Hickman Scholars Program


The Society of Actuaries James C. Hickman Scholar program was established to increase the number of academic actuaries who hold a PhD and an actuarial designation, and who intend to pursue academic careers in the United States or Canada. The program is designed to provide stipends to doctoral students who will, through their studies, address research and education needs of the profession, including both the theoretical and practical aspects.

The program was named to honor James C. Hickman (deceased), FSA, MAAA, ACAS, and former dean of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Business. During a 40-year academic career Hickman made numerous contributions to teaching, research and scholarship, including co-authorship of the Actuarial Mathematics textbook. He also served the profession, including as a member of the SOA Board of Governors and trustee of the Actuarial Foundation.


Individuals who meet the following requirements may apply:

  • Enrolled fulltime, have recently been admitted or are currently applying to a qualifying doctoral program in the United States or Canada.
    • A qualifying doctoral program is one in actuarial science or a field related to actuarial science (e.g. business, demography, economics, financial economics, insurance, mathematics, risk management, statistics).
    • Applicants may apply at the same time they are applying for a doctoral program; if selected these applicants will be awarded the stipend conditional upon enrollment in a qualifying doctoral program.
  • Hold a Fellowship–level actuarial credential or are pursuing Associateship or Fellowship membership of an accrediting actuarial organization (i.e. AI, CAS, CIA, IFoA, SOA).
    • Applicants who are already Associate members (including those awarded the CERA designation) will be expected to pursue a Fellowship credential.
  • All applicants must have at least two actuarial exams passed.

Application Process

Applicants must submit an application and supporting documentation that includes the following:

  • Applicants currently applying to doctoral programs must provide the names of the schools/programs to which they have applied, and the intended field of study in each school/program. (If a stipend is awarded, it will be conditional on enrollment in the specified program and for the field of study proposed in the application.)
  • Applicants already enrolled in a doctoral program will indicate how many years they have been studying, and approximately how many more years they believe they need to complete their doctorate. They will also provide a statement from their supervisor or program director attesting to progress in their doctoral program.
  • Applicant must submit a Statement of Interest. This may be the same statement submitted for the doctoral program, but additional language should be added for this application to clearly explain their goals regarding teaching, research and contributions to the actuarial profession.


An SOA Hickman Scholar is named on the basis of individual merit. Consideration will be given to:

  • Applicant’s doctoral program status. Current doctoral students and those entering into a doctoral program may apply.
  • Applicant's attainment of, or progress toward, an actuarial credential.
  • Applicant's Statement of Interest. A goal of the program is to provide stipends to those individuals who will address research and education needs of the profession, including both the theoretical and practical aspects. Statements of Interest will be evaluated to determine level of commitment to the profession.
  • Likelihood that applicant will seek employment with a U.S. or Canadian university. While U.S. or Canadian citizenship is not expressly required, the applicant will attest to citizenship status on the application. An applicant's citizenship status may be used to evaluate the likelihood that the applicant will pursue an academic career in the United States or Canada.

Amount of Stipend

Each stipend is generally $20,000 per academic year, renewable up to two times as set forth below. The stipend may be used at the discretion of the doctoral student for expenses that will aid in the completion of the PhD and the actuarial credential if not yet attained.

Applicants should be aware that stipend funds are provided for qualified expenses (tuition, books, fees, etc.). Qualified expenses do not include room and board. Stipend funds not used for qualified expenses may be taxable. Please consult your tax advisor if you have any questions.

Stipends are awarded at the sole discretion of the SOA and all decisions are final. Failure to meet eligibility requirements on a continuing basis may subject recipients to loss of stipend.


An SOA Hickman Scholar program's doctoral stipend is awarded to a doctoral student just entering a doctoral program will be renewable up to two times, subject to successful progress on both the doctorate and actuarial credential, continuing satisfaction of any other SOA Hickman Scholar criteria set forth by the SOA, and the availability of adequate funding.

  • The recipient may request suspension of the stipend for personal reasons (e.g. leave of absence from doctoral studies for childbirth).
  • The renewal period for an applicant already in a doctoral program would be determined on a case–by–case basis.

Continued participation in the SOA Hickman Scholar program is not guaranteed.

Renewal Process

SOA Hickman Scholars seeking a renewal of their stipend are required to submit a renewal application that includes the following:

  • For non–Fellows, successful progress on actuarial exams must be shown (e.g. scores of 4 or better on exams and completion of modules). Non–Fellows must also provide a statement as to how continued progress in pursuit of fellowship will be made.
  • A statement from applicant's Supervisor or Program Director must be provided attesting to progress in his/her doctoral studies.

Application Deadlines

The completed application (initial or renewal) and required documentation must be received by the SOA no later than February 15, 2023. Additional details regarding the required documentation can be found on the application and in the application companion guide, linked below. All applicants will be notified by April 28, 2023. Recipients must notify the SOA of acceptance of the stipend by May 15, 2023.

2023-2024 Application
2023 – 2024 Application Companion Guide
Applicant Document Upload
Third-Party Document Upload


Please email hickmanscholars@soa.org with any questions regarding the Hickman Scholars program or the application process.