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Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science

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  • Course description
    The Actuarial Science Program at the Florida State University is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that resides in the Department of Mathematics. It is classified as Advanced Undergraduate and Graduate Education by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) / Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) Listing of Academic Actuarial Science Programs. T

    The current process to become an actuary in the SOA or CAS, or a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) in the SOA, involves passing a sequence of preliminary exams and obtaining validation by educational experience (VEE) in the areas of applied statistics, economics, and finance from an approved university such as FSU. The preliminary exams in the SOA are called Exam P (Probability), Exam FM (Financial Mathematics), Exam M (Actuarial Models; which is split into two parts, Life Contingencies (Exam MLC) and Financial Economics (Exam MFE)), and Exam C (Construction of Models). The preliminary exams in the CAS are called Exam 1, Exam 2, Exam 3, and Exam 4. However, the following exams are jointly administered by the SOA and CAS: Exam P with Exam 1 (hence referred to as Exam P/1), Exam FM with Exam 2 (Exam FM/2), and Exam C with Exam 4 (Exam C/4).
    The SOA chose not to name their exams numerically, since doing so would possibly imply that the exams must be taken in a particular order. The required course content of FSU's program in actuarial science covers material for the preliminary exams as well as all three VEE areas. There are diverse entry-level opportunities for graduates, including many in Florida. Recent FSU graduates have readily found attractive employment; company interviews held in the department facilitate matching students with employer needs.

    The actuarial profession is consistently highly rated (e.g.; by Jobs Almanac, based on criteria related to salary, stress, work environment, outlook, security and physical demands). Banking and investment houses, in addition to the usual insurance and government employers, now employ many trained in actuarial science and the related mathematics, statistics, computing and finance. The students in this degree offering demonstrate strong mathematical and computational aptitude, leadership ability, and communications skills. They become knowledgeable in finance and insurance as well as in mathematics and statistics. Most of them successfully complete examinations in the joint SOA/CAS sequence. A number of students each year participate in internship activities. Graduates from recent past years are well placed in industry and government. These employers have been generous with advice from their experience for the program.

    Broad instruction is provided in the mathematical, statistical, economic and business concepts underlying the operations of property, casualty, and life insurers, governmental agencies, and consulting firms. Beyond the basic scientific calculus sequence that is necessary for the first actuarial examination, and basic courses in economics, accounting, and computer science, the requirements are rather evenly split between mathematics, statistics, and business. Within the required business minor, all students take one course in each of the highly rated departments of Risk Management and Insurance, Economics, and Finance. To deepen the student's information base, an advanced two-course concentration, chosen from several options with regard for student goals, must be completed in one of these departments.

    Students are required to take courses that are designed to assist them in successful completion of the preliminary actuarial examinations, and they are provided group support and strong encouragement for completing many of the exams before award of the degree. Since it is necessary in order to be competitive in today's job market that students pass at least one actuarial exam while in school, FSU Actuarial Science offers targeted help. The mathematics courses include material in the syllabus for all of the preliminary actuarial exams with optional study beyond. As a new feature begun in 2007, FSU now offers 20-hour special seminars for Exams P/1, FM/2, and MLC; these are developed and presented by Dr. Stephen P. Paris, the Coordinator of Actuarial Science. These actuarial exams are part of the preliminary exams that are required for actuarial and CERA designations. Passing an actuarial exam requires considerable extra effort above course work on the part of students but it provides - and is essential for - a competitive edge in the job market. Additionally, for an FSU undergraduate degree in actuarial science, the required courses include those courses for which students receive credit in all three of the VEE areas: applied statistics, economics, and finance. Note that in order to receive VEE credit for any course, you must receive a grade of B- or better in the course. FSU Actuarial Science also organizes opportunities to help you find a job before graduation. Students join and participate most Thursday evenings in presentations of the Florida State Student Actuarial Society (FSSAS). Presentations are by practicing actuaries with government, insurance, consulting, and financial firms who talk with our actuarial science students. The Thursday presentations are usually followed by Friday interviews for summer internships and/or full time positions at the respective actuary's company.

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