Partially supported by the Society of Actuaries Centers of Actuarial Excellence 2015 Education Grant Project-Based Research Training in Actuarial Science


The actuarial research course, PSTAT 296A-B, Research Projects in Actuarial Science, was introduced in 2010 and is offered annually in Fall and Winter quarters. The main purpose of the course is to expose students to real-world research problems related to risk management. Students also get training in scientific writing, presentation skills, realistic data analysis, Excel and R programming, and group teamwork.

Students in this course complete a group actuarial project in partnership with actuarial/insurance/risk-related companies. Depending on the number of projects, typically each project team includes 3-4 students. This is a required course for masters’ students pursuing the combined five-year B.S./M.S. degree in Actuarial Science. We also invite our top undergraduates from Actuarial Science, Statistics, and Financial Mathematics and Statistics majors to participate.

Typically, students in the Actuarial Research Project class have taken applied statistics courses in regression, time series, possibly data mining, as well as actuarial courses in compound interest, life insurance, finance, etc. They have working knowledge of SAS, R and at least one programming language, typically C++ and Python. Students also complete an upper-division Business Writing class at UCSB.

All projects are presented as posters at the annual Undergraduate Research Colloquium at UCSB. In addition, the best projects are submitted for presentation at the annual Actuarial Research Conferences. The students frequently also make an on-site visit and presentation to the industrial partner.

Overview of the Undergraduate and Master's Student Actuarial Reasearch at UC Santa Barbara

UCSB Catalog Entries for PSTAT 296 A-B and 196

PSTAT 296A-B syllabus

PSTAT 296A-B Faculty: R. Feldman (2010-12), M. Ludkovski (2010-13), I. Duncan (2014 –current), J. Duncan (2014-current), S. Guerrier (2014-15), W. Herndon (2015-16), M. Wildman (2016-17), R. Molinari (2016-17), P-O Goffard (2017-current), X. Liao (2017-current), A. Sarantsev (2017-18)