GOAL: The program prepares students to pass the preliminary professional exams required by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and prepares students for a career as an actuary. See BeAnActuary.org for information about the actuarial profession.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: The program is a post-baccalaureate program designed for students with an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than actuarial science. Capstone students have a strong mathematics background and are interested in applying that strength to the actuarial science profession.

PREREQUISITES: Students must show a strong math background by performing well in a semester-long mathematical probability course.

CONCENTRATED CLASSWORK: A key strength of our Capstone program is its short time to completion. Full-time students can expect to complete the program in 2 semesters. See the Course Requirements tab for more information on classwork.

CAREER RESOURCES: Capstone students have access to all Wisconsin School of Business resources available to undergraduate students. Through connections with industry leaders, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Actuarial Science program offers opportunities for students to learn from practicing actuaries and other professionals. Learning opportunities include presentations by industry experts, Co-Curricular Learning Board events, and Actuarial Club events. Employers extensively recruit UW-Madison’s actuarial science graduates and the demand for actuaries is consistently strong and resilient to economic factors. Students have many resources, such as the Risk and Insurance Career Fair, to connect them with prospective employers so they can begin their actuarial career.

HOW TO APPLY: See the Apply tab for information on applications and admissions.

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Students must complete 15 credits of coursework from the courses listed below in order to complete the Capstone Certificate program. Students can elect to take courses that meet the SOA/CAS Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) requirements with approval from the Capstone Director. See beanactuary.org for more detail about VEE requirements.

Required Classes:

  • Act Sci 303 Theory of Interest* (3 credits) Application of calculus to compound interest; interest compounded discretely and continuously; force of interest functions; annuities payable discretely and continuously; bonds and yield rates.
  • 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.

*Students who have passed SOA/CAS exam FM/2 are not required to take Act Sci 303

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 at least one of:

  • 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.

What is the purpose of the Capstone Certificate Program in Actuarial Science?

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.

How does a Capstone Certificate in Actuarial Science differ from a Master’s degree?

The Actuarial Capstone Certificate program is not a graduate program. It is a separate certificate program for post-baccalaureate, non-degree seeking students. UW-Madison does not offer a Master’s degree in actuarial science at this time.

Am I a candidate for the Capstone Certificate program?

Candidates for the Capstone program will have:

  • A desire to work as an actuary or be involved in work related to actuarial science;
  • A high mathematical aptitude with a strong background in calculus, probability, and statistics;
  • Successful completion of a semester-long mathematical probability class or successful completion of Course P/1 exam for the SOA/CAS credentials; and
  • An undergraduate degree.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program typically takes 2 semesters for a full-time student to complete.

Are there advising and career guidance resources available to Actuarial Science Capstone students?

Yes. Students who are admitted to the program have access to career/employment advisors and resources. These resources include actuarial science faculty, the Business Career Center personnel, career fairs, and on-campus interviews.

How do I submit my application?

Send all application materials to Jodi Wortsman at the Wisconsin School of Business. You can email materials to jodi.wortsman@wisc.edu or send them via regular mail to:

Wisconsin School of Business
Attention: Jodi Wortsman
Risk and Insurance Department
5252A Grainger Hall
975 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706

Can I apply to the 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. Three-year and four-year bachelor's degrees are both acceptable for entry into the Capstone Certificate Program.

What should a reference letter contain?

Ideally we would like at least one reference letter from an instructor or supervisor who can attest to your quantitative and communication capabilities. Other reference letters can come from any source who knows you well enough to attest to your attributes and characteristics that will contribute to your success in the program. A typical reference letter is no longer than a single page consisting of three substantial paragraphs and 250-350 words.

Do I need to send in my application all at once or can I send it in piecemeal?

We prefer that candidates submit all application materials together as a single submission, not separately.

Is there financial support available to Actuarial Capstone students?

The Actuarial Capstone program is excluded from federal financial aid and we provide no scholarships to incoming Capstone students.

Capstone students can seek on-campus employment, such as working in academic offices or grading work for classes. Capstone students are not eligible to receive teaching or research assistantships.

The Wisconsin School of Business Actuarial Science Program reimburses 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 a specific number of club events.

What are tuition and fees for the program?

Tuition and fee information for the University of Wisconsin-Madison is available on the Registrar Website.  There is no application fee for the Capstone Certificate 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.

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 enrollment (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 enrollment are also exempt. Check the box requesting a waiver of the TOEFL requirement on the online 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.

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
  • Writing: 27

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

Are there any prerequisites for the Capstone Certificate Program?

Prospective Capstone students must have an undergraduate bachelor’s degree and must show successful completion of a semester of mathematical probability or successful completion of exam P/1 for SOA/CAS accreditation.

Is the GMAT or GRE required?


Can I take Capstone Certificate classes at a distance?

No. The Capstone certificate is not a distance or online program

Can I earn a Capstone Certificate if I am a student in other UW-Madison programs?

No. Students enrolled in other UW-Madison programs cannot be concurrently enrolled in the Actuarial Science Capstone Certificate program.

Do the courses that are offered in the Capstone Certificate Program fulfill the VEE requirements for actuarial designations?

Core Capstone courses intend to provide students with essential knowledge for passing the professional exams. With faculty approval, students may take additional courses that fulfill VEE requirements.

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

*These applicants receive special consideration

Application Requirements

A complete application includes all of the following items:

  • An online application, accessible from this link
  • Resume
  • Transcripts from all universities attended
  • 2 Letters of Reference from previous or current supervisors and/or instructors (for additional information, see FAQ – Application / Admission)
  • A personal statement that describes your interest in actuarial science, what you would like to do after completion of the Capstone Certificate Program and how the program will help you reach your goals
  • TOEFL scores, if applicable (for additional information, see FAQ – International Students.)

Send application materials to Jodi Wortsman at the Wisconsin School of Business. You can email the materials to jodi.wortsman@wisc.edu or send them via regular mail to:

Wisconsin School of Business
Attn: Jodi Wortsman
Risk and Insurance Department
5252A Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706

For additional information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions tab. If you have residual questions, please email Jodi Wortsman, Risk and Insurance Outreach Coordinator, at jodi.wortsman@wisc.edu.

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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.

Joan Schmit

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

Justin Sydnor
Associate Professor
BA, Ph.D.

Yang Wang
Assistant Professor

Gordon Enderle