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UCM’s Bachelor’s Degree in Actuarial Science Considered a “Best Value”

By Jeff Murphy, October 17, 2018

UCM Quad with Students

WARRENSBURG, MO – Ever wonder how insurance companies determine the probability of having to pay out life insurance claims on an individual policy holder or the likelihood of paying homeowner claims that could follow a natural disaster? It takes an actuary - someone who really understands mathematics and how to use statistics to help major companies assess risk, whether it’s in insurance, banking, finance and or within many other types of organizations.

Through its Actuarial Science and Statistics Program, the University of Central Missouri has been graduating students for decades who are qualified to meet the growing demand for these skilled professionals. Such dedication to this field most recently earned UCM recognition for having one of the Top 50 Best Value Bachelor of Actuarial Science Programs in 2018 by Value Colleges. UCM’s actuarial program was ranked 37th in the nation.

Value Colleges is an organization that conducts research related to colleges and universities nationally to help consumers answer questions related to value and affordability. Value Colleges produces an online website that includes various articles about different topics related to education and provides a ranking to aid students with making financially responsible choices.

UCM’s Actuarial Science and Statistics Program is housed within the School of Computer Science and Mathematics in the College of Health, Science and Technology.  Faculty members work closely with Society of Actuaries (SOA) to make sure the actuarial science curriculum at UCM is aligned with the society’s latest development of the actuarial exams and Validation by Educational Experiences (VEE) courses. All are committed to a classroom environment that is dedicated to student support and mentorship.

In describing UCM as a “Best Value” school, Value Colleges notes in its online web feature, “UCM has deep connections to the business sector of Kansas City, Missouri’s largest city and biggest job market, giving UCM actuarial science graduates a leg up and a best value actuarial degree.”

According to Phoebe McLaughlin, Ph.D., a professor of statistics and mathematics who serves as actuarial science and statistics program coordinator, UCM’s Actuarial Science and Statistics Program is recognized by the SOA as one of the Universities and Colleges Actuarial Programs-Advanced Curriculum (UCAP-AC) programs. It is the only program at a public institution in Missouri to earn this designation and offer the bachelor’s degree in actuarial science.

The curriculum prepares students for jobs in insurance, risk analysis/consulting, investment, banking, underwriting, and state and federal government. UCM’s actuarial science curriculum covers most of the topics in the syllabi of the preliminary exams offered by the SOA. Students take courses in probability and statistics, mathematics of finance, life contingencies, managing financial derivatives, SAS programming, and statistical aspects of experimental design.

Commanding jobs with high beginning salaries, actuaries and statisticians use mathematics to predict the future in insurance, business and the economy. Individuals entering this career field can expect flexibility, McLaughlin noted, because “our Actuarial Science and Statistics students gain a broad scope of knowledge not only in math and actuarial modeling, but also in finance, accounting and economics.”

Actuarial science and statistics careers are consistently ranked among the top jobs in the United States. They are among the highest paying positions for college graduates with mathematics-related degrees.

UCM’s actuarial science program also was recognized as 24th among 77 other programs which were listed by as best colleges for the degree.

Learn more about UCM’s actuarial science and statistics degree program by contacting Phoebe McLaughlin at or 660-543-8931.


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