About the Major
Penn State’s actuarial science major was founded in 1973 by Dr. Arnold Shapiro in the Department of Mathematics. By 1990, the degree had expanded to have an actuarial science major within the Insurance Department of the College of Business Administration (today, this is the Risk Department in the Smeal College of Business). The two majors had over 90 juniors and seniors between them!
Early on, a great deal of emphasis in the actuarial courses was placed on communication, stressing particularly the conceptualization of mathematical and statistical concepts. This excellence in teaching continued through the turn of the millennium, and Penn State was rewarded with the distinction of a “Center of Actuarial Excellence” in 2011, becoming just the 21st school to receive such a designation. The distinction officially recognizes actuarial science programs for their degree curriculum, graduate count and quality, faculty composition, appropriate integration of courses, connection to industry, and research and scholarship.
The Major Today
Today, there are three paths to major in actuarial science: Actuarial Mathematics, Actuarial Statistics, and Actuarial Science. Across the three majors, Penn State graduates over 200 aspiring actuaries every year! Provided through the Penn State are 1) the courses needed to satisfy the professional Verification by Educational Experience (VEE) requirements and 2) courses designed to help you pass five of the preliminary professional examinations in the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), which one needs to be an actuary.
About the Club
After the actuarial science major was established, it quickly grew. In the early 1990s, the large major had only one professor, and it needed help supporting its students. Who came to the aid of the students? The students themselves! Students organized the Actuarial Science Club as an active organization for the academic and social interaction for Penn State actuarial students. Working directly with the department, the club flourished and has continued helping actuarial students.
The Club Today
One of the most important responsibilities of the Actuarial Science Club today is the organization of the Actuarial Science Career Fair. The student-run fair brings together over 150 students and about 30 companies each year, spanning industries from insurance to consulting. As a result of a successful career fair, The Club is able to financially support its students, offering exam reimbursements and study materials. Additionally, the club hosts workshops, events, and speakers to supplement coursework and provide additional career-focused development. We strongly encourage all first-year students to become involved with the Club to ensure successful development of essential career skills.