Help businesses, governments, not-for-profits, and individuals make critical future decisions.
Actuaries evaluate risk and opportunity. We apply a combination of financial, economic, and data science approaches to solve a wide range of business and societal problems. With a mastery of data, risk and complex mathematical models, the actuarial profession is at the forefront of innovation in the fast-evolving landscape of data science and analytics. The ability to harvest insights from data, combined with commercial acumen and deep-rooted professional integrity, empowers actuaries to help organisations, governments, and communities achieve maximum impact from data, develop solutions that drive positive change, and use data for good.
In a world where data drives decisions and risk shapes outcomes, there's a pressing need for professionals who can navigate the challenges and opportunities of uncertainty, and pioneer new paths with big and complex data. This is where Actuarial Studies shines as a degree choice.
Actuarial Studies isn't just about numbers; it's about understanding the world through a unique lens. By combining mathematics, statistics, data analytics, accounting, economics, and finance, it provides you with the tools to evaluate and manage risks and opportunities that modern businesses face. Whether it's extracting actionable insights from data, predicting future events, pricing products, or developing strategies to tackle tomorrow's challenges, actuaries are the backbone of informed decision-making.
As businesses and industries evolve, so does the scope and relevance of Actuarial Studies. No longer limited to insurance and financial services, actuaries play a key role across sectors such as technology, healthcare, the environment, and cutting-edge fields like data analytics and artificial intelligence. With this study, you'll be equipped to effectively harness big data, navigate emerging markets, and anticipate future trends.
Actuarial Studies goes far beyond technical expertise, cultivating a mindset that seamlessly blends analytical depth with ethical integrity. As an actuary, you're primed to use data for the greater good, championing positive change and ensuring businesses not only succeed, but also uphold their societal responsibilities. At its core, choosing Actuarial Studies means stepping into a future where your skills are both sought-after and celebrated. This is your chance to be at the cutting edge of a profession that profoundly shapes industries and touches lives. For those ignited by curiosity, challenge, and a passion to effect change, Actuarial Studies paves the way to a vibrant and impactful career.
UNSW Business School is ranked #1 worldwide in risk management, insurance, and actuarial research. The School of Risk & Actuarial Studies at UNSW is recognised as a global leader for offering innovative actuarial programs, combining actuarial science, data analytics and computer science, including artificial inteligence. Join the highest-achieving alumni and learn from world-leading academic staff and industry leaders.
At UNSW, you'll find a diverse and flexible actuarial curriculum, preparing you for the challenges and opportunities in an increasingly data-driven world. Emphasising real-world application, our actuarial program systematically embeds industry components through collaborative projects and learning activities, ensuring you gain practical, work-based experiences. Want to see how real-world industry challenges come alive in our courses? Check out these highlighted examples:
Beyond core actuarial courses, you can explore offerings across multiple faculties, enhancing your knowledge with subjects ranging from Finance to Climate Science. Our comprehensive approach, combined with skill development and international exchange opportunities, ensures you're industry-ready and a sought-after graduate.
Studying at UNSW also means that you can gain global actuarial accreditations. To become a practicing actuary in Australia you can gain actuarial accreditiation exemptions from the Foundation Program of the Actuaries Institute (Australia) professional examinations and the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credit for the Society for Actuaries (USA) and Casualty Actuarial Society (USA) by achieving the required academic standard in the professionally accredited courses in your UNSW actuarial studies programs. Similarly, some students (especially Actuarial Studies (Co-op) students and dual degree students) may also be eligible to gain exemption from the university accreditation components of the Actuary Program of the Actuaries Institute professional examinations. Students who wish to complete their studies with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK) or the Society of Actuaries (USA) may be eligible to receive credit for subjects they have credit with the Actuaries Institute.
You may be wondering "what jobs can I get with an actuarial studies degree?". Studying actuarial studies opens a wide range of career opportunities, not just within the financial services sector, but far beyond. Imagine yourself shaping the future of life, general, and health insurance or influencing the dynamics of superannuation, funds management, and banking. Picture stepping into key roles across diverse businesses and organisations. From insurance giants and cutting-edge consulting firms specialising in actuarial and data science, to leading banks, superannuation funds, and government bodies – it's all within your reach.
But the horizon doesn't end there. With your unique combination of quantitative skills and business acumen, you'll find yourself in high demand in areas like retail analytics and broader data science roles. Beyond just complex mathematical models, your mastery of data, ability to harvest its insights, and commercial mindset will set you apart. You could be the expert that organisations turn to when they need to extract actionable insights from vast and complex data sets, predict future trends, and make informed decisions. In a rapidly evolving, data-driven world marked by the rise of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automated decision-making, your actuarial expertise empowers organisations to achieve maximum impact from data, develop solutions that drive positive change, and use data for the greater good.
Career options include:
Gain research experience and enhance your career prospects with an honours degree. These programs are designed to connect your undergraduate study with supervised independent research. An honours degree also provides a pathway into further study, such as a Masters by Research or PhD. You can take honours as a stand-alone degree or as part of an embedded honours program.
"Being able to model and analyse data is such a diverse tool and these skills can be transferred from predicting customer behaviour all the way to modelling the movement of participants in a welfare system.”
Alisa Zheng, Actuarial Consultant, PwC Australia
Actuaries evaluate risk and opportunity. They apply a combination of financial, economic, and data science approaches to solve a wide range of business and societal problems. With their mastery of data, risk and complex mathematical models, the actuarial profession is at the forefront of innovation in the fast-evolving landscape of data science and analytics. Their ability to harvest insights from data, combined with their commercial acumen and deep-rooted professional integrity, empowers actuaries to help organisations, governments, and communities achieve maximum impact from data, develop solutions that drive positive change, and use data for good.
Entry ranks like ATAR and IB may change year on year, depending on the cohort. It is best to view the lowest selection rank of the past year as an indication for future years. You can find these details on our Bachelor of Actuarial Studies page. Mathematics is an important component of Actuarial Studies. You should have Extension 2 mathematics (or equivalent) or very good Extension 1 to do well in Actuarial Studies. If you like mathematics, especially its application to business problems, and have a strong performance, pursuing actuarial studies can open the door to a fulfilling and rewarding career.
Graduates often find roles within the financial services sector. Key areas of employment are life, general, and health insurance, superannuation, funds management, banking, and risk management in commercial and other organisations. Major employers include insurance companies, consulting firms specialising in actuarial, data science, and management consulting, as well as banks, superannuation funds, and government bodies.
The scope of actuarial employment also extends beyond traditional financial services. With their unique blend of quantitative and business skills, actuaries are increasingly sought after in areas like retail analytics and broader data science roles.
Early career positions often include roles like Actuarial, Financial, Data, or Quantitative Analyst, progressing to positions such as Consultant, Appointed Actuary, Data Science Actuary, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Analytics Officer, and more senior management roles and non-executive directors. The professional qualifications are widely recognised and transferrable internationally, with actuarial skills in high demand globally across Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America.
The School of Risk and Actuarial Studies at UNSW is considered the most prestigious actuarial school in the world. Recognised for its world-leading actuarial programs, the school is at the forefront of academia and industry. Its reputation on the global stage is highlighted by recognitions, such as the prestigious CAS (Casualty Actuarial Society) University Award in 2021 for offering innovative actuarial programs combining actuarial science, data analytics, and computer science, including artificial intelligence.
Students benefit from the variety and flexibility to explore areas beyond the actuarial core subjects to gain additional breadth and depth in their studies. At UNSW, we are committed to leading the charge in preparing our students for a data-driven world. Our curriculum incorporates cutting-edge techniques, ensuring every graduate is at the forefront of the industry's evolving demands. For instance, core courses like Data Visualisation and Communication and Statistical Machine Learning for Risk and Actuarial Applications ensure that all our graduates master data visualisation and machine learning techniques. Additionally, students can further specialise by exploring courses such as Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Models for Actuarial Applications, instructed by leading experts in the field.
Industry components are embedded systematically throughout the actuarial courses via learning activities and real-world projects co-designed and co-delivered with industry to provide all students with opportunities to gain work-based learning experiences.
Besides courses and majors in the business school, such as in Finance, Accounting, Information Systems, Behavioural Economics, and FinTech, actuarial students can take courses offered in other UNSW faculties, such as Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, or Climate Science. Students also have the option to complete an Actuarial Risk Management and Analytics major, a Quantitative Data Science major or a Computational Data Science major within the BActSt.
The UNSW General Education requirements (12 Units of study to be taken outside of the UNSW Business School) also broaden your experience. In addition, besides developing your actuarial knowledge, the program also aims at developing your professional skills such as oral and written communication, teamwork, and critical thinking – skills essential to your professional career and future development. As a leading university in Australia and the Asia Pacific region, UNSW provides its students unparalleled international exchange opportunities, collaborating with over 200 global partner institutions across 32 countries.
The reputation that UNSW has built is highly valued by employers of actuarial graduates. The actuarial studies program at UNSW has strong links with leading employers, especially through our School's Industry Advisory Board and the Co-op Steering Committee. As a student, you benefit directly: employers contribute to our curriculum by providing industry insights, guest lectures, seminars, and real-world industry problems to ensure you are industry-ready. Our Actuarial academics, being world leaders in research, ensure you receive an education that's not just up-to-date but future-focused. The UNSW actuarial program is accredited by the Actuaries Institute in Australia and recognised by professional actuarial bodies in other countries.
UNSW has developed a reputation for being innovative and broadening the opportunities for actuaries in the financial services industry. The Actuarial Studies program at UNSW was developed after extensive discussions with industry professionals and advised by our Industry Advisory Board. It embeds the latest industry and academic insights through our world-leading research and partnerships. It is based in the UNSW Business School at UNSW, which is highly regarded as the leading Business School in Australia.
Students have a wide choice of courses and majors in the UNSW program. The degree can also be combined with other top-quality programs at UNSW like the Bachelor of Commerce, Advanced Maths, Computer Science, or other combinations. Employers welcome this as it gives actuarial students another valuable skill in a discipline area that can support the actuarial degree. UNSW also provides opportunities for students to further their studies via either an honours program or a postgraduate degree.
UNSW academic staff have strong reputations in internationally recognised, industry-relevant research. UNSW Risk and Actuarial Studies is recognised as the #1 Business School globally in the UNL Ranking in Actuarial Science and Insurance Research, with particular strengths in population ageing, risk and capital modelling, and insurance analytics – topics of high relevance to industry and government and which we build into our education curriculum. As such, courses in the program embed both the latest theory as well as industry practice.
The Bachelor of Actuarial Studies can be combined with a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Information Systems, Bachelor of Law, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) or with a Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics). These programs are highly recommended if you wish to complete additional accreditation courses or you wish to broaden and deepen your study of business, mathematics, technology, or law. High-achieving students may also complete an honours year in their final year of study to further develop their communication and technical skills and open the possibility of PhD study.
Students can gain exemption from the Foundation Program of the Actuaries Institute (Australia) professional examinations and the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credit for the Society of Actuaries (USA) and Casualty Actuarial Society (USA) by achieving the required academic standard in the professionally accredited courses in their Actuarial Studies programs. Similarly, some students (esp. Actuarial Studies (Co-op) students and dual degree students) may also be eligible to gain exemption from the university accreditation components of the Actuary Program of the Actuaries Institute. Students who wish to complete their studies with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK) or the Society of Actuaries (USA) may be eligible to receive credit for subjects they have credit with the Actuaries Institute.
The first year comprises foundational Business, Economics, and Actuarial courses offered by the UNSW Business School. You will also do Year 1 Mathematics in courses specifically designed for actuarial students, which, along with the introductory actuarial course, provide an introduction to computer programming.
In the second and third years, you will complete actuarial courses such as Financial Mathematics, Probability and Mathematical Statistics, Data Visualisation and Communications, Statistical Machine Learning, AI and Deep Learning for Actuaries, Actuarial Maths for Insurance and Superannuation, Modelling and Prediction of Life and Health Related Risks, General Insurance Techniques, Quantitative Risk Management, and Asset-Liability and Derivative Models. Computer programming and broader business skills are also incorporated throughout the delivery of these actuarial courses. You may also complete the Actuarial Theory and Practice and Actuarial Data Science Applications courses in the fourth year of your study (if you complete a combined degree or an Honours year).
The School of Risk and Actuarial Studies also offers optional courses in areas such as risk management and superannuation. You can also complete additional courses offered by the UNSW Business School and from other Faculties at UNSW – including in areas such as Finance, Business Analytics, Maths, Computing and Climate Science. The choice at UNSW is one of the best at any Australian university, and the selection of courses in each area is among the widest.
Actuarial studies at UNSW are designed to both challenge and inspire students. While our courses are demanding, they are equally rewarding. Our dedicated Risk and Actuarial Studies academics have pioneered advanced teaching methodologies and created learning resources to empower your learning journey. Joining us means becoming part of a vibrant and supportive actuarial learning community. For those who bring passion and dedication to the program, not only is success within reach, but the potential to obtain professional recognition for your university studies is high. Upon completing this degree, you'll acquire knowledge and skills that are in high demand, especially among employers seeking candidates with strong quantitative and analytical backgrounds.