actuarial science information

A Career without Boundaries

What's an Actuary?

Actuaries put a price tag on future risks. Their work requires both analytical and business skills. (See also What Do Actuaries Do?)

Where Are the Opportunities?

Actuaries are employed in the insurance industry, government, consulting firms, banks and investment firms, and large corporations. 

How Do I Get Started?

Typically, actuarial trainees (those who have yet to pass all of the qualifying exams administered byThe Societies Of Actuaries) major in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics, computer science, or pass a couple of actuarial exams while still in school. The first two exams cover undergraduate subjects in calculus and linear algebra and probability and statistics.

What Are the Opportunities in Actuarial Science at NMU?

Northern is one of fewer than 200 Canadian and U.S. schools listed by The Society Of Actuaries as offering a pre-actuarial curriculum. The Mathematics & Computer Science Department offers courses covering the content of Exams 100, 110, 120, 130 and 135. Each of the aforementioned exams is offered two or three times a year at many testing sites around the country. NMU is one such national testing site.

Who Should I Contact for More Information?

The contact person for The Society Of Actuaries at NMU is:

Dr. Linda B. Lawton
Mathematics & Computer Science Department
Northern Michigan University 
Marquette, MI 49855 
Office phone: 227-2020

What Do Actuaries Do?

While actuaries work on all sorts of projects in diverse business environments, they have one thing in common: They use quantitative skills to analyze and plan for future financial situations.

Using these skills, actuaries may be involved in projects as varied as:

  • Placing a price on a company about to merge with another business.

  • Estimating the impact of seat-belt laws in automobile losses and determining appropriate rate discounts.

  • Projecting Social Security benefits so money can be collected to pay workers planning to retire in 20 years.

  • Determining why malpractice insurance costs for doctors are skyrocketing.

  • Projecting what the AIDS epidemic will cost life and health insurance companies in five, ten and twenty years.

  • Determining the price for a liability policy.

  • Collecting and investing enough money so that an insurance company can pay claims.

  • Designing a new retirement program for a company.

  • Calculating the price to charge for insuring a satellite launch.

  • Estimating the benefit costs for a labor union contract.

  • Answering questions like "What risks are insurable", and "How much and where should companies invest money?"

  • Estimating the cost of a major earthquake on the West Cost.


SOURCE: Picture yourself making a terrific choice! The Actuarial Profession, Society of Actuaries