Actuaries play an important role in today’s world. They are business executives, professionally trained in the mathematical sciences, who specialize in evaluating financial risk. Determining the level of risk allows actuaries to design, analyze, price, and refine insurance programs that meet society’s needs.

To learn more about what actuaries do, visit the Be An Actuary website.

Why Study at Iowa

Iowa has one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious actuarial science programs. Its internationally known faculty, its students’ high success rate on professional exams, and its graduates’ high job placement rate have earned the program a reputation as perhaps the best in the country.

Actuarial science class sizes are generally small to moderate, so you'll have ample opportunities to interact with instructors.

Course Work

Iowa’s program is rigorous and its students are academically strong. They receive thorough training in mathematics, probability, and statistics—one reason they enjoy such great success on professional exams. Most have a grade-point average (GPA) well above 3.00, especially in calculus and statistics.

Admission to the actuarial science program requires completing prerequisite courses in calculus, computer science, linear algebra, probability, statistics, economics, and financial mathematics. Courses relating to communication skills, such as writing and speaking, are also important.

See Actuarial Science in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the course work for the major and graduating with honors.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberat Arts and Sciences. 

Admission to the actuarial science program is selective due to the demanding nature of the professional exams required to become an actuary. Students are not typically admitted to the program until after completing 40 semester hours of course work, including multiple prerequisite courses.

Review Statistics and Actuarial Science in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the specific requirements for admission to the program.

Students who are admitted to Iowa with an interest in actuarial science are included in all departmental activities.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Actuarial science students are encouraged to explore areas related to the major. For example, you'll be able to take courses offered by the Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance and the Department of Finance in the Tippie College of Business.

Many actuarial science students earn a second major in mathematics or statistics, a minor in business administration, or a certificate in risk management and insurance.

Students also have the opportunity to learn during summer internships and at on-campus presentations. Many companies visit Iowa and hold receptions during fall semesters.

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

Faculty members of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science are known worldwide for their research and teaching. Most actuarial science faculty contribute regularly to their field's premier journals, and some serve as journal editors.


Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Most actuaries are employed by insurance companies or employee benefits consulting firms. They have responsibilities related to all phases of product development and maintenance for their companies.

Individual employers who need guidance in establishing employee insurance and retirement programs also hire actuarial science graduates. A growing number of actuaries work in asset/liability management, some in investment firms, and others in insurance companies.

Actuaries are in high demand and earn good salaries. Most Iowa graduates find work as actuaries, but some become financial managers and teachers. They take positions in locations all across the country, often in large metropolitan areas.


Consult multiple sources for scholarship information, including the Office of Admissions, the Office of Student Financial Aid, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and departmental websites.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Actuarial Science (BS)
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan
Selective Admission