 536 (formerley Math 438) is a course dedicated to preparing students for the exam. The theoretic material is covered in Stat 515 and Math 233 and some students have taken the exam after completing just those courses by studying on their own.
  • Exam FM/2: This exam covers interest rate theory and also the fundamentals of financial derivatives. Math 437 is dedicated to preparing students for this exam.  Some of the finance material is also covered in the early part of Math 537 and in Fin 301.
  • Parts of Exam MFE/3:  The advanced material in Math 537 covers a good portion of the subject matter of this exam, but 537 is not an exam preparation course per se.

Other requirements

The other requirements for the concentration are found on the main undergraduate page.

Suggestions and announcements for actuarial concentrators

  • Complete Stat 515 in your sophomore year or, at the very latest, the fall of junior year. This is the only way to be able to take Stat 525 by graduation, since the latter is usually only offered in the fall (although in Spring 2017, Stat 525 will be offered).
  • Take an exam course during your sophomore year so that you can pass one exam by the summer before junior year. This makes it more likely to secure an internship during the Actuarial Career Fair and thus have an internship during the summer between junior and senior year. 
  • Bob and Lynne Pollack Actuarial Exam Fund:  The department will reimburse the full fee for any of the first three exams that are successfully passed.  In addition, we will reimburse up to $75 in study material costs for the passed exam.  Please contact the Actuarial Coordinator, HongKun Zhang, for more details.
  • The Actuarial Club is now a chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a national organization of students interested in risk and insurance (including actuarial science). See also the campus pulse page here.

Helpful Links

Actuarial Societies

Requirements of the professional societies

Exam Preparation

Actuarial Job and Internship Search