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Bachelor of Actuarial Studies (Co-op)

Start your career as an actuary with 15 months of industry experience, financial support and a quantitative skillset with the Bachelor of Actuarial Studies (Co-op).

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Develop a specialist skillset and pair it with a second major in a business topic such as; finance, fintech, information systems or actuarial risk management and analytics. Put skills and knowledge to use in real-world experiences during 3 industry training placements with our sponsors. Build professional knowledge with career mentoring that focuses on leadership.

Graduates gain the contacts, experience and technical skills for excellent career outcomes leading to key roles in superannuation, insurance and financial service organisations.

The Co-op Program was a huge help in my career. It gave me three excellent internships opportunities where I could explore different types of roles and companies. It was a fantastic learning experience and highly complemented my university degree.

Yiling Cheah
Business Development Manager, BIMA
Read more about Yiling’s experience of the Co-op Program.

Why choose this bachelor’s degree?

UNSW Business School is a leading business school in the Asia-Pacific, and we rank 1st worldwide for Risk and Actuarial Studies. Read more about our rankings and reputation.

The Bachelor of Actuarial Studies (Co-op) is a 4 year program with limited places for exceptional students. It incorporates a tax-free scholarship (paid fortnightly), a suite of professional development activities and leadership mentoring. This challenging and rewarding program has the opportunity for global work and study experiences and professional recognition. Students have the freedom to choose exciting electives or a second business major in areas such as accounting, finance, information systems or actuarial risk management and analytics.

The Co-op Program scholarship is open to high achieving high school leavers. Visit the UNSW Co-op Program for more information and to apply.


The 1st year of the program will introduce the topics of accounting, financial management, actuarial studies, probability, economics, business finance and people management. See the program structure for detailed information.

In the 2nd year, undertake your 1st industry placement in conjunction with studies in actuarial models, financial mathematics for actuaries, and probability and mathematical statistics.

The 3rd and 4th years of the program provide 2 more industry placements, paired with studies in data analytics, life contingencies, general insurance, asset/liability and derivatives.

Global work/study opportunities

Co-op students can participate in an international student exchange, international business case competitions and study tours.

Co-op Scholarship, Mentoring and Internships

The Co-op scholarship is A$19,600 each year for 4 years. It is tax-free and paid fortnightly over the duration of the program.

Students are assigned their own mentor – a graduate of the Co-op Program who helps shape goals and strategies for success in the 1st industry placement, along with general career advice.

The Program includes 3 work placements provided by the Co-op's distinguished industry partners. Sponsors include EY, PwC and NDIA. Visit the Co-op Program for more information.

Professional recognition

This degree is professionally recognised and prepares graduates with a career-ready standard of knowledge. It is fully accredited by the Institute of Actuaries of Australia and relevant courses are approved for VEE by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) in the US.

UNSW Business School degrees are shaped by industry leaders and world-class academics who recognise the future will present career opportunities that don’t exist today. Our Bachelor of Actuarial Studies (Co-op) is designed to embed you within industry and train your mind to adapt to future challenges. You will understand business concepts, practice problem-solving, and build skills in critical thinking and decision making.

For the 3 year non-scholarship program, visit the UNSW Bachelor of Actuarial Studies.

Who is this degree for?

  • High-achieving students who want industry training and experience throughout their degree
  • Those interested in a quantitative career in the financial services, insurance or superannuation industry
  • Those seeking financial support during study

Job and career prospects

Actuaries evaluate and manage risk, by applying mathematical, statistical, and financial analyses across a wide range of industries, including insurance, superannuation, wealth management, data analytics, banking and finance. Graduate roles may include:

  • Actuarial Analyst
  • Asset Management Trainee
  • Business Consultant
  • Credit Analyst
  • Insurance Analyst
  • Investment Banker
  • Risk assessment Officer
  • Superannuation Adviser
  • Wealth Management Analyst

Find out how we prepare our graduates for career success

The Bachelor of Actuarial Studies (Co-op) combines a strong, 4 year academic program with 15 months of industry experience with highly sought after sponsor organisations.

The program consists of 32 courses (192 UOC):

  • 16 core courses
  • Free electives*
  • General education courses (choose from other faculties)
  • Industrial training courses

* You can use these to complete a second major (from approved areas of study). Some majors will require additional study above the minimum 192 UOC.

Core courses

ACCT1501 Accounting and Financial Management 1A

​The compulsory core accounting unit will have a preparer perspective. It will provide an introduction to basic concepts in accounting and their application for decision making by a wide range of potential users (e.g., shareholders, investment analysts, lenders, managers etc). This unit should benefit students who wish to specialise in accounting and those students whose primary interest lies elsewhere in the field of business.

On completion, students should have a clear understanding of the accounting process and the language of accounting to enable communication with an accounting professional, understand the relevance of accounting information for informed decision making by a wide range of potential users, and have the ability to analyse and interpret accounting information. Topics covered will include the accounting equation, general purpose financial reports, cash and accrual accounting, adjustments, internal control, the accounting for key balance sheet assets, and interpreting and preparing information for managers to use in planning, decision making and control.

ACCT1511 Accounting and Financial Management 1B

​Taken together, the accounting course in the compulsory core (ACCT1501) and this accounting course form an integrated study program designed to give students an understanding of the way in which financial information is generated and used, and to provide an appropriate platform for further study in accounting. On completion the first year accounting courses seek to develop students’: technical competence in recording economic events in the accounting system; a critical understanding of key technical terms and concepts so as to interpret accounting information and reports in the financial press; an ability to argue a reasoned position on key questions of accounting theory and practice; and familiarity with institutional structures that affect the practice of accounting.

Topics covered in this course will include accounting for non-current assets and liabilities, revenues and expenses, balance sheet and income statement preparation, cash flow statements, ratio analysis, accounting policy choice and further detail on management accounting (including costing systems and budgeting).

ACTL1101 Introduction to Actuarial Studies

This course is designed to provide an introduction to actuarial studies. It covers the basic principles underlying the actuarial analysis and management of insurance, superannuation and other financial contracts. It also aims to demonstrate the importance of statistics, mathematics, demography, economics, accounting, finance, business law and computing to actuarial studies.

ACTL2102 Foundations of Actuarial Models

This course provides an introduction to the probability models used by actuaries for both liabilities and assets. Topics covered include the terminology of stochastic processes; main features of a Markov chain and application to experience rating; Markov process models and application to survival, sickness and marriage models; simple time series models including random walk and auto-regressive models and their application to investment variables; properties of Brownian motion and applications to investment variables; methods for simulation. Students will be required to implement models using spreadsheets and programs in a numerical computer package.

ACTL2111 Financial Mathematics for Actuaries

​This course develops the financial mathematics required for the analysis of financial transactions. Topics covered include: mathematics of compound interest; analysis and valuation of annuities, bonds, loans and other securities; yield curves and immunisation; introduction to stochastic interest rate models and actuarial applications.

ACTL2131 Probability and Mathematical Statistics

This course covers probability and statistics topics relevant to actuarial studies. Topics covered include univariate and multivariate random variables, moments, moment generating functions, marginal and conditional distributions, sampling distributions, estimation methods, hypothesis tests, and linear regression. Examples relevant to actuarial studies, finance, and insurance are used to illustrate the application of the topics covered.

ACTL3141 Actuarial Models and Statistics

​This course covers survival models and their estimation as well as applications in insurance and finance. Specific topics include: the concept of survival models and actuarial notation; estimation of lifetime distributions; multiple state models; maximum likelihood estimation of transition intensities; the binomial model of mortality and its estimation; models with transition intensities depending on age and duration; the census approximation and formulae; statistical comparison of crude rates with a standard table; graduation of crude estimates and tests of fidelity and smoothness; analysis of mortality/morbidity and the main forms of selection; models for projection of mortality. The analysis of data using numerical computer packages developed during the course will form part of the course assessment.

This course covers material in the Subject CT4 Models of the Institute of Actuaries, covering Units 5-13 of CT4.

ACTL3151 Life Contingencies

This course covers the techniques for deriving the value for pricing and reserving purposes of life insurance risks, including an appreciation of the analysis of change on the examination of the assumptions. Students will use spreadsheets to perform computations and be given exercises that require participation in teams. The course also covers contemporary management issues in life insurance including longevity, premium rating, selection and capital management. This course will cover the requirements for the Actuaries Institute CT5 course and students gaining at least a credit assessment will be recommended for exemption from the CT5 course.

ACTL3162 General Insurance Techniques

This course covers the actuarial mathematics, statistics and models used in non-life insurance actuarial practice. Topics covered include: basic concepts of decision theory and Bayesian statistics; loss distributions and reinsurance, risk models including compound Poisson; estimation of aggregate claims distribution; probability of ruin; premium rating and credibility; experience rating systems; claims reserving for loss run-off data and generalised linear models. Students will apply these techniques with respect to principles of effective general insurance management. This course will cover the requirements for the Actuaries Institute CT6 course and students gaining at least a credit assessment will be recommended for exemption from the CT6 course.

ACTL3182 Asset-Liability and Derivative Models

This course is to provide students with an appreciation of the mathematical and economic models of investment markets and highlight their application (and shortcomings) in asset-liability management for insurance, superannuation and funds management and in the pricing of derivatives. Topics covered include; risk and utility; risk measures; mean variance models; factor models; asset liability models using portfolio selection models; equilibrium and arbitrage-free valuation; valuation of derivatives; term structure models; credit risk models and actuarial stochastic investment models and their application. The topics will be illustrated with applications to the valuation and risk management of insurance and superannuation contracts especially those with embedded options and financial guarantees - with a particular focus on the inadequacies of the models for investment risk management. The course will include case studies on investment and derivative disasters. This course will cover the requirements for the Actuaries Institute CT8 course and students gaining at least a credit assessment will be recommended for exemption from the CT8 course.

ECON1101 Microeconomics 1

Economics is a social science that studies the ways in which people interact with one another and make decisions in a world with limited resources. The goal of this course is to provide you with the basic tools to “think like an economist” – that is, to be able to use basic economic principles to ask and answer questions about how the world works and the effect of policies. We will cover topics such as how individuals or firms make decisions about the demand or supply of a product, how we can determine the efficiency of a market, and how we evaluate the costs and benefits of government intervention in a market.

ECON1102 Macroeconomics 1

Macroeconomics studies the aggregate behaviour of the economy. This course provides an introduction to the economic analysis of key macroeconomic variables such as output, employment, inflation, interest rates and exchange rates. The important elements of the course include measurement of macroeconomic variables, the development of models and theories to explain the behaviour of macroeconomic variables, the use of empirical evidence in evaluating different models, and the role of government policy in seeking to influence macroeconomic outcomes. The course will provide students with a framework for understanding the workings of the whole economy and the various interactions among households, business and governments.

FINS1613 Business Finance

This is a first level corporate finance course that looks at the essential aspects of financial decision-making. The course begins with the different ways in which companies can be structured and the differing types of ownership that exist. Next, the principles and applications of financial mathematics are introduced and used to value securities and investment decisions. Portfolio theory is used to provide a foundation for determining the relationship between expected risk and returns in financial and real asset investments. Dividend payouts and the choices between debt and equity financing, including methods of determining the cost of capital, are also covered. Further, this course includes analysis of the influence of the capital market environment, the implications of financial risk, taxation and the conflict of interest between managers and investors on the value and operation of businesses. The course develops distinct conceptual frameworks and specialised tools for solving real-world financial problems at both the personal and corporate level. Illustrations from real-life corporate practices are used to highlight the importance and relevance of financial management to the realisation of personal and corporate financial objectives. Examples include personal financial planning, funds management, capital raisings, portfolio selection of financial securities, private equity, public floats and the pricing of assets in the stock market.

The course emphasizes the importance of Ethics in Finance. Students with no knowledge in finance will be introduced to conceptual foundations of ethics required to interpret professional standards arising from various industry advisory authorities on professional ethical conduct including the Banking Royal Commission, CFA Institute, and United Nations. In doing so, it provides a language in ethics to discuss ethical issues in the context of the finance profession.

MATH1151 Mathematics for Actuarial Studies and Finance 1A

Vectors and vector geometry, linear equations, matrices and matrix algebra, basic input-output linear models, determinants, least squares approximation, probability and statistics. Limits, continuous and differentiable functions, mean value theorem, fundamental theorem of calculus, numerical integration, functions of several variables, introduction to Matlab.

Assumed knowledge: HSC Mathematics Extension 1. Students will be expected to have achieved a combined mark of at least 140 in Mathematics and Mathematics Extension 1 or 180 in Mathematics Extension 1 and Extension 2.

MATH1251 Mathematics for Actuarial Studies and Finance 1B

Complex numbers, vector spaces, polynomial interpolation, linear transformations, Markov processes, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Exact and numerical solution of ordinary differential equations, sequences, double integrals, Lagrange multipliers.

MGMT1001 Managing Organisations and People

This course provides an introduction to the fundamental principles, practices, issues and debates associated with the management of public, business and third sector organisations. The frameworks, concepts and theories covered in the course are introduced to explain how managers deal with the diversity of issues faced in the effective management of contemporary organisations.
The underpinning themes of the course centre on how managers can deal with the multiple demands of complex and turbulent environments, promote and sustain competitive advantage, manage changing social, political and technological factors inside and outside the organisation, ensure ethical and social responsibility, develop global organisations and manage diversity in the workforce. How management goes about its principal tasks of managing strategy, structures, people and systems are the key focus issues of the course. The main roles of modern management - planning, leading, innovating, organising and controlling - are also examined.
Topics include the emergence, evolution and structure of management, conceptions of managerial work; management fads, fashion and knowledge; the task and internal environment; regulating people; the nature of organising; change and innovation; decision-making; influence processes; power and politics; ethical issues and professionalism in management; performance management: control and planning; and current trends.

Entry to this degree is based on successful Co-op Program application in addition to your Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) or an equivalent rank derived from the following:

  • Australian interstate Year 12 qualifications (e.g. OP rank)
  • New Zealand NCEA Level 3
  • Equivalent overseas qualifications e.g. International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, GCE A-Levels
  • Post-secondary or tertiary qualifications
  • An alternative entry qualification

Domestic students
For further information on domestic admission requirements, see UNSW Future Students degree finder.

International students
This degree is not available to international students.

The UNSW English Language requirements also apply to this degree.

Additional requirements
You are required to lodge a UNSW Co-op Scholarship application.


Domestic students

If you are an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or New Zealand citizen, you apply online through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

You are required to apply online through UNSW Co-op program office. Find out more about applying for the Co-op scholarships program.

International students

This program is not available to international students.

Further information

Phone: +61 2 9385 5116

Email: cooprog@unsw.edu.au

Web: www.coop.unsw.edu.au 

Please note: If you want to study the Bachelor of Actuarial Studies (even if you are not offered a Co-op scholarship), you still need to list the Bachelor of Actuarial Studies (UAC code: 424300) in your preferences.

UNSW Business School students are some of Australia’s best and brightest, with a reputation for drive and innovation. Our graduates have exceptional employability rates, performing well above the national average. The majority of our students are employed full-time within four months of graduating and earning a wage higher than most business & management graduates.

Our degrees include up to two for-credit industry experiences, such as internships or global business practicums. These experiences are part of a suite of opportunities that is exclusive to UNSW’s Business School students and organised through Career Accelerator. The professional development opportunities complement your studies, build connections to industry and give you a clear advantage after graduation.

The opportunities are grouped within the Networking, Mentoring, Internships, and Global sections of Career Accelerator.


The people you meet during your time at university can play a profound role in positively shaping your career. Connect with like-minded and influential people through:

  • Business Connect - an introduction to Networking
  • Industry Insights – workshop sessions delivered by industry partners
  • Industry Events – invitation-only events hosted by industry partners
  • Business Case Competitions – impress future employers with your problem-solving skills


Participating in a mentoring program will boost your confidence, help grow your professional network, develop your communication, teamwork and leadership skills as well as building upon your business acumen.

  • Mentor Connect – a quick, online chat with an AGSM MBA student about your future
  • Career Mentoring Program – a 10-week program of career mentoring and coaching


UNSW Business School’s for-credit and not-for-credit opportunities such consultancy projects, social entrepreneurship practicums, virtual internships and extra-curricular experiences.

  • Internships & Consulting Projects – real-world and virtual projects for program credit
  • Social Entrepreneurship Practicum – practicum to develop professional team skills in a real project for program credit
  • Business Experience – real-world and virtual projects for professional development

Global Opportunities

The personal and professional benefits of living, studying or working in a different culture are immense and recognised by employers.

  • Global Business Practicum - work in small cross-disciplinary student consulting team on a genuine business issue, usually in Asia
  • Social Entrepreneurship Practicum - build entrepreneurial, workplace and leadership capabilities in India
  • Business Immersion China - blend business, culture and Chinese language classes with company visits and excursions to sights of significant cultural importance around Shanghai
  • International Information Systems & Technology Practicum – experience how e-business systems differ across international borders
  • Student Exchange – live and study overseas for up to 3 terms at one of our 200 partner universities

A Bachelor of Commerce prepares you for long-term business success. UNSW Business School graduates are currently employed in a variety of professions including: accountant/auditors, commercial managers, economists, financial advisors, human resource consultants, ICT business/system analysts, international business development managers, investment bankers, management consultants, marketing/brand managers, property business analysts, recruitment officers, and tax advisors – to name a few.

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Quick facts for students

Program code
UAC code
Bachelor Degree
Assumed Knowledge
Mathematics Extension 1
Lowest Rank
97.50 + Co-op
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
Study Mode
Face to face
4 years full-time
Commencing terms
Term 1 – February
HECS fee band
Band 3
Program fee (total)

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