The ten-course curriculum within the Fox Master of Science in Actuarial Science challenges and motivates high-performers. Each course has been designed to help students prepare for careers in today’s demanding—and rewarding—actuarial science industry.
To attain the MS/AcSci degree, students need to complete 10 courses (30 credits), including 7 required courses and 3 electives.
Required Courses (21 Credits)
Analyze simple, compound, and effective interest functions and use them in the calculation of present and future values of various investments. Discuss annuities, loan amortization, and bonds; and explore techniques for computing their values at various dates.
Gain an introduction to the discrete and continuous random variables measuring the future lifetime of a person. Among the topics covered are calculation of the mean, variance, and probability functions for these random variables; introduction of a present value random variable measuring the present value of a life insurance and annuity benefit; calculation of premiums for life insurance and annuities using interest rates; and calculation of reserves for insurance companies that examine future liabilities and inflow.
Learn how to use estimation and fitting of survival, frequency and severity, and compound distribution loss models; and understand credibility methods.
Develop the theoretical basis of certain actuarial models and apply those models to insurance and other financial risks. Topics covered in this course include Vasicek and Cox-Ingersoll-Ross bond price models, Black-Derman-Toy binomial model, Black-Scholes option-pricing model, exotic options, and Itô’s lemma in the one-dimensional case. In particular, you’ll discuss simulation of lognormal stock prices and variance reduction techniques and learn about and delta-hedging in risk management. This course will prepare students for SOA Exam MFE or CAS Exam 3F.
Gain an introduction to linear regression models and time series analysis, with a focus on applying these tools to actuarial business decisions in an insurance or consulting environment. Programming skills are vital to conduct statistical analyses— and highly valued by the insurance industry. In particular, you’ll learn two of the most common statistical languages used by actuaries, SAS and R, and then apply them to various real-world insurance and financial data sets throughout the course. No prior knowledge of these languages is required. Expect hands-on guest lectures by alumni of the Temple actuarial science program, who will present examples of their work with data analytics.
Analyze the major areas in other-than-retirement employee benefits. In particular, you’ll make considerations in benefit plan design; group insurance; group technique, state, and federal regulation; and health and miscellaneous types of benefits offered. Topics discussed include managed care plans, CDHPs, the ACA, ERISA, funding issues, tax implications, and healthcare cost containment.
Hear an overview of the property-liability insurance industry, including structure of
marketplace, regulatory framework, and relationship between the property-liability insurance industry and the firms that it protects. Learn about topics that affect the industry from an economic, legal, and public policy. Further applications include product liability, environmental impairment liability, and worker’s compensation issues.
Elective Courses (9 Credits) Offered Fall & Spring
This course presents the concepts of financial and managerial accounting with a “user” (investor or manager) orientation. The course has three parts. The first part provides the accounting cycle and the reporting process, with an emphasis on the valuation bases and structure of the financial statements. The second part focuses on the interpretation and analyses of the financial statements, including analyses of cash flows and cross-sectional and time-series trends in financial ratios. The role of managerial accounting choices in determining the nature of financial reporting and quality of earnings is also examined. The third part examines the role of accounting information for managerial planning and control. Costing for inventory and pricing, cost-volume-profit analyses, and budgeting issues are covered.
Building from Actuarial Modeling I, you’ll gain an introduction to the evaluation and calculation of reserves for various continuous and discrete policies. Understand multi-statemodels, with applications in multiple decrement theory and multiple lives. Re-examine the valuation of life insurance and annuities, allowing for interest rate and mortality adjustments. Discuss and calculate the profitability of insurance products.
Understand how firms develop marketing strategies to manage the creation of meaningful offers that are valued by consumers for the purpose of developing and maintaining customer relationships. Initially, you’ll address the evolution of market systems at the macroeconomic level and the role that marketing plays in bridging the gap between the production and consumption sectors of the economy. Subsequently, you’ll explore how firms develop strategies to create customer value through product management, pricing, marketing channels, supply chain management, customer relationship management, and communications directed to buyers. You’ll also develop an understanding of how buyers acquire, consume, and dispose of these goods and services.
Identify opportunities for gain and exposures due to unexpected loss; assess the potential consequences; and plan to finance the consequences of an adverse event. Gain an introduction to the risk management process in the context of general corporate management. Each step in the process will be reviewed in detail, including setting the risk management context, identification of risk, measurement and analysis of potential impact, and appropriate treatment techniques. Discuss risk financing options in the context of global insurance and alternative capital markets. While the risk management process encompasses all types of risks, you’ll focus your discussion on the class of risks known as “pure risk” events—those that pose the threat of a loss if they happen, but no possibility of a gain.
Choose from readings and/or a research paper, under the supervision of a faculty member to complete your independent study requirement.
Elective Courses (9 Credits) Offered Fall Only
Review graduate-level microeconomic theory without needing a background in economics. You’ll gain a detailed analysis of the behavior of households and firms in a variety of market
Learn the advanced econometric techniques necessary to conduct original empirical research using micro-level data. Focus on techniques appropriate for the analysis of cross-section and panel data. Learn the theoretical underpinnings of such topics as instrumental variables, selection bias, regression discontinuity, and quantile regression. In particular, you’ll pay close attention to how to apply these techniques to economic data.
Explore communication techniques that allow you to select appropriate information and craft a clear and effective narrative. Begin with the fundamental questions of communication: who is the audience? What is the information? What is the goal? As organizations collect an unprecedented volume of data and analysts produce information from data using analytics and models, you’ll learn effective communication skills to properly disseminate information.
Produce good visual displays by combining art and science and compromising between function and form. Learn how humans process and encode visual and textual information in relation to selecting an appropriate visual display. In particular, you’ll cover topics including: exploratory data analyses, charts, tables, graphics, static and dynamic displays, effective presentations, multimedia content, animation, and dashboard design. Examples and cases will be used from a variety of industries.
Change the way you think about data by exploring how statistical learning and data mining techniques can be used to improve decision-making and probability. Learn how numerous firms have demonstrated the importance of reliably extracting managerially relevant information.
Understand how data can be a potent and enduring source of competitive advantage, a realization that transforms data into an asset and pushes organizations to “mine” (or
extract) these insights faster, with greater reliability to maximize the probability of
implementation. Gain an overview of the fundamental principles and techniques of data mining, and use real-world examples, cases, and hands-on techniques to demonstrate data-mining techniques and develop your analytic thinking and your model-building
Elective Courses (9 Credits) Offered Spring Only
Review graduate-level macroeconomic theory without needing a background in economics. Survey theories and evidence bearing on growth and cycles in output, employment, interest rates, and prices. Learn sector details and the scope for control of cycles.
Build from your foundation of business analytics to extend your understanding of the art and science of extracting information from data into increasingly complex real-world data and enhance your value to decision makers. In this course, you’ll learn about extensions to regression, logistic regression, hierarchical modeling, model selection, and other topics spanning the process of building and evaluating models. Draw intuition and insight from models and effectively communicate that insight into a format that can help decision-makers make better decisions.
Learn the following topics: multivariate normal distribution; marginal and conditional
distributions; estimation of population mean vector and dispersion matrix; correlation,
partial correlation, and multiple correlation coefficients; Hotelling’s T2; MANOVA;
discriminant function; repeated measurements analysis; principal components and canonical correlation; factor analysis; and multidimensional scaling.
Elective Courses (9 Credits) Offered Irregularly
(Fall ’18, Spring ’20): Develop the conceptual framework of microeconomics and macroeconomics with some applications in actuarial science, and earn the VEE credit for Economics as required by the Society of Actuaries. Topics in microeconomics covered within this course include: interaction between supply and demand, consumer behavior, production choices, different types of competition, factor markets, and market failure. This course will also explore topics in macroeconomics such as: business cycles, inflation, unemployment, monetary and fiscal policy, balance of
payments, international economics, and economic growth.
(Fall ’18, Spring ’19, Fall ’19, Spring ’20): Gain an introduction to fundamental principles of accounting, corporate finance, and financial derivatives from an actuarial perspective. Earn the VEE credit for accounting and finance as required by the actuarial societies. In this course, you’ll cover the corporate finance material of actuarial Exam IFM. Explore topics including: basic accounting principles and regulations, financial statements, investment decision-making, the risk-return tradeoff, capital structure, long-term financing, investment risk, and an introduction to both financial and real options.
Complete this first course in stochastic processes, with an emphasis on continuous-time models that support applications in financial mathematics and derivative evaluation. Review topics including: fundamentals of probability, limit theorems, conditional expectation, change of measures, Markov chains, random walks, martingales, Brownian motion, the Ito integral, stochastic differential equations, and the Black-Scholes model and its use in evaluating a variety of financial derivatives.
(Offered every other Spring semester on odd years.)
(Offered every other Spring semester on even years.)Complete this thorough course in nonparametric statistics and learn about topics such as estimation and testing of hypotheses when the function form of the population distribution function is not completely specified.
If a student has passed an actuarial exam prior to taking the corresponding course, the course must be waived and replaced by another elective. This includes:
- Exam FM: waive AS 5101 (Theory of Interest)
- Exam IFM: waive AS 5107 (Advanced Theory of Interest)
- Exam LTAM: waive AS 5102 (Actuarial Modeling I)
- Exam SRM: waive AS 5108 (Actuarial Analytics)
- Exam STAM: waive AS 5104 (Actuarial Modeling III
All electives listed above have been approved by the respective department. In additions, students may be able to take others courses as electives on a case-by-case basis, provided that the courses have sufficient academic rigor and are beneficial to the student’s career.
To discuss the electives and other curriculum-related questions, students should consult with their academic advisor.