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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Master of Science in
Actuarial Science

Act Sci Professor talking to Student


As a student in one of only 20 actuarial science programs in the United States designated as a Center for Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), you will learn from distinguished faculty, benefit from a close-knit community and gain the knowledge necessary to pass the professional actuarial exams. You’ll also prepare for success in the fields of life insurance, pensions and property or casualty insurance.

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August or May Start
U.S. Students - Apply by July 1 or November 1
International Students - Apply by March 1 or September 1

Start Your Application

Review Admission Requirements
Review Admission Process

Admission Deadlines

For priority consideration, your application and all supporting documents must be submitted by the following dates. Applications may be accepted after these dates.

Fall start:

  • Students from U.S. or Puerto Rico - July 1
  • International students - March 1

Spring start:

  • Students from U.S. or Puerto Rico - November 1
  • International students - September 1

School Admission Requirements

  • Academic transcripts. Instructions for both domestic and international students can be found in the “Review Admission Process” tab above.
  • A professional résumé
  • Three letters of recommendation and a recommendation form for each
  • A statement of purpose discussing your interest in actuarial science
  • GMAT or GRE score (a minimum of 600 GMAT or GRE equivalent)
  • TOEFL score (only for international students; minimum of 550 paper, 80 iBT or 6.5 IELTS)
  • SOA Examinations (if applicable)

Please note: All application materials (except transcripts and finance resource certification) must be submitted electronically. Do not send paper recommendation forms or résumé.

GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test

  • You must register to take the GMAT or GRE and have the results forwarded to Nebraska (use institution code S40-HW-48). You must also submit your scores through the online graduate application. Although we accept GRE scores, the GMAT is preferred.
  • A minimum GMAT score of 600 or GRE equivalent is recommended.

TOEFL - Test of Spoken English

  • International students must include a TOEFL score (use institution code 6877).
  • You will need a minimum score of 550 written, 80 iBT or 6.5 IELTS.

SOA (Society of Actuaries) Examinations

If you have passed any of the Society of Actuaries exams, submit proof by uploading your SOA transcript.

Finance Resource Certification Form

Any applicant who is recommended for admission and expects to hold an F1 (student) or J1 (exchange visitor) visa should submit the Financial Resource Certification (FRC) form.

Note to International Students

We recommend starting your application process at least one year prior to the date you would like to be admitted. You must also be aware of the additional requirements that you need to meet in order to be admitted to the College of Business. The International Student and Scholar Office provides orientation, counseling and advising, and serves as the official liaison between your sponsoring agency and the United States government. Staff members are also available to help you make contacts on campus and in the Lincoln community.

Guidelines for International Students

Admissions Process


Apply online and submit the $50 application fee.

Apply Online Now

Upload Supporting Documents

All Supporting Documents including unofficial transcripts and test scores are uploaded directly via the graduate application.

You are required to submit an unofficial transcript from each post-secondary institution you have attended during the application review process.

Submit Official Transcripts

If you are admitted, you will be required to submit an official transcript sent directly from each institution you have attended to The Office of Graduate Studies. We recommend that you complete this task before your admitted term begins. A hold will be placed on your account if they do not receive your official transcripts by October 1 for the fall term, February 1 for the spring term and July 1 for the summer term. Students will have until that day to submit official transcripts or your admission will be rescinded.

Transcripts can be sent electronically to or by mail to

University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Graduate Admissions
1100 Seaton Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0619

International Student Transcript Submission

If you are an international student, please refer to the Nebraska Office of Graduate Studies for transcript and document information.

International Transcript Information

Additional information on Application Requirements can be found at Graduate Studies website.

About The Degree

The 30-credit-hour program is expected to take two years for students admitted with deficiencies and 21 months for those without. Although no thesis is required, you’ll complete a minor of your choice.

The non-thesis route (Option B) is required because you will find the additional coursework more valuable than a thesis, especially with regards to the Society of Actuaries exams.

Major Requirements

The degree requires at least 12 credit hours earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level courses without 400 or lower level counterparts). You’ll take the following courses along with at least six additional credit hours of actuarial science.

  • ACTS 840: Interest Theory
  • ACTS 870: Life Contingencies I
  • ACTS 871: Life Contingencies II
  • ACTS 873: Introduction to Risk Theory
  • FINA 812 or 813: Life and Health Insurance or Social Insurance

Minor Requirements

You’ll earn a minor consisting of at least 9 credit hours. You can choose from computer science, economics (non-insurance), finance, insurance and statistics. However, we recommend minoring in finance. The minor you choose is subject to the approval of the Actuarial Science Graduate Committee.

Comprehensive Examinations

You’ll be expected to pass a written comprehensive examination on actuarial science. The Actuarial Science Comprehensive Exam for students graduating in May or August is held on the first Tuesday of April and for students graduating in December on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

An oral examination may also be required.

Additionally, you may need to pass a written comprehensive examination on your minor area. Please check with the department of your minor.

You should consult with your academic advisor regarding the details of your individual program.

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Program Requirements

Open to students with a variety of degrees, admission is either conditional or full. Full standing requires a strong academic background and passing scores on two professional examinations.

Regardless of your standing, the following attributes can lead to academic, professional and personal success: personal integrity, intelligence, aptitude for mathematics, ability and willingness to work hard and an aptitude for business.

Provisional Standing

Although no coursework in actuarial science is required, a strong academic background includes at least three semesters of calculus, one semester of linear algebra, one semester of computer programming using a high level language, six hours in principles of economics, one semester of introductory mathematical probability and one semester of introductory mathematical statistics. If these are not met, you can still be admitted with provisional standing and take additional courses to cover academic deficiencies. For admittance with provisional standing, your overall application must demonstrate a reasonable preparation that would give you a very good chance of successfully completing the master’s degree within a reasonable time period.

Full Standing

To gain full graduate standing, you must satisfy the requirements for provisional standing and pass Exams P and FM of the Society of Actuaries.

Scheduling of Classes

Class scheduling depends on your background. Appropriate adjustments will be made for missing prerequisites. You should work required courses into your schedule based on your preferences and area of concentration.


You’ll need to earn a “B” or better in all 800 level courses and a “C” or better in all 900 level courses. However, if you receive a “C” or lower in your minor courses, you may need to pass a comprehensive exam in your minor area.

Memorandum of Courses

The Memorandum of Courses contains a proposed list of courses for your graduate program. It must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies before the end of your second semester.

The following courses cannot be included as a part of your memorandum of courses: ECON 815, 816, 819, 837 and 854; MATH 800, 813, 814, 820, 821 and 822; STAT 880, 881; and CSCE 840.

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Earn a Minor in Actuarial Science

You can minor in actuarial science if you are pursuing a graduate degree under Option B in another department. Option B is comprised of 30-credit-hours of coursework, a minor consisting of at least 9 credit hours and no thesis. A minor in Actuarial Science must include ACTS 840, 870, 871 and 873.

If you are interested, please contact the chair or advisor of your major area and the graduate advisor of the actuarial science program.

As a graduate student pursuing a degree in actuarial science, a minor in finance is your best option. Other minors to choose from include computer science, economics (non-insurance), insurance and statistics.

Course Catalog Connect with Graduate Advisor

Why Nebraska?

Home to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the city of Lincoln consistently ranks among the highest U.S. cities for livability thanks to a low cost of living, great schools and friendly, community-minded residents. Set amidst a big sky and open landscape, the city is simple to navigate with a nationally noted low crime rate, a wide range of housing choices and a reliable public transit system. As one of the fastest growing metro areas in the Midwest, Lincoln boasts a growing technology sector, more parkland per capita than all but a few U.S. cities, an extensive bike trail network and numerous options for recreational and personal interest activities. It’s easy to feel at home here.

College Points of Pride About Lincoln Local Events

Cost of Living Comparison (2018)
  Lincoln Ann Arbor Boston Austin College Station Raleigh Seattle United States
Overall 96 127 182 130 99 111 204 100
Grocery 92.9 90.7 105.7 88.7 87.5 93.4 100.4 100
Health 120 90 83 92 91 103 82 100
Housing 94 190 314 185 125 139 407 100
Utilities 92 99 117 99 96 99 69 100
Transportation 87 115 152 131 83 100 157 100
Miscellaneous 98 95 129 100 89 98 120 100


Ramsay, Colin
Edwin J. Faulkner College Professor of Actuarial Science
HLH 423 H
P.O. Box 880490
Lincoln, NE 68588-0490