Should I Pursue an Actuarial Science Degree or Statistics Degree?

If you have recently completed your high school and pursuing Actuarial Science, then you can easily relate to the above question.

The key skills required by both the courses are:

  • Strong foundation in Mathematics
  • Logical thinking and the ability to comprehend key facts
  • Ability to interact with people from various fields to understand problems
  • Versatility in problem-solving
  • A computer geek

Even though both the courses require the above skills, there are certain lines drawn between them. So, let’s have a look at the differences between these two courses.

Minimum Eligibility
Basically, students from Science background having Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics can pursue a Statistics degree, with a minimum of 50% marks (in aggregate) in high school examination. Students from Commerce or Arts background can also pursue a degree in Statistics, but that will depend on the institute providing graduation in Statistics.

Whereas, the minimum eligibility for Actuarial Science degree is qualifying a high school examination with minimum of 60% in aggregate and minimum 70% in Mathematics.

Study Requirements
To become an Actuary, one should be good at Mathematics, Statistics and possess good modelling skills. While pursuing a Statistics degree, you’ll learn about programming, modelling and will acquire good analytical skills. Also, you’ll learn to work with large data sets and use statistical tools in analysing data. So, if you pursue Actuarial Science with a Statistics degree, you’ll get a lot of help as you’ll be having a good modelling and analytical skills, which are some of the requirements of Actuarial Science.

Whereas, during Actuarial Science degree, you’ll learn basic concepts of Actuarial Science – economics, financial mathematics, risk management and analysis and many more along with some of the statistical concepts. Thus, in Statistics degree, you’ll learn each topic of Statistics in deep as compared to Actuarial Science degree.

Time of study
If you are very clear about seeing yourself as an Actuary for the rest of your life, then you should go for an Actuarial Science degree because it helps you in clearing papers. Since it covers the concepts taught in the initial actuarial examinations and mainly focuses on Actuarial Science throughout your graduation, the time taken to become an actuary reduces. If you are pursuing Actuarial Science from India, you’ll not get any exemption from the Institute of Actuaries of India, until and unless you pursue a master’s degree like M.Stat. or M.Sc. in Statistics from Indian Statistical Institute.

Top Institutes in India

Top institutes offering Statistics degree are:

Top institutes offering Actuarial Science in are:

Career Prospects
Career prospects are ever increasing in both the courses. The prospects of Actuarial Science are majorly in the Insurance sector in India, followed by consultancies. Being a graduate in Statistics, if in future, you think of switching from Actuarial Science, then you can work in industries like agriculture, computer science, health science, automobile, computer software companies and many more. In fact, one can also opt for finance, analytics and software development, to name a few.

Actuarial Science is primarily an applied discipline that combines Math, Statistics and Data Analysis, whereas degree in Statistics tend to focus more on the “pure” theory of the subjects. So to summarise, both Actuarial Science and Statistics degree provides similar skills sets and the use of statistical techniques. They usually differ in the scope of their work. By obtaining graduation in Actuarial Science, you will get to work specifically within insurance industry and handle data related to risk.

Whereas with a Statistics degree, you are not only restricted to the actuarial work, instead you can work as a statistician, business analyst, professor, data analyst, data scientist, consultant, risk analyst and many more. Also, if you pursue a Statistics degree, then you have to study actuarial subjects on your own. Whereas during your graduation in Actuarial Science, you get pertinent training for qualifying actuarial examinations.

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Your future depends on your choice, so choose wisely!

Good Luck!

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