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Actuarial Science

A degree in actuarial science prepares you for a challenging and respected career.

Actuaries are sought-after professionals, and the career ranks high for job satisfaction and starting salary. Actuaries use math to help make important strategic decisions for organizations, such as how much a company should charge a person for car insurance or what utility rates should be in a given month. Actuaries estimate risk. While working as an actuary, you’ll have the opportunity to solve problems and make important contributions in both the public and private sectors. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal listed the occupation as the second best job in the United States. CNN Money named actuarial science one of the top 15 most lucrative college degrees.

Drake University has one of the best actuarial science programs in the nation and is one of the few private university actuarial science programs in the Midwest with a full set of actuarial science courses taught by actuaries. Drake is one of 15 universities in the United States to be recognized as a Center for Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries. This means you will learn from some of the highest caliber faculty and receive an outstanding education.

As part of the College of Business and Public Administration, Drake’s actuarial science program combines traditional math and statistics courses with a solid foundation in business. This provides you with a professional advantage and will set you apart from graduates of many other actuarial science programs. It also gives you the opportunity to complete a joint degree in finance or accounting.

To be an actuary you must pass a series of exams. The more you pass during college, the better your career prospects will be after graduation. Drake’s program prepares you to take the first five exams. Most students are prepared to take the first exam by the middle of their second year.

The Adams-Bowers Actuarial Center, housed in the business school, has significant resources to assist you while you study. In addition to preparation books, DVDs and study guides, the center hosts review classes led by other Drake students.

Careers and Internships

Students in the College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA) are encouraged to hold internships and participate in networking events throughout their college career. Drake offers many tools to students to help them find — and obtain — internships and jobs, including a dedicated career counselor within CBPA that can help with resumes building and interviewing skills. Each fall, the College of Business and Public Administration hosts an actuarial science career fair that brings more than 30 companies to campus to conduct interviews for internships and full-time jobs. With access to so many opportunities, nearly all of our actuarial science majors — approximately 77 percent — complete at least one internship before graduation.

Des Moines’ location is a huge advantage for Drake’s actuarial science students. Des Moines is a major hub for insurance companies, and many of these companies hire actuarial interns and professionals. Because of Drake’s elite status, corporations from across the nation recruit Drake students and recent graduates for internships and jobs.

Drake students have held internships at places such as:

Student Organizations

You can participate in two student organizations: the Drake Actuarial Student Society and Gamma Iota Sigma. Students in the organization hear from professional speakers, go on local field trips, participate in community service activities and coordinate social activities. All students of the College of Business and Public Administration may join one of the two professional fraternities: Delta Sigma Pi and Alpha Kappa Psi.

Course Requirements

Students in the actuarial science program will complete the core business curriculum, which includes a combination of accounting, economics, math, statistics, management and other business courses. Students will also complete a series of actuarial science courses. Students begin with calculus I–calculus III, which provide the mathematical basis for actuarial work. This is followed with four semesters of probability and statistics. These courses provide general modeling skills. At the same time, courses in finance and interest theory provide the needed background in investments. These skills are combined in the two-semester actuarial mathematics sequence where specific actuarial problems are addressed.


Drake has seven faculty members in the actuarial program.  Four of these faculty members are dedicated full-time to the actuarial department, with the other three allocating time between the actuarial department and other disciplines.  Of the seven faculty members, six are PhD’s; one is an F.S.A.; one is an F.C.A.S.; two are A.S.A.’s, and one is working on obtaining an A.S.A. Among the accomplishments of the current faculty members are the Teacher of the Year award, numerous research publications, work experience in the insurance industry, service on actuarial exam committees, and receipt of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation.


Drake is one of 16 universities in the United States to be recognized as a Center for Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries.


Admission Calendar and Events

Tour Drake...

Monday-Friday - Individual Visits

Oct. 9- Campus Preview Day

Oct. 19 - Campus Preview Half-Day

Oct.20- Campus Preview Half-Day

 ...Drake on Tour


Sept. 24 -Pharmacy Tour: Chicago

Oct. 15 - Drake on the Road: Chicago


Oct. 15 - Drake on the Road: Kansas City


Oct.15 - Drake on the Road: Twin Cities


Oct.29 -Drake on the Road: Saint Louis