The Charger Blog

University’s New Actuarial Science Program Looks to Position Students for Exciting, Well-Paid Positions

Beginning this fall, the University of New Haven will offer a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, a degree combining mathematics, business, statistics, and finance. Actuaries are especially sought after among insurance companies, and the University’s proximity to the “insurance capital of the world” will offer students a variety of internship and employment opportunities.

April 16, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of a student using their calculator.
The University’s new degree program in actuarial science will be starting in the Fall 2021 semester.

Daniel Cicala, Ph.D., has previously worked as an actuary, and he is now looking forward to sharing his passion for the field with students. That’s why he’s developed a new bachelor’s degree program in actuarial science at the University of New Haven.

Combining mathematics, business, finance, and statistics, the degree program will be starting in the Fall 2021 semester. Students will take courses such as calculus, economics, math modeling, and business and entrepreneurship. Dr. Cicala also designed some new courses, including “Financial Mathematics.”

“This program is for students who enjoy math and want to apply it to a business or finance context,” he said. “It's great for students who consider themselves to be lifelong learners, who are up for a challenge, and who want a career with room for growth that rewards hard work. Actuaries have stable jobs and are well compensated.”

‘If I had a time machine…’

Actuaries are professionals who measure and manage risk for businesses and enable them to make sound and strategic decisions. Highly in-demand, actuaries have extraordinary earning potential. The program will feature small classes – fewer than 15 students after they take calculus – and will offer students the opportunity to complete an internship.

In addition to working as actuaries, graduates will be prepared to enter a variety of fields in business. They will be prepared to work as data engineers, financial analysts, insurance analysts, or a quantitative analyst – known as a “quant” – a computer scientist/mathematician who builds mathematical models of financial instruments. The program also positions graduates to continue their education by pursuing a master’s degree in quantitative finance, mathematical/computational finance, operations research, or financial engineering.

Houssein El Turkey, Ph.D., an associate professor and coordinator of the University’s mathematics program, is looking forward to welcoming students and to supporting them as a professor, mentor, and academic adviser.

“Our actuarial science majors will get individualized attention from our faculty,” he said. “We establish a close-knit relationship with our students so they get easy access to continuous support, advising, and career advice. If I had a time machine, I personally would enroll in our actuarial science program.”

Daniel Cicala, Ph.D.
Daniel Cicala, Ph.D., has developed a new bachelor’s degree program in actuarial science.
‘Hartford is the insurance capital of the world’

The Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society require members to pass a series of nine exams over a span of ten years, and professionals can begin working in an entry-level actuarial position after passing one to three exams. The University will offer exam prep seminars to prepare students for the professional exams. Faculty members approach exam preparation as a team endeavor.

“One of the key features of our program that sets us apart from the few actuarial programs in the state is the actuarial exam preparation for students starting in their junior year,” said Yasanthi Kottegoda, Ph.D., an associate professor. “We will train our students through a series of seminars to take the first two actuarial exams, which are required at the early stages of a career as an actuary. This provides an opportunity for them to complete the eligibility requirement while in college.”

In addition to the government, insurance companies are the largest employers of actuaries. The University’s close proximity to Hartford, the home of a host of insurance companies such as Aetna, The Hartford, and Travelers, means students will have a variety of internship and employment opportunities nearby.

“Hartford is the insurance capital of the world,” said Dr. Cicala. “There are also many insurance companies in New York and New Jersey. Therefore, students do not need to travel far for opportunities in this exciting field.”