Frequently Asked Questions

Why study actuarial science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Most schools in the U.S. that are considered to have a complete undergraduate or Masters degree actuarial science program (e.g. Nebraska, Drake, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Illinois State, Georgia State) are very similar in academic content and the quality of the faculty and of the actuarial education. Differences include administrative location (Business college, Math department, Statistics department, etc), and emphases beyond the academic program. At Nebraska, our emphasis beyond the academic program is the connection to the actuarial profession through the active external advisory committee of actuaries, the student actuarial science club, emphasis on summer internships, and problem labs that provide content review and problem practice to assist students in preparing for the professional actuarial examinations.

One of the primary goals for our unique Actuarial Applications in Practice course is to help students make the transition from actuarial theory to actuarial practice by using case studies and introducing students to tools that actuaries use in practice to complete actuarial tasks, such as EXCEL and commercially available actuarial software (TAS, MGALFA, PROPHET). The course also introduces students to the additional considerations in practical applications of actuarial theory, such as assumption setting, Actuarial Standards of Practice, the professional code of conduct, and effective communication. Actuaries as guest speakers have contributed significantly to the success of the course. During the spring of 2011, several guest speakers contributed: Dean Way, FSA, discussing the role of the Illustration Actuary; Jeanne Daharsh, FSA, and John Rink, Nebraska Department of Insurance, discussing the actuarial work and responsibilities involved in the regulation of insurance; Don Segal, FSA, Society of Actuaries President, discussing his career path, professional issues, and advice to actuarial students; Denise Olson, FCAS, presenting a casualty case study; and Karen Rudolph, FSA, and Cole Naughton, ASA, presenting an asset liability management case study. This course is typically taken during the last year before graduation.

Should an undergraduate student interested in actuarial science major in the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Business?

The Actuarial Science Program is a part of the finance department in the College of Business. However, all undergraduate courses are offered to majors or minors in both the College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences. One can pursue an actuarial career having majored or minored in actuarial science in either the College of Business or the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). Regardless of the college, the core background provided for an actuarial career is essentially the same. The considerations in choosing a college include what other interests a student has, the general requirements of the college, and the scholarships and financial aid available. Currently, the majority of actuarial science majors are in the College of Business.