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Center of Actuarial Excellence Actuarial Science at Illinois State University
Our faculty are engaged in cutting edge research, funded by various external agencies, and published in books and top-level journals.

Undergraduate students who want to consider majoring in actuarial science should send an inquiry to:

Advisement information is available at:

Undergraduate Students


You become an actuary by passing a series of professional examinations, and by developing your professional skills while working at an insurance company, consulting firm, or some other similar organization. A college degree is essential in order to pass the actuarial professional examinations. An actuarial major or a mathematics major are recommended, since passing the professional examinations requires a thorough understanding of mathematics. Also vital are: knowledge of finance, insurance and investments, excellent communication skills (especially the ability to communicate quantitative ideas to a non-mathematical audience), and a mastery of a computing and computer modeling.

Professional opportunities

Actuarial employment opportunities are typically available in the following types of organizations: health, life, property, and casualty insurance firms; actuarial and employee benefit consulting firms; health service organizations; insurance rating agencies; large industrial corporations; labor unions; federal government agencies; and state insurance departments.

Program Outline

The heart of the Actuarial Program at Illinois State University is the course work in mathematics that provides the background needed to complete a number of professional examinations. These mathematics courses are taught in high technology classrooms that contain up-to-date computer technology, projection devices, and appropriate software to assist instructors in computation as well as development of conceptual understanding.

Undergraduate coursework at our program provides complete coverage of the content of all preliminary actuarial examinations and Validation by Educational Experience as follows:

  • SOA Exam P/CAS Exam 1: Applied Probability Models (MAT 350),
  • SOA Exam FM/CAS Exam 2: Financial Mathematics (MAT 280),
  • SOA Exam IFM/CAS Exam 3F: Actuarial Models III (MAT 383),
  • SOA Exam LTAM: Actuarial Models I and II (MAT 380, MAT 381),
  • SOA Exam STAM: Statistics and Data Analysis (MAT 351) and Actuarial Models IV (MAT 384),
  • SOA Exam SRM: Regression and Time Series (MAT 353),Introduction to Statistical Learning (MAT 355),
  • SOA Exam PA: Predictive Analytics Competition,
  • CAS Exam MAS II: Statistics and Data Analysis (MAT 351), Regression and Time Series (MAT 353), Actuarial Models I (MAT 380), Actuarial Models III (MAT 381),
  • CAS Exam MAS II: Regression and Time Series (MAT 353), Introduction to Statistical Learning (MAT 355),
  • VEE Economics: Principles of Microeconomics (ECO 101) and Principles of Macroeconomics (ECO 102),
  • VEE Statistics: Mathematics 351, Statistics and Data Analysis,
  • VEE Finance and Accounting: Financial Accounting (ACC 131), Intermediate Business Finance (FIL 341) and Investments (FIL 242).

To help students prepare for actuarial examinations we offer intensive review seminars.

Job outlook, earnings

Surveys by the actuarial profession show the market to be excellent for job candidates. We recommend that students pass two actuarial professional exams and complete all VEE requirements in order to compete for good entry-level jobs. Internship experience, good communication skills, ability to use Microsoft Office software, some programming ability, and understanding of the insurance business will enhance employment prospects. Information for students seeking employment and internships is posted at the Web site of our Actuarial Program. Students can inquire about an insurance minor at the Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services of Illinois State University.

Our placement rate over the last five years has been approximately 95%. Current starting annual salary average is approximately $70,900.