Shape the future using data

At Iowa, choose between statistics, actuarial science, and data science—you can even double or triple major in your interests. Our programs offer a diverse range of courses and experiential learning, providing you with skills needed to launch your career in finance, health care, technology, or beyond.

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Learn about the department

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science offers three undergraduate majors, an undergraduate minor, and graduate degree programs. We partner with other departments to offer the BS in data science and the undergraduate certificate in social science analytics.  The department offers courses that undergraduate students in all majors may use to satisfy the GE CLAS Core Quantitative or Formal Reasoning requirement. 

$ 80,000

starting annual median salary for Actuarial Science Graduates

Why study statistics?

Probability and statistics are important scientific disciplines essential to all fields of study that rely on information obtained from data. In a world bombarded with numerical information, informed decisions rely on the ability to separate fact from fiction by applying valid statistical analyses and visualizations. 

Statisticians can provide crucial guidance in determining what information is reliable and which predictions may be trusted. They often help search for clues to the solution of a scientific mystery and sometimes keep investigators from being misled by false impressions. 

The work of a statistician may range from the theoretical (developing new methodologies and statistical theory) to the applied (working with scientists and decision makers to collect, analyze, and interpret data). Regardless of the areas in which they work, statisticians need strong mathematical, computational, and communication skills.  

Because uncertainty and data arise in many settings, statisticians have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects in industry, education, government, and research. Thousands of statisticians work in medicine, law, agriculture, business, finance, public policy, marketing, manufacturing, engineering, and other fields in the social and natural sciences. The diversity of applications is an exciting aspect of the field and is one reason why the demand for well-trained statisticians continues to be strong. 

Why study actuarial science?

An actuary is a business executive, professionally trained in the mathematical sciences. Actuaries specialize in the evaluation of financial risk—most often in the context of life, health, and casualty insurance, where they design, analyze, and refine varied programs to meet the insurance needs of society. Many actuaries are employed by insurance companies, where they have responsibilities for all phases of the development and maintenance of their company's products. They have considerable influence on the financial soundness of their company through work in pricing insurance policies and in compiling data for financial statements. 

Many actuaries are employed as consultants. Their actuarial services are used by smaller insurance companies and by individual employers who need actuarial guidance in establishing insurance and retirement programs for their employees. A growing number of actuaries work in the areas of asset/liability management and risk management. Some of these actuaries are employed by investment and consulting firms; others are employed by insurance companies.  Actuaries have been called financial architects and social mathematicians, because their combined analytical and business skills help solve a growing variety of financial and social problems. The actuarial profession is a demanding yet rewarding career choice. 

If you are interested in learning more about any of our programs and would like to schedule a visit, please feel free to contact us directly at or or


Elias Shiu

Elias S.W. Shiu

Collegiate Fellow
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Actuarial Science
Sanvesh Srivastava

Sanvesh Srivastava

Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Data Science and Statistics