Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Actuarial Science

  1. Oct 24, 2007 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Im wondering, is actuarial science more math based, or more economic/business based. I know that a course in actuarial science is composed of both, but which is more prominent? Or does it really depend on where i do the course?

    The reason i ask is because im really considering doing actuarial science in an Australian university. The reason im considering it is because i really like maths. The economics side of things isnt necessarily a bad thing, but i would prefer alot more math.

    Thanks for the advice,
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2007 #2
    I believe it involves a lot of both...largely because you're using maths to model economic/business things. There are different types of actuaries that specialize in modeling different things. But the point of one is to make predictions that give businesses a decent idea of how things are going to work out economically in the future given past data, i.e. business/economy forecasting.
  4. Oct 24, 2007 #3
    You'll end up using the maths you learn rather often, but to be a good actuarial. I'm not sure if your country has this, but in the states, you have to pass 9 exams to become an actuarial, although you after you pass three exams companies will hire you as one.

    From my understanding, there are 2-3 exams that deal with maths, while the rest deal with law, economics, and insurance.
  5. Oct 24, 2007 #4
    You can get hired after passing a couple, I don't think it has to be three as long as you're working towards them? You get promoted according to how many you've passed. Not too clear on the details, admittedly I was at the presentation for the free pizza. ^_^
  6. Oct 24, 2007 #5
    It involved a very specific area of Mathematics and Probability. First 4 exams dont require mathematics beyond calculus, undergrad probability, and idea from economics. You have to pass 7 exams to be a associate and all 9 to be a fellow. Actuarial Science is to less about business more about analytical. To find a probabilistic model for the true underlying event, to characterise it, and try to minimise the expected cost. It is a different flavour of maths.
  7. Oct 24, 2007 #6
    This is kind off topic but I need to ask. What do you guys think of an undergrad becoming an actuary when outsourcing is starting to get popular. I have no interest in becoming one but I find myself discussing this with some fellow math students who are interested in the field and I just wonder if you can make a career out of this.
  8. Oct 24, 2007 #7
    Outsourcing is everywhere, it doesn't matter what major, businesses are pushing for a global economy. If your not good at what you do, be worried, if you are good, don't let outsourcing scare you.
  9. Oct 24, 2007 #8
    No, outsourcing can be a problem whether you are good at it or not. Companies want to save money and for some reason they sometimes think the best way they can do that is to hire people from other countries who will work for much less (I don't understand how it saves all that much money especially if you are going to outsource actuaries). It is very sad because it is possible to get a job at a place and then have the feeling that as soon as the figure out how to do it, your gone in favor for someone with less pay. Honestly though, it is a mistake from what I hear. The company my father works for outsource some engineering project to india and the work they got back wasn't worth anything. I'm all for a global economy; but it is also the right of people to say no to outsourcing if they do not want it. Anyway, if you are worried about outsourcing education, medicine, and law (to name a few) are impossible to outsource anytime in the forseable future.
  10. Oct 24, 2007 #9
    If your important to a company, then they won't want to outsource your job. If your 1 in a million then yes, you will get outsourced.
    You need something to make you different from the pack.

    Not saying that will save you but it will limit your chances of getting outsourcing. I hate the fact of outsourcing, who wouldn't? But its a fact that isn't going away but getting worse.

    The good news is, they will run out of countries to outsource and still save money.

    Once you outsource to a country sure you'll get some cheap product, probably low quality maybe not but then they slowly begin to raise their pay, they want more money for their work.
    For example,
    IBM was outsourcing to Australia for awhile, then they started asking for more, sooner or later it was almost as expensive to pay an Australian IBM worker the same as a US IBM worker...So what did they do? They outsourced the Australian jobs to Russia.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2007
  11. Oct 25, 2007 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Is that system specific to the US, or does it apply to Australia aswell?

    Ive been doing a bit of research on the internet, and most articles seem to be based on the US. Does anyone know what the future for actuarial science in West Australia is looking like? I also hear that actuaries generally have quite a nice salary; is that strongly dependent on where i work, or do all actuaries recieve a nice salary?

    Thanks for the input everyone by the way :smile:
  12. Oct 25, 2007 #11
    Hehe, yes absolutely. Its a real threat to ones carear now. Its one more reason to get an advanced degree in my opinion. I am not saying one should do that for actuarial science, but as long as there is a huge corporation giving you things to work on there is the chance they will decide to give it to someone else for less. Thats why working for a small company can often pay off more, you probably have to work harder but as long as you keep up, you will have a job.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook