Actuarial Studies (ACT)

Career opportunities

Actuaries and trainee actuaries have excellent career prospects and are in demand from a wide range of employers. Major employers include life and general insurance companies, banks, fund managers, actuarial and management consulting firms.

Banks and fund managers have developed an interest in recruiting actuarial graduates to work in project, infrastructure and structured finance; risk management and derivatives; fixed interest or equity derivatives markets; quantitative research and performance analysis in funds management.

There is a strong demand for graduates who have both quantitative and commercial skills, and thus also for graduates who combine specialist actuarial training with majors in other fields.

An actuarial career ranks very well when ranked by work evironment, salary and job security. Uncertainty in insurance markets meant that it fell from 3rd best in one American ranking between 2010 and 2011, but had recovered to second in 2012. The qualification is widely recognised and can be used to gain overseas experience. To qualify as an actuary in Australia requires the completion of, or exemption from, subjects in the professional syllabus of the Actuaries Institute.

Qualification as a Fellow of The Institute of Actuaries of Australia (F.I.A.A.) requires the completion of subjects in Parts I, II and III of the professional examinations. Qualification as an Associate of The Institute of Actuaries of Australia (A.I.A.A.) is attained on completion of the subjects in Parts I and II, the professionalism course and three years of experience. Associates can also call themselves actuaries.

Part I is covered by the core courses of the Bachelor of Actuarial Studies. Part II can be studied in the fourth year of the Coop program and is made up of subjects, which cover actuarial principles and actuarial practice. Part III consists of subjects completed by distance education through Actuaries Institute, usually on a part-time basis after completing the Part I and Part II subjects.

Click here to check out some career journeys of Co-op alumni and industry partners  

Program overview








UNSW Business School

Offered under four year B.Actuarial Studies (Co-op) Degree*.

* The 4 year degree program has a stand-alone UAC CODE 424620. Students applying for Co-op Actuarial Studies will need to list this code in their preferences. If students want to come to UNSW to do Actuarial Studies even if they are unsuccessful in gaining a Co-op scholarship, they will also need to list the standard B.Actuarial UAC CODE 424300, in their preference list. 

Find out more about Actuarial Studies

Actuarial studies is a broad and rewarding degree, allowing students to develop the technical and specialist skills needed to pursue quantitative roles in traditional and non-traditional industries. Actuaries evaluate and manage risk, by applying mathematical, statistical, and financial analyses across a wide range of industries, including insurance, superannuation, wealth management, banking and finance.

The work of Actuaries is diverse and exciting. Actuaries can play a crucial role in the valuation process of insurers that ensures the financial sustainability of the business. Actuaries can apply judgement and expertise to tackle exciting industry challenges like autonomous cars and cyber security. Actuaries can even apply their skills in non-traditional fields such as assisting the government in ensuring the long-run success of public health schemes.

During their studies students will gain exemptions from the Actuaries Institute’s Part I professional examinations, the Core Technical (CT) subjects of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK), and the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credit for the Society of Actuaries (USA) when they achieve the required academic standards. Students will also be encouraged to study courses that will give them exemptions from the Actuaries Institute’s Part II professional examinations: ‘Actuarial Control Cycle’ and ‘Asset Management Communications’.

For more information contact:

Dr. Katja Hanewald
Senior Lecturer | School of Risk and Actuarial Studies
UNSW Business School
Phone: (02) 9385 6174

Group of students
Who should apply?

In addition to meeting the general entrance requirements for a Co-op scholar (see Are you the next Co-op scholar?), successful Actuarial Studies applicants should:

  • Have a strong ability and interest in mathematics and statistics and their application to business (i.e. perform very well in Mathematics Extension 2),
  • Have an ability to communicate and perform well in high school English subjects,
  • Have a strong interest in a professional business degree.

Success as a professional actuary also requires problem solving skills, reasoning, well-rounded business skills and an ability to communicate complex ideas in simple terms.

The recommended knowledge for entry into the UNSW Co-op Program in Actuarial Studies is:

  • Mathematics Extension 2
  • English Advanced

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