- Joseph B. Lang
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Actuarial Science
- Elias S. Shiu
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Statistics
- Ralph P. Russo
Undergraduate Programs of Study
- How to apply to the University of Iowa for an Undergraduate Degree
- 2016-17 General Catalog
- 2017-18 General Catalog (coming soon)
- Actuarial Science (Bachelor of Science)
- Data Science (Bachelor of Science)
- Statistics (Bachelor of Science)
- Minor in Statistics
Undergraduate majors: actuarial science (B.S.); statistics (B.S.)
Undergraduate minor: statistics
Graduate degrees: M.S. in actuarial science; M.S. in statistics; Ph.D. in statistics
The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science offers undergraduate majors, an undergraduate minor, and graduate degree programs. They partner with other departments to offer the undergraduate Certificate in Large Data Analysis and the Certificate in Social Science Analytics (see below). The department offers courses that undergraduate students in all majors may use to satisfy the GE CLAS CoreQuantitative or Formal Reasoning requirement.
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, 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.
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.
Related Major and Certificates
Major: Data Science
The B.S. in data science produces graduates with the sophisticated analytical and computational skills required to thrive in a field where new problems are encountered at an ever-increasing rate. A highly technical program, the major emphasizes the statistical/probabilistic and algorithmic (e.g., machine and statistical learning) methods that underlie the analysis process, developing data preparation skills (which generally involve writing software to obtain, extract, merge, clean, and/or transform the raw data), and the creation and implementation of new or special-purpose analysis tools.
Statistics majors may not earn a major in data science. The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science and the Department of Computer Science collaborate to offer the major in data science. The B.S. in data science is administered by the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science; see the B.S. in data sciencein the Catalog.
Certificate: Large Data Analysis
The Certificate in Large Data Analysis can be earned in addition to a B.S. degree in statistics. The certificate focuses on handling, processing, and extracting information from large data sets. As computers have become faster and smaller, more information can be gathered and used for a large range of applications, such as for weather forecasting, identifying people and trends utilizing Facebook or other social media, understanding the genome, and searching for disease causes and cures, as well as many other areas of study. The certificate is interdisciplinary, requiring courses from three areas of study—computer science, mathematics, and statistics. Computer science teaches students how to handle large amounts of data and how to implement the algorithms to process them, while statistics helps students to understand what can and cannot be legitimately inferred from the data. Mathematics focuses on algorithms and methods for connecting these important areas of data collection.
Certificate: Social Science Analytics
The growth of big data and informatics calls for a new set of skills for social science students and an increased understanding of the logic of data collection and analysis. The certificate focuses on the application side of data analysis and allows focus to be on the specific research methods and quantitative skills using data-driven methods effective for more understanding in an increasingly complicated social-political world. The certificate offers an opportunity for interdisciplinary training on how data can be used to address important questions in the social sciences. The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science collaborates with the Departments of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, Political Science, and Sociology to offer the undergraduate program in social science analytics; see the Certificate in Social Science Analytics in the Catalog.
If you are interested in learning more about any of our programs and would like to schedule a visit to meet with us please feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Or contact Admissions Department Visits