The Actuarial Science Program at Purdue University
continues to flourish. The program has approximately
300 students and is shared by the Mathematics and the
Statistics departments. The program was recently ranked
first in the nation by College Choice. Additionally, College
Values Online ranked Purdue as the second-best value
in actuarial science programs.
The Purdue program is successful for a number of
reasons. First, the program provides a first-class undergraduate education. The
faculty and instructors for the courses have many years of experience teaching
actuarial courses at Purdue, as well as many years of experience working as
practicing actuaries. The students are exposed to a rare combination of theoretical
and practical applications of actuarial science. Purdue is one of only a few
programs in the U.S. that have three accredited actuaries teaching courses.
Additionally, to become an actuary, a person must pass a series of professional
exams. The Purdue program provides courses that cover the material for the
first five exams. Most of our students graduate having already passed two or
three exams and a few graduate having already passed four or five exams. The
Purdue program is unusual as students start to take courses in actuarial science
during their first year on campus. After completing their first year, the students
are ready to take the first professional exam that following summer. This gives
a student the opportunity to decide early in their academic career whether
actuarial science is the right area of study. Also, once a student has passed the
first exam, it becomes possible for them to apply for internships. Many students
participate in internships after both their second and third years at Purdue.
A third reason for the success is that Purdue provides the other coursework
that is necessary for an actuary while still in college. For example, actuarial
students are required to receive coursework covering economics and accounting.
Our program is able to take advantage of classes offered in the Krannert School
of Management to meet these requirements.
A final reason for the success is Purdue’s ability to produce highly qualified
graduates resulting in a strong relationship with potential employers, like
consulting firms and insurance companies. Our many years of producing quality
actuarial science graduates has built a loyalty among employers who want to
hire additional graduates due to the success of past graduates.
The Purdue Actuarial Club further enhances this relationship. This student-run organization coordinates all on-campus recruiting for employers of new
graduates. The employers find that the service and attention they get from the
officers of the Actuarial Club far exceeds the service that they get at other
universities. The club also helps students prepare for their job search by requiring
the students to complete an interview workshop and resume workshop. The
current students at Purdue find the club to be an invaluable asset just as the
— By Jeffrey Beckley, continuing lecturer and co-director of the Actuarial
S TAT I S T IC S