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The Actuarial Science program at the Wisconsin School of Business is one of a select few programs in North America designated as a Center of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries. The Capstone Certificate in Actuarial Science at the Wisconsin School of Business is a tailored program that strategically prepares students for their career as an actuary. The Capstone is not a degree program. It is a high-quality certificate program designed to quickly and effectively prepare students to successfully pass the professional credentialing exams required by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries (SOA). A key strength of our Capstone program is its flexibility and relatively short time to completion. Students can choose either a full-time or part-time learning track. When taking classes full-time, students can expect to complete the program and have their certificate in 9 months. Students enrolled part-time must take a minimum of one class each semester and can take up to three years to complete the program with exceptions being made for special cases.

Students will receive a transcript from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will gain access to key resources offered to School of Business students. Students accepted into the Capstone Certificate program have a strong mathematics background and are interested in applying that strength to the actuarial science profession. Capstone students will take classes in Actuarial Mathematics, Predictive Modeling, Loss Models and have the option to take other classes with consent from faculty.

Through connections with industry leaders, the Actuarial Science program offers opportunities for students to learn from actuaries and other professionals currently working in risk management and insurance. Learning opportunities include presentations by industry experts, networking events, and simulations. Graduates from UW-Madison’s Actuarial Science program are highly recruited by prospective employers. Students also have many resources to help connect them with these prospective employers and begin their career as an actuary.

The demand for hiring actuaries is consistently strong and resilient to economic factors. For information about the actuarial profession, see our What is an Actuary webpage.

If you have questions that are not answered by these sources, please email Jodi Wortsman, Risk and Insurance Outreach Coordinator.


Applications are accepted for both Fall and Spring semesters. Admitted students will have the opportunity to take pre-requisite math courses in their semester before starting the program. All application materials must be received by the dates below.

Deadlines for Capstone Admission
Enrollment Period Fall Semester Spring Semester
Domestic Applicant June 1 November 1
International Applicant May 1 October 1
Priority Deadline* April 15 September 15

*Special consideration will be given to these applicants

Application Requirements

A complete application includes the following information:

  • An online application, accessible from this link
  • 3 Letters of Reference
  • Transcripts from all universities attended
  • Statement of purpose describing the applicants interest and goals in actuarial science and how a certificate in actuarial science will help him/her reach those goals
  • Resume or CV
  • TOEFL scores, if applicable

Mail all application materials to:

Wisconsin School of Business
Attn: Jodi Wortsman
975 University Ave, Room 5252A
Madison, WI 53706

How does a Capstone Certificate differ from a Master's degree?

The Capstone Certificate program from the Wisconsin School of Business is a flexible, tailored program that allows students to quickly and strategically prepare themselves for an actuarial career. At completion of the program, Capstone students will not receive a degree, but they will receive an official certificate and transcripts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While on campus students can take full advantage of all School of Business student offerings, including access to the Business Career Center, invitations to events with potential employers, and more.

The biggest distinction between a Capstone Certificate and a Master's program is that Capstone students are post-baccalaureate Special (non-degree seeking) students. Capstone students have not been admitted to the Graduate School and their studies will not lead to a graduate degree. Therefore, students may not be simultaneously enrolled in both a graduate and a capstone program.

Am I a good candidate for the Capstone Certificate program?

A good candidate for the Capstone program will have a high mathematical aptitude and a desire to use their mathematical skills in the risk management and insurance industry. All applicants will have completed an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than actuarial science. The program is designed to compliment a bachelor's degree. Ideal candidates are those who (a) have recently graduated with a mathematical degree and would like to specialize in actuarial science and (b) those who are interested in making a career change to the actuarial science profession. This two-semester program prepares students to launch their actuarial career.

Is there financial support available to students in the Capstone Certificate program in Actuarial Science?

While there are no scholarships specifically available to Capstone Certificate students, students will be eligible to apply for departmental scholarships.

A major financial consideration for many actuarial science students is the cost of registering for the professional credentialing exams required by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The Wisconsin School of Business Actuarial Science Club will reimburse students for the cost of exams they successfully pass while enrolled in the Capstone Certificate Program. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must be members of the Actuarial Club and attend Club events. The required exams can cost up to $300 per exam. This reimbursement allows us to offset the costs for our students.

Can I apply to your program if I have a three-year bachelor's degree?

Yes, a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education is required for admission to the Capstone program. A three-year or four-year bachelor's degree are both accepted for entry to the Capstone program.

Because this is not a degree program, can international students still receive a visa to study in Wisconsin for the Capstone Certificate program?

Yes, if you are enrolled as a full-time student you are eligible to apply for a visa to study in the United States.

What are tuition and fees for the program?

Tuition and fee information for the University of Wisconsin-Madison is available on the Registrar Website.

Please note: tuition and fees for the Actuarial Science Capstone Certificate program are charged at the graduate level and that you must select "graduate" and not "Capstone Certificate" from the "Student Career" dropdown.

Are domestic students in the Capstone Certificate program eligible for financial aid?

As non-degree students, capstone certificate students are not eligible for federal financial aid. They are, however, eligible to apply for private educational loans. For more information on student financial aid, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at finaid@finaid.wisc.edu or (608) 262-3060 to discuss your situation and to obtain necessary forms.

Can I take Capstone Certificate classes at a distance?

No, the Capstone certificate is not a distance program, but our courses do incorporate technology enhanced learning to strengthen and enrich the on-campus classroom experience.

If English is not my first language, what do I need to know about your program?

Mastery of and fluency in the English language are necessary for success in the Capstone program at the Wisconsin School of Business. Students from non-English-speaking countries must be able to communicate quickly and clearly in spoken and written English and be able to read it with ease.

All applicants whose first language is not English must submit an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score from a test administered within two years of the date of matriculation (more or less, September 1 of the academic year of entry). The Wisconsin School of Business will accept IELTS or Pearson Test of English as a substitute for TOEFL.

Individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree in a country where the official language is English are not required to submit TOEFL scores. Individuals who will complete such a degree by June prior to matriculation are also exempt. Check the box requesting a waiver of the TOEFL requirement on the on-line application only if you meet one of these two conditions. A master's degree alone from an English-speaking institution does not qualify for a waiver of the TOEFL. Individuals from countries where English is spoken, though not the primary official language, or who attended a bachelor's program where some but not all courses are provided in English must submit a valid TOEFL score. Being a citizen or permanent resident of the United States does not automatically exempt an applicant from the TOEFL requirement.

It is advised that applicants taking the internet-based TOEFL (iBT) have a minimum total score of 106. For a competitive application, it is recommended that component scores be at least the following:

Reading: 26, Listening: 26, Speaking: 27, and Writing: 27.

The recommended minimum for a competitive application using the paper-based TOEFL (PBT) is a total score of 620.

Students must complete 15 credits of coursework in order to complete the Capstone Certificate program. Two classes are required for all students. Students have some discretion over their remaining classes as described below. Additional courses may be taken with instructor consent. Students are not limited to the courses listed below, and may also elect to take courses that meet the SOA/CAS Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) requirements. See beanactuary.org for more detail about VEE requirements.

Required Classes:

  • Act Sci 650 Actuarial Mathematics I (3 credits) Advanced problems in the mathematical theory of life contingencies; force of mortality, laws of mortality; premiums and reserves for insurance and annuities based on a single life.
  • Act Sci 652 Loss Models I (3 credits) Definition and selection of probability distributions appropriate for insurance data that are heavily tailed and skewed.

Choose at least one of:

  • Act Sci 651 Actuarial Mathematics II (3 credits) Continuation of Act Sci 650. Joint life probabilities, annuities and insurances; multiple‐decrement theory; pension fund mathematics.
  • Act Sci 653 Loss Models II (3 credits) Continuation of Act Sci 652. Estimation of parameters of probability distributions appropriate for insurance data that are heavy tailed and skewed; assessment of credibility of data for ratemaking.

Choose from among the following:

  • Act Sci 303 Theory of Interest (3 credits) Application of calculus to compound interest; interest compounded discretely and continuously; force of interest function; annuities payable discretely and continuously; bonds and yield rates.
  • Act Sci 654 Regression and Time Series for Actuaries (Predictive Modeling) (3 credits) Linear regression and correlation; generalized linear regression models; introduction to time series; time series model building and forecasting with focus on data of interest to actuaries.
  • Act Sci 655 Health Analytics (3 credits) Introduction to the broad area of health, integrating how researchers from multiple perspectives have investigated various aspects of health, along with the hands‐on practice of learning and using statistical tools to analyze these topics.
  • Other, with consent of faculty.

Dan Anderson
Emeritus - Non-teaching
BA, MBA, Ph.D.

Edward Frees
BS, MS, Ph.D., FSA

Tyler Leverty
Associate Professor
BA, Ph.D.

Anita Mukherjee
Assistant Professor
BS, BA, MS, Ph.D.

Margie Rosenberg
BS, MS, Ph.D., FSA

Joan Schmit

Peng Shi
Assistant Professor
BS, MS, Ph.D., ASA

Justin Sydnor
Associate Professor
BA, Ph.D.

Yang Wang
Assistant Professor

The Capstone Certificate Program at the Wisconsin School of Business is a professional preparation program for students looking for their first actuarial job. One objective of the Capstone program is to teach the actuarial concepts that will prepare students to take and pass the preliminary actuarial exams jointly sponsored by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. The Capstone program also teaches students the practical application of these concepts and gives them a deep knowledge of the industry through connections in the field. At the completion of the program, students will be well prepared for their first job as an actuary.

The Capstone in Actuarial Science from the Wisconsin School of Business is not a degree program. Upon graduating from the program, students will receive a certificate from the Wisconsin School of Business.

Margie Rosenberg
BS, MS, Ph.D., FSA