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When One Department Just Isn’t Enough: Actuarial Science as an Interdisciplinary Major
01.18.13 |
To help students prepare for careers in a world that increasingly demands facility in multiple fields, the College has developed nine majors and one minor that cross traditional departmental boundaries. These interdisciplinary majors, in areas ranging from actuarial science to music recording technology and digital communications to mathematical sciences, are among the College’s fastest growing.

A popular interdisciplinary major at Lebanon Valley College is actuarial science. “This major is an interesting and powerful combination of actuarial science, math, business, and economics courses,” said Dr. Ken Yarnall, chair and associate professor of mathematical sciences. “We’ve managed to produce a major that uses a very liberal arts approach to a pre-professional program, and it’s a great example of integrating the liberal arts and the pre-professional in a really powerful way.”

Yarnall pointed out that not only is there unusual breadth to the required courses in the major, but the courses themselves have a liberal arts focus. “Whether they’re math courses or actuarial science courses, we focus on developing skills,” he explained. “We teach students to read, analyze problems, and communicate solutions to other people. That makes our students able to work on their own, as well as study for and succeed on the actuarial exams and in the workplace after they graduate. The finance and economics courses that they take reinforce this approach, bringing in the business perspective to that pre-professional perspective.”

LVC’s approach has proven effective. The employment rate for LVC actuarial science graduates is essentially 100 percent. “If you look around this country for actuarial science programs that can compete with LVC’s, you’re going to be looking for a long time,” Yarnall said. “And if you’re looking at small liberal arts schools, you won’t find any. Because we combine the technical and liberal arts into the curriculum, this program is the best in the nation.”

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