ACTL1101 Introduction to Actuarial Studies - 2019

Term 3
6 Units of Credit
On Campus
Risk & Actuarial Studies
The course outline is not available for current semester. To view outlines from other years and/or semesters, visit the archives .

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This course is designed to provide an introduction to actuarial studies. It covers the fundamental modelling tools used by actuaries (probability, statistics, financial mathematics), as well as some of the basic actuarial models in areas such as insurance, superannuation or financial risk management, and which will be studied in great depth during the remainder of the degree. The main areas of actuarial practice and research are also introduced and discussed. Finally, labs will provide a foundation in programming, as well as data manipulation and visualisation, with a particular focus on R.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

This course is offered as part of the first year core in the Bachelor of Actuarial Studies and dual degrees. The course is a prerequisite, along with MATH1251, for the courses ACTL2111 Financial Mathematics for Actuaries, and ACTL2131 Probability and Mathematical Statistics.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-chargeAProfBenjamin AvanziRoom 640, Business School building – Ref E12+61 2 9385 0798Wednesdays 1-2pm in the area in front of the school (level 6, East wing of Business School building), or by appointment for personal matters.
LecturerMrAlan XianEast wing, Level 6 Business School Building – Ref E12
Wednesdays 1-2pm in the area in front of the school (level 6, East wing of Business School building), or by appointment for personal matters.
LecturerMrGuillaume Boglioni BeaulieuEast wing, Level 6 Business School Building – Ref E12
Wednesdays 1-2pm in the area in front of the school (level 6, East wing of Business School building), or by appointment for personal matters.
TutorMrZhen Dong Chen
See below
TutorMrDaniel Fan
See below
TutorMrYifan Li
See below
TutorMrJackie Lok
See below
TutorMrApurba Neupane
See below
TutorMrAndrew Wolff
See below

Communication with staff

Consultation by tutors (two hours each week) are as follows:

​Thursday 12pm
Daniel Fan
Tuesday 2pm
Andrew Wolff
Tuesday 2pm
Apurba Neupane
Thursday 12pm
Zhen Dong Chen
Thursday 12pm
Andrew Wolff
Tuesday 2pm
Apurba Neupane
Tuesday 2pm
Daniel Fan
Thursday 12pm
Yifan Li
Thursday 12pm
Jackie Lok
Tuesday 2pm
Daniel Fan
Tuesday 2pm
Daniel Fan
Thursday 12pm
Yifan Li
Thursday 12pm
Jackie Lok
Tuesday 2pm
Andrew Wolff
Tuesday 2pm
Zhen Dong Chen
Thursday 12pm
Yifan Li
Thursday 12pm
Andrew Wolff
Tuesday 2pm
Zhen Dong Chen
​Tuesday 2pm
​Apurba Neupane
​Thursday 12pm
​Jackie Lok

Consultation will also be in the area in front of the school (level 6, East wing of Business School building)

Tutorial and Lab allocations

​Name of tutor:
​Name of tutor:
Wed 09 (w1-10, MorvB LG2)
Apurba Neupane
Mon 13-14:30 (w1-10, Quad G021)
Yifan Li
Wed 10 (w1-10, Gold G03)
Daniel Fan
Mon 14:30-16 (w1-10, Quad G021)
Yifan Li
Wed 10 (w1-10, Gold G09)
Yifan Li
Mon 16-17:30 (w1-10, Quad G021)
Zhen Dong Chen
Wed 11 (w1-10, JGoodsLG21)
Andrew Wolff
Tue 10:30-12 (w1-10, Mat 211)
Daniel Fan
Wed 11 (w1-10, Ainswth201)
Yifan LiBC
Tue 12-13:30 (w1-10, Mat 211)
Daniel Fan
Wed 15 (w1-10, Law 162)
Andrew Wolff
Tue 13:30-15 (w1-10, Mat 211)
Andrew Wolff
Thu 10 (w1-10, ElecEngG03)
Zhen Dong Chen
Tue 16-17:30 (w1-10, Mat 211)
Andrew Wolff
Thu 10 (w1-10, ElecEngG09)
Apurba Neupane
Thu 15-16:30 (w1-10, Mat 211)
Jackie Lok
​Thu 13 (w1-10, BUS 207)
​Apurba Neupane
​Thu 16:30-18 (w1-10, Mat 211)
​Jackie Lok
​Thu 13 (w1-10, Newt 306)
​Jackie Lok
​Fri 10:30-12 (w1-10, Mat 211)
​Zhen Dong Chen
​Fri 12 (w1-10, BUS 118)
​Jackie Lok
​Fri 12-13:30 (w1-10, Mat 211)
​Apurba Neupane
​Fri 12 (w1-10, Sqhouse203)
​Zhen Dong Chen
​Fri 13:30-15 (w1-10, Mat 211)
​Daniel Fan

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

​We are here to HELP students (you) in the learning process by developing your understanding of course topics and to provide opportunities to reflect on and gain deeper understanding of the applications of the course material. The learning process is collaborative, and the more you interact with us (teaching staff) and with fellow students, the more you will learn and get from the course. Interaction can occur in class, in tutorials, in labs, during consultation, on course forums, etc…

Furthermore, the course will use extensive digital resources, some of which have been tailor made for the course; see Course Resources.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

Active Learning

As much as possible, we will try to use active learning during face-to-face time. This means trying to make you do things, not just sit inactively. We will use different strategies for this, such as:

  • Using Teams (see below) for asking questions and active learning
  • Have discussion questions and group activities during tutorials and labs.
Furthermore, we will try a new exciting concept his year with two tutors in class! See below for details.

For more information about active learning, refer, for instance, to:


There will be essentially two types of lectures:

  • Quantitative lectures, where you will learn about fundamental tools and actuarial techniques;
  • Qualitative lectures, where we will discuss practice areas, professionalism, and recent issues in the actuarial world.

They are shown in green and yellow (respectively) wherever possible (for instance on the course map on the website). There will also be information sessions held by other Business School staff, and guest lectures (shown in blue in the schedule)

For quantitative lectures (green), we will be teaching materials with detailed slides and examples. Knowledge will be reinforced and further applied in tutorials. Here the main references will be the lecture notes and tutorial exercises. There may be some prescribed readings from the book as indicated on the lecture slides. Unless announced otherwise on the course website or in the weekly e-mail, it is not necessary to do any prior reading.

For qualitative lectures (yellow), we will be using some lecture slides, but we will mainly be discussing video interviews shot especially for this course (see Course Resources), as well as some other resources such as industry articles. The prescribed readings and resources will be made clear on the course website, and if any prior reading is required this will be announced on the course website (and in the weekly e-mail). Teams may be used for facilitating discussions with the large group, and to see what everyone got from the prior readings before discussing them.

In all lectures, two tutors will be in the room to answer questions from students while we are doing the lecture, but also during "question breaks". The main idea is to make it easier and quicker for you to ask questions.


With only one exception, tutorials will focus on the application of concepts taught in the quantitative lectures (green).

Importantly, we invest a lot of resources to offer small group tutorials, and this is to maximise interaction, and for students to get the individualised help they need. This means that tutorials are not meant to replicate (or summarise) the lecture. If the flow of information is unilateral (the tutor talks for 50 minutes) then this could be done with 350 students in the same way. You are meant to make the difference and to make it worthwhile to have 14 groups of 25 instead of 1 group of 350.

To get the maximum from your tutorial, it is your responsibility to be prepared and to come to the tutorial with questions you want the tutor to address. As much as possible (depending on the tutorial topic and room layout) we will try to make you work within your teams.


The labs at providing a foundation in programming, as well as data manipulation and visualisation, with a particular focus on R. 

The aims and learning outcomes of the labs, weekly contents, and associated readings will be available on the course website.

Labs operate somewhat independently from lectures and tutorials, and while they are taught in small groups, they are small group lectures rather than tutorials.

However, labs are designed to facilitate an active learning environment. Each lab covers a range of theoretical contents, as well as learning activities that encourage students’ engagement. Learning activities are designed in varying formats and students are expected to reflect on what they have learned, develop a deep understanding of the concepts and apply the contents in practical situations. To facilitate students’ participation, R markdown files with examples of R codes are provided, where students are able to modify or extend the existing codes during the practice sessions; see also Course Resources below. Generally, no prior reading is required, but students should bring their book (LaDroLi; see Course Resources), which they should read after the lab.

The active learning process continues after each lab. Students are also encouraged to learn actively by participating in the formative assessment tasks (including homework exercises and quizzes). These tasks review the essential concepts and are designed to identify the loopholes of students learning and provide feedbacks for improvement.

The learning outcomes of the R lab series are validated through mini-assignments. The mini-assignments are created in such a way that students are required to apply concepts and tools they have learnt in an actuarial context. Sample solutions will be provided to students as feedback.

Note that you will develop general knowledge of the R software and language, rather than specific actuarial applications using R. In other words, no prior actuarial knowledge is required, even though examples will be chosen with actuarial studies in mind. Later in the actuarial degree, students will thus be able to focus on specific actuarial applications using R (such as modelling mortality rates, generalised linear regression, etc.) without experiencing difficulties due to poor knowledge of programming and R in particular.

How you will receive feedback about your learning

You will receive feedback about your learning in multiple ways:

  • During lectures, by asking questions and participating in the activities
  • After lectures, by reviewing your lecture notes and participating in the Teams forums and wikis
  • Before tutorials, by attempting the exercises to be done prior to the tutorial
  • During tutorials, by participating in activities and by interacting with your team and tutor
  • After tutorials, by reviewing your notes, and reflecting on your gaps and how to fill them
  • During labs, by participating in activities and by interacting with your team and tutor
  • After labs, by doing the homework exercises and quizzes
  • Throughout, by examining feedback obtained on assessment items; see also Assessment Summary

Your typical week as a student in ACTL1101

The normal workload for a 6 credit course at UNSW under UNSW3+ is about 13-15 hours per week.

In a typical week you would do the following activities:

  • [0-1 hour] Go through additional online readings as required prior to the lecture
  • [2-5 hours*] Monday/Tuesday: attend lecture and consultations afterwards if needed
  • [1-2 hour*] Before the weekly tutorial: do the homework questions
  • [1 hour*] Attend your weekly tutorial
  • [1.5 hours] Attend your weekly lab
  • [1-2 hours*] After the lab: Do the lab homework and associated quiz
  • [1-2 hours] Do the individual mini-assignment related to the week prior and submit
  • [2-3 hours*] Revise lecture, tutorial and lab notes and prepare questions if needed; attempt past exam questions; ask and answer questions on the forums; work on the major assignment.

We strongly suggest that you diarise these activities. We also encourage you to do the starred activities with a team of fellow students you regularly study with (perhaps from the same tutorial group).

We will send you a weekly e-mail that details what you are expected to do. This does not prevent you from taking responsibility for your own planning, of course.

5. Course Resources

​Course website

The website for this course is on Moodle.
The course will use various digital resources, but they all will be linked from moodle.

To access the Moodle online support site for students, follow the links from that website to UNSW Moodle Support/Support for Students. Additional technical support can be obtained from (02 9385 1333). It is essential that you visit the site, as well as Teams, regularly (at least weekly) to see any notices posted there by the course coordinator.

Furthermore, this will be the first large course at UNSW to use the new tool of Microsoft called “Teams”. This will allow us and your team to interact, share documents, collaboratively work on documents without having to track versions, etc. There will be a demonstration during the first lecture.


The prescribed textbooks for the course are:

  • [LT] Sherris, M. (2010) Principles of Actuarial Science, Cengage Publishing
  • [RS] Lafaye de Micheaux, P., Drouilhet, P., Liquet, B. (2013) The R Software, Springer. Note that this book has been translated into Mandarin and other languages.

Additional, useful (but non prescribed) references are:

  • Crawley, M. J. (2013) The R Book, Second Edition, Wiley
    [A very comprehensive book, but too big and expensive to carry around.]
  • Heiberger, R. M., Neuwirth, E. (2009) R Through Excel, Springer
    [Explains how to plug R in Excel]
  • Zuur, I., and Meesters, A (2009) A Beginner's Guide to R, Springer.
    [A smaller, shorter reference book]

Digital resources

The following resources will be made available on the course website.

Industry articles

A selection of industry articles will be made available for some of the lectures. You will be asked to read them in advance.

Video scribes

There will be three video scribes to explain threshold concepts:

  • Probability mass and density
  • Time value of money
  • Actuarial reserves

These videos will be watched, discussed and illustrated in class. We will then proceed with building on those concepts.

Practice area interviews

We have recorded interviews of past UNSW graduates, who now hold senior positions in the industry. The following videos will be made available on the website:

  1. Predictive analytics: Jon Shen, FIAA, Senior Manager, Data Science at Suncorp Chief Data and Transformation Office (Sydney CBD) 
    (UNSW Actuarial BCom Co-op and Honours class 1 with University Medal, graduated end 2010)
  2. Risk Management: Gloria Yu, FIAA, Director at Deloitte Actuaries and Consultants (Sydney CBD) 
    (UNSW Actuarial BCom Co-op, graduated end 2004)
  3. General Insurance: Luke Cassar, FIAA, CERA, Senior Consultant at Finity Consulting (Sydney CBD)
    (UNSW Actuarial BCom Co-op and Honours class 1, graduated end 2010)
  4. Health: Ignatius Li, Health Actuary, Director at Deloitte Actuaries and Consultants (Sydney CBD)
    (UNSW Actuarial BCom Co-op, graduated end 2011)
  5. Life Insurance: Edward Tam, FIAA, Associate Director at KMPG Australia
    (UNSW BCom Actuarial Studies and Information Systems 2001, UNSW MCom Advanced Finance 2004)
  6. Superannuation: Anthony Saliba, FIAA, Senior Actuary in the Superannuation & Investments division of CommInsure
    (UNSW Actuarial BCom Co-op, graduated end 2009)

Additionally, we will also have an interview on professional ethics:

  • Professional ethics: Kevin Allport, FIAA, Convenor of the Professional Conduct Committee, Former Appointed Actuary at MLC.

All those videos will be discussed in class are assessable.

Lab R markdown files

You will receive the source file for all the lab teaching materials. This is an R markdown file (which can be compiled directly form R Studio). This presents the following advantages:

  • Firstly, it allows flexibility for you to choose how you would like to save the files – you can generate pdf articles, word documents even html files from R markdown files.
  • Secondly, a R markdown file includes both the contents of a lab and the R codes. You will be able to receive the R codes for examples via the R markdown file. This means that you can replicate the examples yourself during and after class.
  • Thirdly, you will be able to run a large block of R codes by simply pressing a Run button at the corresponding section R codes. This will save you time from writing your own codes or copying pasting codes. This allows us to incorporate more interactive learning activities.

Formulae & Tables

The only text students are allowed to bring into the examinations for the actuarial courses is the text "Formulae and Tables for Actuarial Examinations". It must not be annotated. All students in the actuarial courses should purchase a copy of this text if they wish to use it in tutorials, mid-session exams and the final examinations. The text is available from the UNSW Bookstore, the UK Institute of Actuaries or from ActEd. Visit the ActEd website.

The Actuaries Institute

The Actuaries Institute allows students to become University Subscribers free of charge. Full time undergraduates studying at an Institute accredited university who are members of a university student actuarial society are eligible. To sign up.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

Each year feedback is sought from students and other stakeholders about the courses offered in the School and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. UNSW's myExperience survey is one of the ways in which student evaluative feedback is gathered. In this course, we will seek your feedback through end of semester myExperience responses and other informal forums.

As a result of student feedback, industry feedback, and school L&T strategic plan, the software R is now fully taught and assessed with a new set of labs. R will be assumed to be mastered by students, and will be used and assessed in each of the future actuarial courses. Note that at the same time, a level 3 course, ACTL3142 Actuarial Data and Analysis, has been introduced in the suite of ACTL courses, with advanced data analytics tools. Guest lecturers are invited.

Feedback from 2016 students indicated that they wanted more resources, and a different assessment structure. We have done so in 2017, and in fact have completely rejigged the course to give more emphasis and resources on practice areas, and the “big picture”. Labs are now at their version 2.0 level. All the digital resources described under Course Resources are new.

Feedback from 2017 and 2018 students indicated that they wanted tutorial exercises that were better aligned with new course materials, more time on the "green" lectures, and to develop some resources for assumed knowledge on probability. We have done all that, plus also reviewed again the R Labs which are know at their version 3.0.

Also new in 2019, the team aspects of the course were removed (including the team major assessment) to reduce assessment load and the size of the course. Course outcomes were adjusted accordingly, and more weight allocated to the R mini assignments (which are also now given 1.5 hours every week rather than 1 hour).

7. Course Schedule

Note: for more information on the UNSW academic calendar and key dates including study period, exam, supplementary exam and result release, please visit:
Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: 16 September 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Probability (green)

Lecture (1 hour)

Programming and Predictive analytics (yellow)

Lab (1.5 hours)

Introduction to R and R studio

Tutorial (1 hour)


Week 2: 23 September 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Statistics (green)

Tutorial (1 hour)


Lab (1.5 hours)

Data structures, mathematical operations, importation and exportation in R

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Lecture (1 hour)


Week 3: 30 September 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Financial mathematics

Tutorial (1 hour)

Financial mathematics

Lab (1.5 hours)

Control flows and functions in R

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Week 4: 7 October 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Public Holiday - No lecture

Tutorial (1 hour)

Financial mathematics

Lab (1.5 hours)

Data manipulation, operations and work strategy in R

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Lecture (1 hour)

Foundations of Risk and Insurance - Utility

Week 5: 14 October 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Actuarial profession and professional ethics Guest lecture on the actuarial profession and the Australian Actuaries Institute (TBC)

Tutorial (1 hour)

Revisions Risk and Insurance - Utility

Lab (1.5 hours)

Statistical analysis in R

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Mid-term exam

Probability, Statistics, Financial Mathematics

Lecture (1 hour)

Q&A for Mid-term exam

Week 6: 21 October 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Foundations of Risk and Insurance - Premium Principles, Pooling and Dependence

Tutorial (1 hour)

Risk and Insurance II

Lab (1.5 hours)

Algorithms and pseudocode

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Lecture (1 hour)

Foundations of Life Insurance Techniques

Week 7: 28 October 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Foundations of Life Insurance Techniques

Tutorial (1 hour)

Life techniques I

Lab (1.5 hours)

Data visualisation I (Theory)

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Week 8: 4 November 2019Lecture

Regulation Risk Management Guest lecture: APRA (TBC)

Tutorial (1 hour)

Life techniques II

Lab (1.5 hours)

Data visualisation II (Basic visualisation tools)

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Week 9: 11 November 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Foundations of General Insurance Techniques

Tutorial (1 hour)

GI techniques I

Lab (1.5 hours)

Data visualisation III (Advanced visualisation with ggplot2 and Shiny)

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Lecture (1 hour)

Foundations of General Insurance Techniques

Week 10: 18 november 2019Lecture (2 hours)

Life insurance, Wealth Management, and Superannuation

Tutorial (1 hour)

GI techniques II

Lab (1.5 hours)

Numerical and symbolic methods and efficient calculation in R

Mini-assignment due for previous week's lab.

Lecture (1 hour)


Week 11: 25 NovemberLabs

Week 10 mini-assignment due, 12pm


General Insurance and Health

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

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