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Actuarial Career Preparation

What is an Actuary?

From the  BeAnActuary website web site:
You may not be familiar with the term "actuary," but if you work, pay taxes, have a Social Security number, or have health, life, home, renters', or car insurance, you depend on the work they do. The site will provide much more information.

Recommended Program

Please contact the department actuarial adviser for more detailed information.

A typical preparation for an actuarial career is a bachelor's degree in mathematics supplemented by appropriate business courses or economics courses. At Rose-Hulman a math major or XX/MA major with an economics minor or, an MA/EC  or EC/MA double major would be a very solid preparation, especially given Rose-Hulman's emphasis on problem solving throughout all of its degree programs. Because an actuary makes extensive use of statistics, the statistics concentration would be a very good choice for the mathematics program concentration (see math portion of catalogue). For further information go to the double majors page, economics major, or economics minor pages. With a little planning MA/EC or EC/MA degree can be obtained without overloads or advanced placement. For the economics courses you should discuss them with the economics area minor advisor. 

In short, the following math courses specifically prepare the student for Actuarial Exam 1:

MA111 (Calc I), MA112 (Calc II), MA113 (Calc III), MA381 (Probability), MA381 (Probability): 

Typically, a high GPA is expected for an actuarial career.

Actuarial Exams 

Actuaries have an extensive set of exams which they need to complete to progress through their career. The first few of these exams cover topics in mathematics and economics. Passing one and especially two exams (combined with a solid GPA) before graduation demonstrates the level of competence and commitment that employers seek in their best candidates.  Furthermore, a good GPA and the first exam give a student an advantage in securing a summer actuarial internship. With careful planning a student should be able to complete the first exam in the junior year  and complete both exams before graduation. 

A student should start planning early in the school year to take Actuarial Exams. All details and forms may be found at the Society of Actuaries site or this simpler page on the BeAnActuary site.  You can prepare for the exams by taking mathematics and economics courses as part of a mathematics major and economics minor in the normal sequence. In addition, it is recommended that you also prepare for the exam by working through one or two practice exams.

Exam 1 covers Calculus and Probability. A student, moving at an aggressive pace, should be ready for Exam 1 by the end of the sophomore year or the November exam in the fall of the junior year. Exam 2 covers microeconomics, macroeconomics, the theory of interest and finance and uses the methods of calculus.  You should be able to finish the preparatory course work for Exam 2 by the end of the junior year, leaving a full year to complete the exam. A student with advanced placement can accelerate the process a little.

We Assist With Study Materials and Sessions

We keep copies of certain reference texts and some supplemental materials, such as practice exams, in the mathematics library. The econmics adviser (in HSS) along with the actuarial advisor in math can provide some help in organizing a study group for students interested in preparing for an exam.  Exam course objectives, topics lists, recommended readings and sample exams are here: For Study Notes, see the Society of Actuaries exam page.

Other Actuarial Links