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Actuarial Science

Actuaries are business professionals who design and evaluate insurance company products and pension programs and plans. They determine the rates for car, home, and life insurance, as well as the amount of money a pension plan needs in order to meet its future obligations. As such, actuaries use mathematical skills to define, analyze, and solve financial and social problems.

To become a practicing actuary, one must be certified by the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society. These societies administer a series of examinations leading to the two professional designations: Associate (roughly one-half of the examinations passed) and Fellow (all examinations passed). The early examinations cover economics and finance along with the mathematical areas of calculus, probability, statistics, and interest theory. It is possible for Elmhurst College students to pass the early examinations while they are still in college.

The actuarial societies and the Department of Mathematics recommend a major in mathematics or a major in business administration or economics with a minor in mathematics. Courses in accounting, finance, economics, and computer science are strongly recommended. It is important to have a broad background because understanding others and communicating effectively are essential ingredients for success in the profession. For further information, contact the mathematics department chair.

Actuarial examinations are given in May and November of each year. Since the examinations are very difficult to pass (approximately 40% pass the exams), it is very important to do well in the classes and to study the material conscientiously before the examination. To help students pass the examinations, the mathematics department has study materials and old examinations available for student use.

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