With our large and successful undergraduate programs in Actuarial Science and Risk Management and Insurance, one of our department’s programs is rarely in the limelight: our Capstone Certificate Program in Actuarial Science. Since 2011, this program has offered a flexible option for post-graduates who seek to transition into actuarial employment. And while enrollment over the years has ebbed and flowed, one key aspect remains constant: the students’ success in embarking on successful careers as actuaries.
The program’s strength: flexibility
Completing the program requires fifteen credits (five typical courses) in actuarial science. Students can elect to take additional actuarial classes or coursework to satisfy “Validation by Educational Experience” requirements to become a certified actuary, or simply because they are interested in the topics and material.
This flexibility reflects in the diverse set of enrollees. Some of the students join the program directly after their undergraduate studies for a “fifth” year. Others come to the program after years in a completely different career. The flexibility in the program also allows students to take courses at a pace that accommodates various family situations.
Small and large: the Wisconsin advantage
The program is relatively small, with a current enrollment of eleven students. The intimate size offers capstone students direct access to the program’s director and other resources. Simultaneously, being housed in a Society of Actuaries’ Center of Actuarial Excellence with a large and dynamic actuarial undergraduate program provides capstone students the amenities of a thriving actuarial community. In particular, capstone students can take advantage of our strong relationship with actuarial employers and frequent events hosted by our Actuarial Club, as well as student services within the business school.
An impressive track record
We are particularly pleased that our students find actuarial positions in insurance companies, actuarial consulting companies, investment firms, etc. And, in fact, it is not uncommon for students to leave before completing all the coursework as the result of finding a full-time position. Therefore, some of our biggest success stories did not even require students to complete the certificate program, although many of them remain closely connected to the program and the department. As actuaries, they will all attest to the great return-on-investment offered by our Capstone Certificate Program in Actuarial Science.