Actuarial Science, MS

Arizona State University received the 2018 Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) University Award, an honor created to recognize schools doing exemplary work in preparing students for a career in the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry.

University Award Winner

Actuaries are mathematicians who manage risk by:

  • Evaluating the likelihood of future events using numbers, not crystal balls
  • Designing creative ways to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events
  • Decreasing the impact of undesirable events that do occur

Actuaries are the analytical backbone of our society’s financial security programs.

In fall 2018, Arizona State University started the Master of Science program in actuarial science at Arizona State University. It is the first program of its kind which simultaneouly caters to two different groups of students – those that have already earned an undergraduate degree in actuarial science, and those who have no past experience in actuarial science.

To become a credentialed actuary, students must pass a series of professional exams offered by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). This degree program prepares students for these credentialing exams.

  • Students who have earned an undergraduate degree in actuarial science or major/minor/concentration have usually passed the first few preliminary exams towards their associateship. The MS degree allows them to differentiate themselves from their actuarial science peers by expanding their predictive analytics tool kit, and gives them exposure to advanced exams required for the fellowship credential by the SOA or the CAS.

  • Students who have completed an undergraduate degree in a related field but have no past experience in taking course work in actuarial science have most likely not taken any exams yet. The MS degree allows them to maximize their exposure to preliminary associateship exams offered by the SOA and CAS, as well as develop their predictive analytics tool kit.

Actuary is consistently rated as one of the best jobs in America. Actuaries enjoy an excellent starting salary, and exceptional job security with numerous opportunities for career growth. Working in areas such as health, life, property and casualty insurance, and pensions, actuaries assist in identifying, mitigating, and pricing risk for various insurance products. They also work in non-traditional areas such as banking and infrastructure. They may also work with companies to determine levels of risk in various aspects associated with reaching their developed goals.

The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences has more than 50 full-time faculty members and 13 postdoctoral faculty and is housed largely in Charles Wexler Hall, near the center of campus. Our graduate students enjoy a collaborative atmosphere and a full schedule of research seminars and colloquiums each week. We support an active chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS @ ASU), a professional fraternity that promotes, encourages, and sustains student interest in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science as professions. The school also has an active chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), the American Mathematics Society (AMS), and the Graduate Statistics Club. The school and GIS @ ASU chapter organize an annual Actuarial Science Career Day every fall in September and graduate students explore multiple career paths in insurance and industry, as well as academia.

2 years to degree
leads to high-paying career
accelerated option

Degree Overview

The MS actuarial science is a 30-hour program that guides students' development of professional competencies through coursework, independent projects and opportunities outside of the classroom, while remaining firmly based on a strong foundation of scholarly technical work in actuarial science. 

How to apply

The application deadline for our master's degree program is July 1. Applications are accepted for fall admission only.

We do not accept applications for spring admission. Completed applications are reviewed beginning in December for fall admission. There is usually no funding available for master's students.

Applications still considered incomplete by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences after July 1 will likely not be evaluated by the graduate review committee in time to be considered for admission for that current year. International applicants may want to allow an additional 4-6 weeks for I-20 and visa processing and should pay careful attention to the I-20/DS-2019 important deadlines.

See Graduate Admissions for additional information on non-refundable application fees and the late processing fee.

Application Evaluation

Each applicant is evaluated not only on their GRE scores and grades, but also on their personal statement and letters of recommendation. Only completed applications submitted through the on-line process will be reviewed.

We receive many inquiries asking for a pre-evaluation to see if an applicant would be eligible to apply or make suggestions on their credentials. Unfortunately we are not able to review any application information sent to us.

More specifics can be found on the How To Apply page.

Emma TerryDr. Jelena Milovanovic goes above and beyond for all of her students, Terri Miller has given me an outstanding comprehension level of calculus which serves as a platform for everything else, and John Zicarelli bring decades of real-industry experience to the classroom. As a whole, the faculty at ASU are amazing.

Emma Terry
Actuarial Science student

Curriculum

The curriculum builds a strong foundation in actuarial science and prepares students for the professional credentialing exams required of actuaries. 

Requirements and electivesHours
Required Core courses6
Electives or Research21
Culminating Experience3
Total hours required30

Courses and electives

There are three essential components to a M.S. in actuarial science: core courses, elective or research courses, and a culminating experience.

ACT 560 Advanced Data Analytics in Insurance I (3) 
ACT 561 Advanced Data analytics in Insurance II (3)

For electives and research, students select seven courses from list below. Other courses may be used with approval of the academic unit. Only 6 credit hours of 400 level coursework will be allowed on the plan of study per Graduate College policy.

ACT 505 Advanced Models for Enterprise Risk Management 
ACT 510 Mathematics of Finance
ACT 515 Probability for Risk Management 
ACT 520 Rate Making and Reserving 
ACT 530 Mathematics for Financial Derivatives 
ACT 535 Statistics for Risk Modeling 
ACT 540 Long Term Actuarial Mathematics I 
ACT 541 Long Term Actuarial Mathematics II 
ACT 550 Actuarial Models and Modeling I 
ACT 551 Actuarial Models and Modeling II 
ACT 570 Stochastic Calculus for Finance 
ACT 571 Advanced Mathematics and Financial Derivatives 
ACT 575 Portfolio Theory and Risk Management 
ACT 580 Regulation and Financial Reporting 
ACT 584 Internship 
ACT 585 Advanced Mortality Modeling and Management of Longevity Risk 
ACT 415 Probability for Risk Management 
ACT 430 Mathematics of Financial Derivatives 
ACT 440 Long Term Actuarial Mathematics I 
ACT 441 Long Term Actuarial Mathematics II 
ACT 450 Actuarial Models and Modeling I 
ACT 451 Actuarial Models and Modeling II 
ACT 435 Actuarial Business Forecasting 
ACT 420 Rate Making and Reserving
STP 421 Probability 
STP 427 Mathematical Statistics

ACT 593 Applied Project (3)

Only 6 credit hours of 400-level coursework will be allowed on the plan of study per Graduate College policy.

Accelerated Degrees
This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years. It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with: 
Actuarial Science, BS
Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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