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University Earned Credit for Aspiring Actuaries

By Risk & Insurance Department

November 20, 2023

The Risk & Insurance Department is participating in a new program sponsored by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The University Earned Credit (UEC) program allows UW-Madison’s students to earn credit for certain SOA exams if their relevant UW-Madison course score is above 85%. The UEC program began with the Fall 2022 semester and is popular with students.

UW-Madison CourseSOA UEC
Act Sci 303Exam FM
Act Sci 650 & Act Sci 652Exam FAM
Act Sci 651Exam ALTAM
Act Sci 653Exam ASTAM

The table to the right shows the courses that are currently involved in the UEC program along with the SOA exam for which a student can earn credit. We are in the process of adding SOA Exam SRM to the mix in 2024. Once added, our students will have the opportunity to earn the maximum amount of UEC that the SOA program offers, which puts our program in the highest tier of UEC offerings along with only a few other universities globally.

Only universities designated as Centers of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) can apply to participate in the program. Currently, 13 of the 20 CAE universities in the U.S. offer UEC courses. We expect the number of participating institutions to grow because UEC is very attractive to students. While students who earn above 85% in a UEC course still need to pay the exam fee to get credit for the related exam, the student does not need to take the SOA exam in a testing center. Our students find that possibility to be very attractive!

Participating in the program requires the Risk & Insurance Department staff to coordinate syllabi and exams closely with the SOA. We need to provide information to the SOA that shows how we meet the SOA’s educational objectives for the exams involved. This is not very different from the course information we provide to the SOA to maintain our Center of Actuarial Excellence designation. The big difference that the UEC program has introduced for the department, however, involves exam development. We need to file our exams 4-6 weeks ahead of the exam date so that the SOA can review the exam for content, and then communicate with our external accreditation actuary to ensure sufficient difficulty and consistency across programs. As Daniel Bauer, Chair of the Risk and Insurance Department, said: “Participating in the UEC program requires a substantial amount of additional work for our teaching staff, but it provides a huge benefit to our students, and they really appreciate it. My colleagues have taken on these additional tasks in stride! I am impressed by, and very grateful for, their positive reaction. UEC has been a good experience so far!”

In addition to the technical topics covered in UEC-related courses, participating CAE universities must offer opportunities for students to develop broad business skills. The SOA and the Risk & Insurance Department are aligned in wanting to help students develop communication skills and general business analysis skills. We are well positioned to meet this challenge through our student clubs, employer presentations, Co-Curricular Learning Board events, and our actuarial classwork beyond the UEC classes.

We are excited about the number of students who have already earned UEC via our classes and the greater number of students who will do so in the future!