About the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Risk & Actuarial Studies

UNSW’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Risk & Actuarial Studies will prepare you to become a globally focused and socially engaged research leader. You’ll join a cohort of high-achieving research students and benefit from interdisciplinary engagement with your cohort. This is your opportunity to become integrated into the UNSW Business School’s community of scholars.

You’ll first undertake rigorous coursework covering risk theory, multivariate models for risks, longevity risk management, economic and regulatory capital and investment and asset liability modelling. As part of your PhD program, you’ll also be involved in research projects from an early stage. This training will equip you with the skills required to identify, analyse and solve problems in the field.

You’ll then pursue full-time research under the supervision of high-profile UNSW academics, culminating in a doctoral thesis. There will also be exciting opportunities to develop your teaching portfolio.

Your PhD thesis will showcase your research skills and enable you to make an original contribution to your field.

PhD Program Structure

Year One: Master of Pre-Doctoral Business Studies

Your first year of study is designed to provide a rigorous foundation to conduct independent research. You’ll learn a range of methodologies and build your communication and presentation skills.

Your first year of coursework study will cover fundamental research methods. You’ll also start developing key research skills such as identifying, framing, presenting, and writing academic contributions. You’ll work as a research assistant on faculty research projects and start working on your own research as your skills develop.

The first year will help you identify your potential thesis supervisor for the PhD component of the program. Upon successful completion of the first year, you’ll be awarded a Master of Pre-Doctoral Business Studies. A brief overview of the first year is presented below. Please visit the UNSW Handbook for full course structure details.

Term 1

  • Program Core Course: COMM8100
  • Two Elective Courses

Term 2

  • Program Core Course: COMM8101 or COMM8102
  • Stream Core Course: Research Assistance Work
  • One Elective Course

Term 3

  • Program Core Course: COMM8103
  • Two Elective Courses
Year Two: Specialised Coursework & Identification of Thesis Topic

During the second year, you’ll continue in the Risk & Actuarial Studies stream with a further year of advanced coursework.

You’ll choose up to eight additional research courses from a range of electives in consultation with your supervisor and PGRC, with an opportunity to take at least one subject outside of your specialised discipline.

Your second year is also when you’ll identify your thesis topic with your supervisor. You’ll engage in literature review and research design and present your research proposal to the School at the end of the year.

Years Three – Four: Original Research & Your Doctoral Thesis

The final two years of the program are focused on conducting full-time research and completing your doctoral thesis. This is your opportunity to address some of the biggest challenges in Risk & Actuarial Studies and make a significant contribution to knowledge in your field. Your research will offer new critical thinking and withstand critical analysis from expert researchers in the area.

  • Your PhD thesis will set you on the path to a career in a premier research institution, anywhere in the world. Throughout your research degree, you’ll also have many opportunities to develop your teaching portfolio.

    Beyond academia, there is also significant demand in the private and public sectors for people with deep knowledge and sound research and analytical skills*.

    Whether you’re looking to pursue a career in academia, or take your research skills out to industry, a PhD in Risk & Actuarial Studies from UNSW will get you there.

    *Source: 2019 Advancing Australia’s Knowledge Economy Report

Degree type

Postgraduate Research


4 years full-time, 5-8 years part-time

Commencing terms

Term 1 – February

Program code


Delivery mode

On Campus

Domestic / International