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Thread: Why the top 50 University in US do not have Actuarial Science?

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
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    Why the top 50 University in US do not have Actuarial Science?

    I know that many people study in other subject can become an actuary, but I still do not understand why the top universities do not offer degree in Actuarial Science.

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Level V Poster
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    It depends some on what you consider "top universities." University of Michigan is generally on top of most lists, and has a solid actuarial science program. Columbia, Penn State, BYU, U Nebraska and U Texas - Austin are also great universities (and I'm sure I'm leaving a bunch out -- no offense intended). So what are your "top 50"?
    Last edited by JMO Fan; May 18th 2007 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Northwestern College, not NWU, not in many 'top 50' lists
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMO Fan View Post
    It depends some on what you consider "top universities." University of Michigan is generally on top of most lists, and has a solid actuarial science program. Northwestern, Columbia, Penn State, BYU, U Nebraska and U Texas - Austin are also great universities (and I'm sure I'm leaving a bunch out -- no offense intended). So what are your "top 50"?
    I know Ohio State has to be in the top over all 50 univ in the US and they are ranked in the top 5 for their Actuarial program. I graduated there in the program and I recommend it highly to anyone considering the field.

  4. #4
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    I found an ranking in US News. And seem that most of these university do not offer acturial science.
    1 Princeton University(NJ)
    2 Harvard University(MA)
    3 Yale University(CT)
    4 California Institute of Technology
    4 Stanford University(CA)
    4 Massachusetts Inst. of Technology
    7 University of Pennsylvania
    8 Duke University(NC)
    9 Dartmouth College(NH)
    9 Columbia University(NY)
    9 University of Chicago
    12 Cornell University(NY)
    12 Washington University in St. Louis
    14 Northwestern University(IL)
    15 Brown University(RI)
    16 Johns Hopkins University(MD)
    17 Rice University(TX)
    18 Vanderbilt University(TN)
    18 Emory University(GA)
    20 University of Notre Dame(IN)
    21 Carnegie Mellon University(PA)
    21 University of California—Berkeley *
    23 Georgetown University(DC)
    24 University of Virginia *
    24 University of Michigan—Ann Arbor *
    26 Univ. of California—Los Angeles *
    27 U. of North Carolina—Chapel Hill *
    27 Univ. of Southern California
    27 Tufts University(MA)
    30 Wake Forest University(NC)
    31 College of William and Mary(VA) *
    31 Brandeis University(MA)
    33 Lehigh University(PA)
    34 Univ. of Wisconsin—Madison *
    34 Boston College
    34 New York University
    34 University of Rochester(NY)
    38 Case Western Reserve Univ.(OH)
    38 Univ. of California—San Diego *
    38 Georgia Institute of Technology *
    41 U. of Illinois—Urbana - Champaign *
    42 University of Washington *
    42 Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst.(NY)
    44 University of California—Irvine *
    44 Tulane University(LA) 11
    44 Yeshiva University(NY)
    47 Pennsylvania State U.—University Park *
    47 University of Texas—Austin *
    47 University of California—Davis *
    47 Univ. of California—Santa Barbara *
    47 University of Florida *
    52 George Washington University(DC)

  5. #5
    Actuary.com - Level V Poster djerry81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ericeric View Post
    I found an ranking in US News. And seem that most of these university do not offer acturial science.
    1 Princeton University(NJ) liberal arts school
    2 Harvard University(MA) liberal arts school
    3 Yale University(CT) liberal arts school
    4 California Institute of Technology science and teh
    4 Stanford University(CA)
    4 Massachusetts Inst. of Technology science and tech
    7 University of Pennsylvania
    8 Duke University(NC)
    9 Dartmouth College(NH)
    9 Columbia University(NY)
    9 University of Chicago
    12 Cornell University(NY)
    12 Washington University in St. Louis
    14 Northwestern University(IL)
    15 Brown University(RI)
    16 Johns Hopkins University(MD)
    17 Rice University(TX)
    18 Vanderbilt University(TN)
    18 Emory University(GA)
    20 University of Notre Dame(IN)
    21 Carnegie Mellon University(PA)
    21 University of California—Berkeley *
    23 Georgetown University(DC)
    24 University of Virginia *
    24 University of Michigan—Ann Arbor *
    26 Univ. of California—Los Angeles *
    27 U. of North Carolina—Chapel Hill *
    27 Univ. of Southern California
    27 Tufts University(MA)
    30 Wake Forest University(NC)
    31 College of William and Mary(VA) *
    31 Brandeis University(MA)
    33 Lehigh University(PA)
    34 Univ. of Wisconsin—Madison *
    34 Boston College
    34 New York University
    34 University of Rochester(NY)
    38 Case Western Reserve Univ.(OH)
    38 Univ. of California—San Diego *
    38 Georgia Institute of Technology *
    41 U. of Illinois—Urbana - Champaign *
    42 University of Washington *
    42 Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst.(NY)
    44 University of California—Irvine *
    44 Tulane University(LA) 11
    44 Yeshiva University(NY)
    47 Pennsylvania State U.—University Park *
    47 University of Texas—Austin *
    47 University of California—Davis *
    47 Univ. of California—Santa Barbara *
    47 University of Florida *
    52 George Washington University(DC)
    Honestly each school has a strength it is recognized for and it might be they don't have a major specifically called actuarial science but for the most part i am sure they have organizations within specific depts that give support to students that don't neccessary want to go to grad school immediately after college. I came from a liberal arts school and if your not in a business program or engineering program the professors don't really push getting a job after graduation, they want students to get Ph.D's.....And I am sure you haven't looked at each of these school individually because I am sure some have some recognized program for risk management or actuarial science even if its not a major

  6. #6
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    I know that Wharton School of Business at UPenn has an actuarial program, as well as University of Michigan and NYU Stern school... although these schools will have courses that are geared toward the exams, ultimately it depends on your commitment to studying for the exams independently during your own time.

  7. #7
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    actuarial science & college

    Quote Originally Posted by djerry81 View Post
    ... I came from a liberal arts school and if you're not in a business program or engineering program the professors don't really push getting a job after graduation, they want students to get Ph.D's....
    This has always been a major obstacle to university actuarial science: math-focused professors foster future grad students, who then become math-focused professors. Actuarial science grads mostly go into industry, especially the insurance industry, which takes them out of academia. Profs are often caught up in educating for its own sake, rather than for application.

    I was groomed in that environment as a math major, but was persuaded by a friend to give actuarial work a try. When I was told FSA would be harder to get than a math PhD, I inwardly scoffed that anything could be harder. The long, hard road to FSA proved to be significantly more difficult than a math PhD, but that doesn't mean math profs would ever believe it.

    Some colleges recognize ASA/ACAS as equivalent to MA/MS, and FSA/FCAS as equivalent to PhD. But others don't acknowledge actuarial attainments as having any academic value. As FSA, I was accepted as a professor without question at one university; another was more reluctant, wanted me to start out on a calculus class to see if I could "handle" it. (I turned the latter one down.)

    Those academic attitudes toward actuaries, coupled with the relatively small size of the profession, has meant slow growth in college actuarial programs. Self-study has traditionally been more common for actuaries, and tends to be more attractive when full-time salaries are offered while studying. Exams are more important in actuarial work, and attainment of actuarial credentials doesn't often coincide with attainment of advanced degrees, which is the definite focus of college.
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  8. #8
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    OK, first off, an apology for dredging up an old thread, but I've only recently joined the board. Two thoughts:

    A large part of the reason for the small number of actuarial science degree programs is that it is a young discipline. Thirty years ago you would have found few stand-alone computer science degree programs -- most of them were inside mathematics departments. At smaller schools, many still are. I anticipate that more and more schools will begin actuarial science programs, so long as the demand grows as well. That demand will likely depend on the ability of non-AS majors to continue to enter the field, versus AS-majors having the ability to do something else, as well.

    Secondly, I think FSA vs. PhD is a difficult comparison at best, because they have very different purposes. A PhD demands a student to become conversant with the cutting-edge of knowledge in a specialty, then create new research. Most permanent faculty positions demand the ability to do original research as well. Of course an FSA is challenging -- reaching a high certification in most any field is difficult. But a PhD is not about tests. Comparing them is, as I said, difficult.

  9. #9
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    I agree that the PhD comparison to FSA is difficult. FSA prepares you to solve risk-analysis problems using multiple methods and subjects, e.g., accounting, law, economics, and finance, as well as math & statistics. PhD focus tends to be single-subject with minor sidebars.

    I was initially aimed at PhD, found FSA to be a greater challenge, but it did pay better along the way.
    I thought this WAS a real job

  10. #10
    Actuary.com - Level VI Poster Ken's Avatar
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    You can get financial math degrees and applied math degrees. Why care about an actuarial science degree? They're the same thing.
    Whether you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be running.

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