UC Riverside’s School of Business is now offering a degree in actuarial science, providing a direct path for students seeking careers in finance and insurance.
Actuarial science is a discipline that involves assessing financial risks using mathematical and statistical methods. Most who study it go on to work in high-paying positions in finance and insurance.
The school began offering the major this academic year and will include it in admissions applications in fall 2023. Only two other University of California campuses, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, have an actuarial science program, and UCR is the only UC to offer it through its School of Business.
The new major adds to the number of undergraduate programs offered at the school and is expected to attract more students interested in the specialized and lucrative field.
Actuarial science dates to the 1800s but many colleges and universities don’t offer it, said Jennifer Osborne, director of undergraduate business programs for the School of Business.
The four-year program is a rigorous one that involves a heavy load of mathematics and statistics as well as business and finance courses. As a result, Osborne expects the program will not be a large one but will attract those with a strong background in those areas.
“This is a track that is really going to help students who know this is the field they want to be in,” she said.
The program has seven first-year students and three third-year students. The third-year students, in particular, were excited by the new degree as it allows them to concentrate on a field they were already interested in, Osborne said.
The school designed a curriculum that includes math, business, statistics, and finance – adding a new course called “Foundations of Insurance” – for the program. Students who complete the degree will receive preparation for the professional exams required for the field.
UCR’s program is already attracting attention from the business world, where actuarial science degree-holders are highly sought after, Osborne said. Aetna, Anthem, and CVS have inquired about the program and the possibility of future partnerships with the school, she said.
The median income for actuaries is $108,000 while demand for such positions is expected to grow 18% over the next decade, Osborne said.