Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

October 30, 2007

NIU students can now get math degree
with emphasis in actuarial science

DeKalb, Ill. — The Department of Mathematical Sciences/Division of Statistics at Northern Illinois University is now offering an emphasis in actuarial science for students who would like to pursue careers as actuaries, consistently rated among the top professional jobs in the nation.

Actuaries are business professionals who analyze the financial consequences of risk in fields ranging from finance to product development. Many work in the insurance industry on such tasks as analyzing insurance rates, estimating the amount of money to be set aside for future claims and forecasting the potential impact of catastrophes such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

In its annual compilations, Jobs Rated Almanac has frequently cited the job of actuary as being among the best in the nation, factoring in such criteria as income, physical demands, stress levels and employment outlook.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics, reports that employment of actuaries is expected to rise by 18 percent to 26 percent through 2014. In May 2004, the median annual earnings of professionals in the field was $76,340.

“We developed this program even as NIU President John Peters called for the university to be engaged and responsive to the needs of employers in our region,” said Professor Rama Lingham, director of the NIU Division of Statistics.

“There is an emerging need for more actuaries in northern Illinois. Within a radius of 100 miles of NIU, one can find numerous insurance companies. Students trained in actuarial science are in heavy demand,” Lingham said.

The NIU emphasis in actuarial science is multidisciplinary, combining courses in accountancy, economics, finance, mathematics, statistics and actuarial science.

“The program is rigorous and foundational,” Lingham said. “It is designed to prepare students for the first three examinations sponsored by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA). We’re confident our students will be well prepared for their careers.”

The NIU Board of Trustees approved the actuarial emphasis last spring, and already 15 students are enrolled in the actuarial science track.

For admission to this emphasis or more information about the exams of SOA/CAS and the actuarial profession, call (815) 753-6714 to schedule an appointment with Professor Lingham. More information is also online at

Students can also join the NIU Actuarial Club to meet other students who share interests and actuarial aspirations by e-mailing the president of the club at