Actuarial Science

What is an Actuarial Science Major?

Actuaries, sometimes called “risk architects,” specialize in the evaluation of risk and are a vital part of the insurance and financial industries. Their work is intellectually challenging and they are very well-paid. In a fast-changing world, with new risks and the need for ever-more creative ways to tackle them, there are constant opportunities for personal and professional growth in an actuarial career. Most actuaries work in a pleasant environment, alongside other professionals and they are key players in the management team of the companies that employ them. Using their broad knowledge of statistics, mathematics and finance, actuaries help design insurance policies, pension plans, and other financial strategies in a manner that will help ensure that the plans are maintained on a sound financial basis and risks are minimized.

 From the Department page: In the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability, we offer B.S. in Actuarial Science which will prepare you for a career in the actuarial profession. Multiple actuarial designations are available nowadays, including Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, Certified Enterprise Risk Analyst and Registered Professional Liability Underwriter. Our degree will help you pass the actuarial exams which are necessary to obtain these certifications and future career advancement. You can also join the Actuarial Association to meet other students who share your interests and aspirations.

All actuarial science majors will be assigned a faculty advisor. Their advice is crucial in designing a coherent undergraduate program.

In the course sequence PSTAT 296AB, Research for Actuaries, students will complete research projects in the area of actuarial science. Each project will be supervised by at least one ladder faculty member and approved by a project committee that includes at least two members of the department's ladder faculty.

Major, General, and Career Information

From UCSB Actuarial Science page:
So what do Actuaries do?
Actuaries work on wide variety of projects in diverse business environments. Their specialty is assessing risks and then designing ways to decrease impact and likelihood of undesirable events. To do so, they carry out a rigorous quantitative analysis using their broad background in statistics, mathematics and finance. For example, actuaries are experts in:
  • Analyzing insurance rates, such as for cars, homes or life insurance.
  • Estimating the money to be set-aside for future pension/retirement benefits.
  • Participating in corporate planning, such as assessing the value of a company about to merge with another business.
  • Calculating a fair price for a new insurance product.
  • Forecasting the potential impact of catastrophes.
  • Analyzing investment programs.

While most actuaries are employed in the insurance sector, many also work as independent consultants, in banks and investment firms, at public accounting firms and in government. Actuarial research in universities is another thriving career path. See for more information. If you want to know more about our program, talk to the Undergraduate Program Assistant in the Statistics Department, South Hall 5607.

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Resources and Professional Associations

UCSB Actuarial Science Majors Listserv

The Department of Applied Probability and Statistics at UCSB hosts an exceptional Actuarial Program, the only one of its kind in California and only one of two on the entire USA West Coast.

Statistics Departmental Web Page

UCSB Library Statistics Subject Homepage

UCSB's own Actuary Club hosts an Actuarial Career Fair in the Fall, along with many other events and information.
"Data Science at UCSB is a university club founded and organized by students for students. Working closely with UCSB’s Statistics and Applied Probability Department, we aim to get Gauchos on the path to a successful career in data science and analytics through group projects, peer education, and presentations from industry leaders. Our members learn the tools of the trade, such as Python, R and SQL, while bolstering soft skills like public speaking, teamwork, and delegation."
"FACTOR is a female-led organization that supports and encourages equality for All. We focus on Professional Development for our members."

The purposes of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) are to advance the body of knowledge of actuarial science applied to property, casualty and similar risk exposures, to establish and maintain standards of qualification for membership, to promote and maintain high standards of conduct and competence for the members, and to increase the awareness of actuarial science.

Society of Actuaries
The Society of Actuaries’ (SOA) vision is for actuaries to be the leading professionals in the measurement and management of risk.

American Academy of Actuaries
The American Academy of Actuaries serves the public on behalf of the U.S. actuarial profession. Uniting actuaries from all practice areas, the Academy is the voice of the profession on public policy and professionalism issues.

International Actuarial Association
The International Actuarial Association (IAA) is the worldwide association of professional actuarial associations, with a number of special interest sections for individual actuaries.