BlogANUWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU

ANU Actuarial Studies - Fact Sheet

Contemplating whether studying a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU is the best fit for you? 

You’ve come to the right place as we give you the run-down on everything you need to know about the degree, including the subjects, assessments, culture, staff and more! 

Let’s explore!

What is a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU?

A Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU is a 3-year degree that equips students with the mathematical, statistical, financial, economic and IT skills to analyse and manage risks in the commercial world. It’s a very stimulating and challenging degree that teaches skills that can be used in a variety of different areas, including insurance, superannuation, banking, government and finance.

“My expectation was that it would be very mathematical, but when you enter this degree, you realise that it’s a lot more about statistics, finance and economics.

It’s a very selective degree, and it’s difficult even if you have a background in mathematics. By our third year, the cohort shrinks so much as its one of those degrees with a very high dropout rate.” — Aarfa Khan, Bachelor of Actuarial Studies/Bachelor of Finance III at ANU

Who should study a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU?

This degree is well suited to students who are eager to analyse big data, passionate about solving mathematical problems and interested in analysing financial risks for future problems. If you’re studying Mathematics Extension, Business Studies, Economics or Information Processes and Technology, an Actuarial degree could be just the thing for you!

Can you study it with another degree or as Honours?     

At ANU, there are a range of flexible double degree options to complement a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies. Whether you’re interested in Health and Medical Sciences, Business and Commerce, Law and Legal Studies, IT and Engineering, Arts and Culture or Science, there is an option to suit any interest.

Some of the many available double degree choices include:

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Finance
  • Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences
  • Bachelor of Medical Science
  • Bachelor of Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Accounting
  • Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics
  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

Students also have the option of completing an additional year of Honours if they achieve a distinction level or above and have received approval by the College. The Honours program is ideal for students seeking to undertake independent research and meet the Actuaries Institute Part II requirements

Career Paths

The career options for a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies degree are highly attractive and lucrative, yet the most common pathway for students is insurance, particularly life insurance. Apart from the usual route as an investment analyst, students can also explore a range of fields in commerce including finance, banking and economics.

Alternatively, students can go on to complete a Master of Actuarial Studies and PhD program if they’re interested in going into academia. A few of the potential career roles that students can end up in include:

  • Fund administrator
  • Financial analyst
  • Investment banker
  • Superannuation adviser
  • Consultant
  • Liability manager

Learn about what an Actuary does here!

Core Units for this Degree

What are the Core Units?

The Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU requires students to complete 72 compulsory units, which comes out to 14 subjects. Core units are prerequisites to many of the actuarial exemption courses and many are focussed on foundational knowledge of finance, economic and statistical courses.

Most first year subjects are core units, and the class sizes usually hold around 400 to 500 people in a class, due to overlapping with a lot of different degrees.

Many of the core units are based on statistics, with subjects like Survival Models, Risk Modelling 1 and Life Contingencies developing analysis skills for the application of risk techniques. Just a few of the other core units that students undertake in their actuarial degree include

  • BUSN1001 Business Reporting and Analysis
  • ECON1101 Microeconomics 1
  • STAT1008 Quantitative Research Methods
  • STAT2013 Introductory Mathematical Statistics for Actuarial Studies
  • STAT2005 Introduction to Stochastic Processes
  • STAT2014 Regression Modelling for Actuarial Studies
  • STAT2032 Financial Mathematics
  • STAT3038 Actuarial Techniques

Can you take on an internship?

While a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU doesn’t offer any subject-based internship placements, many of the later year subjects have very practical components in them. Students in Actuarial Components, a third year subject, develop actuarial capabilities by examining sample actuarial problems and report their solutions to the stakeholders of the problem.

Are there any majors?

In a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU, your main major is actually actuarial studies itself! However, you do have the option to complete an additional major, minor or specialisation if you have enough electives remaining from your core units.

Students have 48 units of electives, comprising 10 subjects, so they may choose to use those electives to specialise in certain areas, including finance, accounting, statistics and mathematics.

How to Get into a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU

The ATAR guarantee for entry into a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU is 92.

Assumed Knowledge and Prerequisite Subjects

The prerequisites of Mathematics Extension or Specialist Mathematics/Specialist Methods (ACT) is necessary for entry into a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU.

Adjustment Factors

If you don’t meet the necessary ATAR for a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU, there are various adjustment schemes in place to recognise high achievers and students facing difficult circumstances throughout their studies. Adjustment factors are available in the National Access Scheme, Educational Access Scheme and Elite Athlete Friendly University Entry Scheme to support students in meeting their educational goals. 

What scholarships are available?

With scholarships available for domestic and international students, ANU provides plenty of opportunities for students to receive financial support in recognition of their academic achievement, athletic performance and difficult circumstances. The ANU College of Business and Economics Changing Futures Scholarship is valued at $22,000 and serves to support students who are facing financial disadvantage.

What’s the Teaching Format?

A Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU is delivered across two semesters per year:

  • Semester 1: Late February to late May
  • Semester 2: Late July to late October

Class Structure

ANU Actuarial Studies - Class Structure


Lectures are recorded and can be anywhere from 15 minutes, with 5 per week, to 1.5 hours, usually as a single lecture per week, depending on the subject. First year courses usually have less content, so there are fewer lectures during the week, but this increases as you enter your second and third year. 


Tutorials are also recorded, occurring once per week for usually 1 hour with a class size of typically around 10 to 20 people.

Prior to your tutorials, you will receive practice questions to work on, and during class you will get a recap of the course material of the previous week’s content and then collaborate on solving the questions. Tutorials are a great space to ask any questions that you may have and engage with your fellow students.


Workshops usually run once or twice per week for 1-2 hours and most of them are purely for Actuarial students, so the class sizes are typically very small with 10 to 15 people. Workshops are an extension to the content in the lectures, so they will elaborate on how that course content is applicable to an actuarial setting or a data analytic setting.

How much time do you spend on campus? 

If you study a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies, you’ll usually take 4 subjects per semester on a full-time load, however you can choose to under-load or overload. As such, you’ll most likely have 15-20 contact hours per week.

What are the assessments like?

The assessments for a Bachelor of Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU are quite varied due to the wide range of content that you cover from finance to statistics to mathematics and more. The style of assessments typically occurs in three different formats:

  1. A 70% final exam, with the remaining 30% divided in three 10% assessments, or two 5% quizzes and two 10% assessments
  2. A 50% final assessment, and a 25% mid semester exam and 25% assignment
  3. A 50% final exam, and two 25% group assessments

Group assessments are pretty common in your first year, and typically involve a lot of writing by working on an actuarial case study, or by analysing a company’s cash flow, such as in accounting subjects, and writing a report.

What skills do you develop?

ANU Actuarial Studies - Skills

The Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU is focussed on developing graduates who are strategic thinkers and problem solvers with the ability to efficiently analyse complex data and identify risks. The degree works on refining your mathematical skills and applying those to a range of real-world scenarios, as well as establishing expertise in computer-based skills like coding, programming and modelling.

“You need to be able to think in a certain way to break down statistical models and apply them to real-life problems. They can be quite abstract and so to break them down into simple blocks, you need to be able to read and analyse data very well.” — Aarfa Khan

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?


The faculty for a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU is renowned for their dynamic and collaborative teaching approaches. The academic staff are professionals with many years of experience in their field, and they’re very forthcoming in providing support for any student queries.

Many lecturers are open to feedback, and if you let them know that you couldn’t understand the concept in a particular way, they’re usually happy to adjust their teaching approaches to simplify the process.

ANU Actuarial Studies - Quote


While a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies at ANU certainly has a competitive edge, the small cohort boasts a very wide range of academic backgrounds, and everyone is willing to help each other.

Many students have study groups together, and there is a lot of reliance and interdependence among students. There are tons of opportunities to engage with other students, with the ANU Actuarial Society being a major source for social and professional connections.

“Despite it being a heavily academic degree, we make it a point to do something fun in between our work, like we go for laser tag events, bowling nights and more. It’s a really good balance between studies and fun.” — Aarfa Khan

Student Support

The ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) provides plenty of support for students in managing their study plans, exploring exchange options and finding internships and other professional opportunities. The CBE Careers and Student Employability Team are dedicated to helping you navigate your professional career by helping you with resume reviews, interview preparation and networking strategies.

Ashley Sullivan is a Content Writer for Art of Smart Education and is currently undertaking a double degree in Communications (Journalism) and a Bachelor of Laws at UTS. Ashley’s articles have been published in The Comma and Central News. She is a film, fashion and fiction enthusiast who enjoys learning about philosophy, psychology and unsolved mysteries in her spare time.

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