Actuarial Science

What is an actuary?

Actuaries are professionals who find ways to manage risk. Actuaries use analytical/math skills, business knowledge, and understanding of human behavior to evaluate the likelihood of future events and design creative ways to reduce the probability of bad outcomes. It is one of the top-ranked jobs and a well compensated business profession not only nationally but also internationally. Actuaries work in the insurance industry as well as for consulting companies, financial institutions, government, labor unions, etc.

Read more details about actuarial careers

Information on salaries of an actuary

Arcadia’s Actuarial Science Program is Top Choice in Pennsylvania

Arcadia has a long history of programs in actuarial science: originally, we offered a concentration in actuarial science as part of our mathematics major and since 2013 we have had a major.

  • In recent years, our program has been cited in several college rankings as one of the top choices for Actuarial Science degrees in Pennsylvania.
  • We are listed among the 35 recommended schools for Actuarial Science degrees in the country (CollegeChoice).

Advantages of Arcadia’s Bachelor of Actuary Science Program

  • Society of Actuaries UCAP Advanced Status: This designation not only means that we are able to provide an enhanced exam preparation curriculum to prepare you for a successful career as an actuary, but it also means we get extra financial support from the Society that can be used for reimbursement of student exam fees and for purchasing student study materials to help
  • Flexibility: Students who decide not to pursue the actuarial exam track can pursue related fields such as statistical programming, teaching, and accounting. We offer a variety of courses as well as majors and minors that complement the actuarial major and allow students flexibility in finding non-exam track positions in actuarial and insurance firms as well as other related industries.
  • Individual Attention: With an 18:1 Student to Faculty ratio students will work closely with the faculty
  • Exam Preparation: Our courses prepare students for the first four of the SOA exams. Students accomplished an 80% pass rate in 2018 for the P (Probability) and FM (Financial Mathematics) exams.
  • Professional Faculty: Diversity in professional and academic backgrounds with an FSA Certified actuary with over 25 years in the industry, a Ph.D. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in Actuarial Science teaching courses. An advisory board of local practicing actuaries connects Arcadia to the professional world.
  • Career Opportunities: There is a high demand for Arcadia graduates by local firms.

Career opportunities with a Bachelor’s in Actuarial Science

Actuaries are in high demand. Employment of actuaries is projected to grow 20 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Actuaries can work in many different industries. Some of the most popular industries include:

  • Insurance companies
  • Benefit consulting firms
  • Financial and Accounting firms
  • Government, managing social insurance programs like Social Security or Medicare

Actuarial Science Student Q&A

Carlie Banchi is sharing her actuarial science experience at Arcadia with AdvisorSmith that is dedicated to providing advice on business insurance

Society of Actuaries UCAP-Advanced Status

In 2018, SOA (Society of Actuaries) has designated Arcadia as a UCAP-AC program. In order to attain this status, Arcadia showed that we provide course coverage for four SOA preliminary exams and approved courses for all Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) topic areas. The four exams for which we prepare students are:

P: Probability
FM: Financial Mathematics
SRM: Statistics for Risk Modeling
STAM: Short Term Actuarial Mathematics

    This designation not only means that we are able to provide an enhanced exam preparation curriculum to prepare you for a successful career as an actuary, but it also means we get extra financial support from the Society that can be used for reimbursement of student exam fees and for purchasing student study materials to help offset some of your costs.

    Student Passed 3 Exams Including STAM

    Mao Li is sharing his experience and tips on actuarial science exam preparation

    What to Expect as an Actuary Major

    • A flexible program which prepares students for the four exams of the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society, with high exam pass rates (80% in 2018)
    • Nurturing and small classroom environment
    • Assistance finding internships and preparing for actuarial careers through
      • Personalized coaching on resume writing and interview preparation
      • ‘Shadow an Actuary’ program 
      • Actuarial Career Day
    • Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credit for all three courses
    • Experienced faculty with both academic and professional credentials
    • Continuing support from an external professional Advisory Board of local actuaries
    • A diverse range of applied and research capstone projects
    • Various undergraduate conference and actuarial club meetings, all 100% funded and sponsored by the department
    • Opportunities to study abroad at some of the top universities around the world
    • Help with applications for graduate programs
    • Opportunity to attend Arcadia sponsored events such as our STEM Professional panel with professionals from actuarial science, data analytics, software development, engineering, statistics, and teaching

    Local Actuary Advisory Board

    • Stuart Alden, FSA, Senior VP and Actuary, Aon Risk Solutions
    • Ralph Donato, Principal Consulting Actuary, Long Term Care Group
    • Andrew Martin, FSA, VP Product Management, Penn Mutual Insurance Co.
    • Maureen Whitman, FSA, Director and Actuary, Independence Blue Cross

    Actuarial Science Scores an Actuarial Internship

    Kelsey Mashinski shares her experience with Arcadia's actuarial science program, including her interaction with faculty, opportunities to learn about the actuarial profession from local actuarial community, and how she was able to get a summer internship at one of the premier actuarial consulting firms in Philadelphia.

    Career Perspectives

    Our program has many graduates in local and regional insurance companies, consulting firms, and government agencies including: Transamerica, Lincoln Financial Group, CareFirst, Penn Mutual Insurance Co, Chubb, LTCG (Long Term Care Group), Prudential Financial, Willis Towers Watson, Social Security Administration, Workers Compensation Bureau, USLI.

    'Shadow an Actuary' Program

    We have teamed up with several local area actuarial employers to provide shadowing opportunities for our Actuarial Science majors. Students visit employers to learn what actuaries actually do. They will shadow recently hired employees and speak with seasoned actuaries about the actuarial career. This is a unique opportunity for students to experience the work environment and enable them to further explore their choice of career. It is also an excellent opportunity for students to network and create possible future job opportunities. One of the students who recently shadowed received a summer internship offer from the employer where she shadowed.

    Actuarial Career Day

    For the last three years, we sponsor an Actuarial Career Day for Actuarial Science majors. This is a specialized career fair that allows our students to interview with local area employers on campus. Employers come to our campus specifically to interview candidates for actuarial summer internships and full-time jobs. Nearly 100% of students who have passed at least one exam receive job offers from employers attending the fair.  We are proud to offer such wonderful opportunities for our students.

    Capstone Project

    A highlight of the curriculum is the Capstone course sequence. In it, students design and implement a real project for an actual client. The project culminates in a formal presentation. Recent projects include:

    • Long-term care pricing
    • A look at public pension plan mortality trends
    • US National Healthcare expenditure analysis
    • A design of retirement plan
    • Severe road accident risk factors
    • An analysis of Women with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) on Diabetes Self-Care, Diabetes
      Time Management, and Diabetes Distress

    We regularly take students to local conferences and actuaries club meetings, including those organized by Mathematical Association of America, SIGMA XI, Actuaries Club of Philadelphia and Society of Actuaries (Candidate Connect). The department is proud to provide full financial support for students to participate in these events and activities.

    Actuarial Science Conferences and Club Meetings

    Student Abroad Opportunities for Actuarial Sciences Majors

    Majors in the Computer Science and Mathematics Department are strongly encouraged to take full advantage of the study abroad opportunities that Arcadia University offers. In recent years, students have studied at universities in England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Spain and Italy. All benefited greatly from their experiences.

    Students who plan to study abroad should meet with their advisers as soon as possible to discuss their options. Several courses are part of sequences, and students are advised to take those entire sequences at Arcadia.

    Many majors elect not to take any math or computing courses during the semester abroad, instead choosing humanities and social science courses that fulfill Undergraduate Curriculum requirements. These latter courses are more apt to help students gain a rich knowledge and appreciation of the culture of the country in which they are studying.

    Since it is important that students plan ahead for study abroad, they should consult with their advisers as soon as possible and make their intentions known to the department chair and the Office of Study Away. 

    Carlie Banchi studied abroad in Spain, Fall 2018

    Academic Flexibility

    Our primary goal as a department and as a teaching institution is to ensure student success. To this end, it is important to us that a student who decides not to pursue actuarial science as a major or does not want to pursue the exam path, has opportunities to pursue and succeed in other related fields. Academically speaking, we have the full flexibility to provide a variety of possible combinations of double major or minors:​

    Complementary Academic Paths
    Bioinformatics Minor
    Pre-engineering Double Major
    Computer Science Double Major/Minor
    Statistics Minor
    Elementary Math Education  
    Secondary Education Certification M.Ed.

    Actuarial Science Prospects

    We have had lots of success with students pursuing other statistics and finance related careers as actuarial science majors as well as math majors.

    Non-actuarial positions in actuarial firms SAS Programmers Accountants Master’s and PhD programs
    Our students successfully received internships or full-time job offers to work as underwriters, benefits administration specialists and savings plan recordkeepers. We offer courses in SAS to prepare students for very popular internships in the field with a local company. A minor in accounting is a very easy add on to the AS major and the student can easily pursue a career in finance accounting. Subjects include Statistics, Financial Engineering, Data Science, and Bioinformatics, etc.

    Actuarial Science B.S. Degree Requirements

    Mathematics courses, Business courses and a Computer Science course are required.



    Meet Our Faculty

    • Dr. Carlos Ortiz, whose publications include several in mathematical finance 
    • Actuarial Program Director: Irina Pogrebivsky, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries who worked as an actuary for 25+ year before coming to Arcadia
    • Dr. Ned Wolff, a statistician with many years of experience preparing students for actuarial careers
    • Dr. Weihong Ni, a PhD in Actuarial Science
    • Professor Emeritus Dr. Louis Friedler, a PhD in Mathematics and an Associate of the Society of Actuaries.

    The Computer Science and Mathematics Department faculty are dedicated, active scholars with backgrounds in applications and industry. Check out all faculty of the department via the link below.