Professional Science

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Professional Science, Actuarial Science Concentration, M.S.

Actuarial science is a special discipline for training students to apply mathematical skills and statistical techniques to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs.

The Actuarial Science concentration in the Master of Science in Professional Science degree offers preparation, basic knowledge, and professional skills to work as an actuary and to pass actuarial professional examinations. The program offers training so that students can make practical use of probability theory and statistical analysis for managing risks and solving practical problems.

An internship takes the place of writing a thesis.

Actuaries may work for insurance companies, consulting firms, government, employee benefits departments of large corporations, hospitals, banks, and investment firms, or, more generally, in businesses that need to manage financial risk. A career as an actuary is better described as a "business" career with a mathematical basis rather than as a "technical" mathematical career. The occupation of an actuary has been ranked for many years as one of the best jobs based on a variety of factors.

The Actuarial Science program at MTSU is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the best in the southeastern region of the USA. The program won the 2020 University Award from the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and has been listed as a UCAP advanced program by the Society of Actuaries (SOA).

If you live in one of these states: AL; you may be able to attend MTSU at in-state rates under the Academic Common Market program.

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News Briefs

Successful actuary alum helps program as advisor, mentor

MTSU alumnus John E. Daniel, FCAS, MAAA, is now a vice president and consulting actuary in the Willis Casualty Actuarial Practice in Nashville. He also mentors people new to the actuarial profession and serves as an advisory board member for the M.S. in Professional Science program and as the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) college liaison with the MTSU Actuarial Science program. "Every time a graduate of the program achieves success in the actuarial field, the reputation of the program is enhanced and new opportunities are created for current students," Daniel says. "Those opportunities are constantly increasing." Daniel achieved the professional CAS designations of associate in 1999 and fellow in 2004. "I had been working for years in insurance sales roles and was looking for a career that would enable me to best use my analytical talents and also build professional relationships," Daniel says. Daniel has worked 20 years in the actuarial industry for several different types of insurance companies, with experience in deriving pricing recommendations, establishing loss reserve targets, and managing client relationships.

UCLA grad hired full-time through MTSU master's internship

Lucy Zhang, who earned her bachelor's degree from UCLA, chose the MTSU Actuarial Science program to pursue an M.S. degree. After she completed her internship at SIGMA Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc., the Brentwood company hired her full-time right after graduation from the master's program in August 2014. Zhang was working as an adjunct instructor teaching math learning support at Roane State Community College and decided to pursue a master's degree in Tennessee where her parents live. "After doing some research, I found out that MTSU was the only university in Tennessee to have a master's degree in actuarial science," she says. The mandatory internship attracted her to the program and gives students "a competitive edge," she says. Dr. Don Hong is active in helping students obtain internships and job opportunities. "I am very glad to have chosen this program over many others in the country," Zhang says.

News Briefs

Successful actuary alum helps program as advisor, mentor

MTSU alumnus John E. Daniel, FCAS, MAAA, is now a vice president and consulting actuary in the Willis Casualty Actuarial Practice in Nashville. He also mentors people new to the actuarial profession and serves as an advisory board member for the M.S. in Professional Science program and as the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) college liaison with the MTSU Actuarial Science program. "Every time a graduate of the program achieves success in the actuarial field, the reputation of the program is enhanced and new opportunities are created for current students," Daniel says. "Those opportunities are constantly increasing." Daniel achieved the professional CAS designations of associate in 1999 and fellow in 2004. "I had been working for years in insurance sales roles and was looking for a career that would enable me to best use my analytical talents and also build professional relationships," Daniel says. Daniel has worked 20 years in the actuarial industry for several different types of insurance companies, with experience in deriving pricing recommendations, establishing loss reserve targets, and managing client relationships.

UCLA grad hired full-time through MTSU master's internship

Lucy Zhang, who earned her bachelor's degree from UCLA, chose the MTSU Actuarial Science program to pursue an M.S. degree. After she completed her internship at SIGMA Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc., the Brentwood company hired her full-time right after graduation from the master's program in August 2014. Zhang was working as an adjunct instructor teaching math learning support at Roane State Community College and decided to pursue a master's degree in Tennessee where her parents live. "After doing some research, I found out that MTSU was the only university in Tennessee to have a master's degree in actuarial science," she says. The mandatory internship attracted her to the program and gives students "a competitive edge," she says. Dr. Don Hong is active in helping students obtain internships and job opportunities. "I am very glad to have chosen this program over many others in the country," Zhang says.

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CAREERS

An actuary can assess and manage the risks of financial investments, insurance policies, and other potentially risky ventures. Actuaries use data to help predict future outcomes with good analytical skills. They help organizations evaluate risk, and plan and protect from financial loss. It's a crucial role in the psychological, physical, and financial stability of society. From impacting social policies to tracking climate change, to helping businesses grow, actuaries play a major role in everyone’s peace of mind. 

With a median salary of more than $100,000, the profession has a strong employment outlook and projected job growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

A master's degree from MTSU in Professional Science with a concentration in Actuarial Sciences can lead to opportunities for becoming an actuary, a career that is well paying and in high demand. Graduates are well positioned to fill the growing need for individuals with this highly specialized training in the financial services and consulting industries in addition to the traditional insurance and health care industries.Examples of potential positions include

  • Actuarial analyst
  • Actuarial auditing
  • Annuity pricing actuary
  • Chief actuary and vice president
  • Consulting actuary
  • Data analyst
  • Financial actuary
  • General liability actuary
  • Health actuary
  • Investment researcher
  • Investment valuation
  • Life reinsurance pricing
  • Life valuation
  • Model validation financial actuary
  • Mortality valuation
  • Product actuary
  • Risk and hedging
  • Risk management
  • Specialty pricing actuary
  • Underwriting

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Acuff & Associates
  • Aetna
  • Alfa Insurance
  • American General Life and Accident Insurance Co.
  • Bank of China
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
  • BPS&M — Wells Fargo Commercial, Brentwood
  • Caterpillar Finance
  • China Actuarial Society
  • China PingAn Insurance
  • Cigna
  • Consumers Insurance
  • Direct General Group of Companies
  • Farm Bureau Insurance
  • Farmers Insurance
  • First Acceptance Insurance
  • Genworth Financial
  • Humana Inc., Kentucky
  • Humana Inc., Texas
  • Lincoln Financial Group
  • Nationwide Insurance
  • Select Actuarial Services
  • Sigma Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc.
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Tower and Watson, Memphis
  • Tower and Watson, Atlanta
  • Travelers Insurance
  • Willis North America Inc.
  • Zurich Insurance

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