Early- to mid-career professionals can forge new paths to success through Bryant University’s new online, asynchronous Master of Science in Actuarial Science (MSAS) degree. The need for such a program has never been greater, says Rick Gorvett, Professor and Chair of the Mathematics Department and Director of the MSAS.
“There are just not enough strong actuaries,” Gorvett says, noting a recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics projection that anticipates a 21 percent growth in actuarial positions over the next decade. “The world has become a much riskier place than ever before, and so it is essential to have people who can identify, quantify, and manage risks.”
Traditionally rooted in insurance, actuarial skills have been adopted by health care, technology, financial services, and other industries as the data-driven economy grows.
“Everyone is faced with risk,” Gorvett says. “The economy falls apart without a superstructure of risk management and insurance.”
Bryant’s MSAS, pending NECHE approval in March, sets students on the pathway to professional actuarial designations, a rigorous process, says Terri Hasseler, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The MSAS will help prepare future actuaries for multiple exams and their careers.
“This program provides students with a pathway and some guardrails to progress toward actuarial certification, which is harder to do when you’re studying on your own,” Hasseler says. The program is 100 percent online and asynchronous, with five convenient start terms — the first such program in the nation — and is price competitively at $975 per credit, or $2,925 per three-credit course. Courses are offered in 10-week formats and students can enroll part or full-time, earning a degree in as little as one year. “You also have expertise you can call on, because you’ll be working with faculty who are actuaries.” Currently, Bryant has four designated actuaries on its faculty.
“As we’re looking at systems thinking, risk is a fundamental factor of understanding our complex world and managing that complexity.”
Prospective students may have undergraduate degrees in actuarial science; others may be considering a second area of study or a career change. International students are also encouraged to apply, Gorvett says, since the online, asynchronous format provides a convenient opportunity to pursue such a degree. The curriculum is foundational, covering elements including mathematics, statistics, probability theory, economics, data science, and risk communication — the latter of which aligns with actuarial society standards and is a differentiator among other in-person master’s-level programs.
“As we’re looking at systems thinking, risk is a fundamental factor of understanding our complex world and managing that complexity,” says Hasseler, adding that a potential growth area for the new program, which is accepting applications now, includes an interdisciplinary collaboration with Bryant’s School of Health and Behavioral Sciences to train future health actuaries. “There’s a lot of actuarial work to be done out there!”