The Master of Science program in actuarial science requires 36 s.h. of graduate credit. The program prepares students for actuarial careers by emphasizing the theory that underlies risk processes and the application of this theory to practical problems of insurance pricing and management. It also helps them learn the material that is tested on professional examinations administered by professional organizations such as the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Students complete required courses and a final examination.

The M.S. with a major in actuarial science requires the following coursework.

One of these sequences:
STAT:4100-STAT:4101Mathematical Statistics I-II (same as IGPI:4100-IGPI:4101)6
STAT:5100-STAT:5101Statistical Inference I-II (for well prepared students)6
All of these:
ACTS:3080Mathematics of Finance I3
ACTS:4130Quantitative Methods for Actuaries3
ACTS:4180Life Contingencies I3
ACTS:4280Life Contingencies II3
ACTS:4380Mathematics of Finance II3
ACTS:6160Topics in Actuarial Science3
ACTS:6480Loss Distributions3
ACTS:6580Credibility and Survival Analysis3
STAT:4560Statistics for Risk Modeling3
A course approved by the advisor3

Final Examination

The final examination is offered the weekend before classes begin in January. The exam covers the material presented in ACTS:4130 Quantitative Methods for Actuaries, ACTS:4180 Life Contingencies I, ACTS:4280 Life Contingencies II, and ACTS:4380 Mathematics of Finance II. Students who do not succeed on their first attempt may retake the exam once.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Actuarial Science, M.S.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
36 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a  
First Year
Statistical Inference I b
or Mathematical Statistics I
ACTS:3080 Mathematics of Finance I 3
ACTS:4130 Quantitative Methods for Actuaries 3
Statistical Inference II b
or Mathematical Statistics II
ACTS:4180 Life Contingencies I 3
ACTS:4380 Mathematics of Finance II 3
Second Year
STAT:4560 Statistics for Risk Modeling 3
ACTS:4280 Life Contingencies II 3
ACTS:6160 Topics in Actuarial Science 3
Final Exam c, d  
ACTS:6480 Loss Distributions 3
ACTS:6580 Credibility and Survival Analysis 3
Elective course e 3
 Total Hours36

Most actuaries are employed by insurance companies or employee benefits consulting firms. They have responsibilities related to all phases of product development and maintenance for their companies. Individual employers who need guidance in establishing employee insurance and retirement programs also hire actuarial science graduates. A growing number of actuaries work in asset/liability management, some in investment firms, and others in insurance companies.

Actuaries have always been in high demand and earn good salaries. Most Iowa graduates find work as actuaries, but some become financial managers and teachers. They take positions in locations all across the country, often in large metropolitan areas.

The Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.