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Actuarial Science


Actuarial Students


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, as well as all of the VEE requirements. We are one of only three institutions in Massachusetts on the 2018 UCAP list maintained by the Society of Actuaries.

We currently have about 200 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 host an Actuarial Career Fair each fall and our Actuarial Club 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 and Lynne Pollack for their generous donations to the program over the past several years.

Companies with internship or job opportunities for our students should post their positions on Handshake. They may also contact the co-Director of Actuarial Program, Jinguo Lianinfo-icon.

VEE Requirements

The actuarial societies require several courses as part of the process of obtaining certification within the profession. These courses are known as Validation by Educational Experience (VEE). As of July 1, 2018, the areas and courses are:

  • Economics: Microeconomics (Economics 103 or Resource Economics 102) and Macroeconomics (Economics 104)
  • Mathematical Statistics: Statistics 515 and 516
  • Accounting and Finance: Accounting 221 and Finance 301.

Math majors who have declared the Actuarial concentration may contact Jacob Lagerstrominfo-icon to submit a request to be enrolled in Accounting 221 or Finance 301. Requests for enrollment should occur during advising week.

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 is a course dedicated to preparing students for the exam. The underlying material is covered in Stat 515 and Math 233 and a few students have taken the exam after completing just those courses by studying on their own.

Exam FM/2: The updated version of this exam covers just the interest rate theory material. Math 437 is dedicated to preparing students for this exam. Some of the material is also touched upon in Finance 301.

Exam SRM/3 (Statistics for Risk Modeling): The exam assumes knowledge of probability and mathematical statistics as covered in the Exam P and VEE Mathematical Statistics subjects,  is a prerequisite for the Predictive Analytics education, covers the basics of several important analytic methods, which will go deeper into each of the covered techniques. It covers the regression and time series topics formerly in the Applied Statistics VEE subject. Math456 (in Spring taught by Jinguo Lianinfo-icon) or Stat 525 and Stat 535 will be helpful preparation for this exam.

Suggestions and announcements for actuarial concentrators

  • Complete Stat 515 in your sophomore year.
  • Take an exam course (typically, Math 536) 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, for students who fail the exam for the first time, the department will reimburse part of the cost of study materials. You may get all of materials (receipt of exam registration, receipt of textbook, exam pass (or not pass) certificate, a thank you letter to Bob and Lynne Pollack) ready, then send them to the co-Director of the Actuarial Program, Kien Nguyen. Now we have changed the reimbursement method of Bob and Lynne Pollack Actuarial Exam Fund. We no longer mail a check to you, but directly provide a waiver of tuition as a financial aid.
  • The Actuarial club is a chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a national organization of students interested in risk and insurance (including actuarial science).

Helpful Links

Actuarial Societies

Requirements of the professional societies

Exam Preparation

Actuarial Job, Internship, and Scholarship Search