Actuaries assess, evaluate and manage the financial risks faced by individuals, organisations and governments for future planning. Risks include illness, disability and death, the effects of natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes, and major economic or social change.

If you choose to major in actuarial studies you will have a firm grounding in the traditional actuarial skill set of mathematics, statistics, demography, finance and economics. This background, coupled with strong analytical skills, sees actuaries serving as financial advisers to a range of organisations including life, general and health insurance companies; banks and other financial institutions; superannuation funds; and governments. Actuaries tackle many types of problems, most of which involve uncertainty about the future.

Learn more about the Centre for Actuarial Studies.

In most cases, the Actuarial Studies major is only available for students commencing in Semester 1.

If you have any queries, please contact us:

Shona WillsI knew I wanted to major in actuarial studies, and the University of Melbourne was one of few universities that offered this major. Choosing Commerce at Melbourne was the best decision I could have made. I enjoy every moment of my studies, have made many friendships among my classmates, and am confident the skills I've developed in my degree will be useful and relevant to my employment upon graduation.
Shona Wills
BCom graduate; now works at McKinsey & Company

Professional accreditation

To qualify as an actuary, a student must pass (or be exempt from) three parts of the professional accreditation as prescribed by the Actuaries Institute Australia. The first two parts can be undertaken as a part of the Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree.

If students complete relevant subjects at the University of Melbourne, and perform sufficiently well, they will be recommended for exemption from the corresponding subjects offered by the Actuaries Institute. Should a student receive exemption from all corresponding subjects, they will be exempt from both Part I and Part II by the end of the Honours degree. Successful completion of Parts I and II of the Actuaries Institute requirements exempts a graduate from all examinations required for Associateship of the Actuaries Institute. If a student does not obtain the mark needed to achieve exemption, they do not have to repeat the subject. As long as a pass mark or above is achieved, the subject will still be credited towards the Bachelor of Commerce.

Part III of the professional accreditation is set by the Actuaries Institute. These examinations are held in May and October each year and are undertaken after university, while a person is working full time.

The length of time taken to qualify varies from student to student. The qualification can be achieved in a minimum of five years, but the average time to gain full accreditation is between seven and eight years (including the four years of study to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)).

James MorrisCommerce has always appealed to me because it combines all the things that I find interesting and gives them a real-world grounding. You can see how things are affected by a diverse range of factors, and you don't feel like you're studying something purely theoretical it's all very practical. The actuarial major is challenging and has taught me a lot of useful skills, from the highly analytical and mathematics-based right through to the more managerial side. Actuarial is a combination of statistics, probability and finance, so you get to study a lot of interesting maths and learn a lot of statistical techniques, but you also get to ground this in finance and learn about the pricing of different instruments.

James Morris
Bachelor of Commerce student

Sample course plan - Bachelor of Commerce1
Major in Actuarial Studies2

This sample course plan names compulsory subjects in the BCom and all subjects required for actuarial accreditation. In total, subjects required for the actuarial studies major comprise 21 of 24 subjects in the degree. These subjects also fulfil honours entry requirements for the actuarial discipline.

Year 1 Semester 1 Introductory Microeconomics Accounting Reports and Analysis Principles of Finance Accelerated Mathematics 1

Semester 2
Introductory Macroeconomics Introductory Financial Accounting3

Introduction to Actuarial Studies

Accelerated Mathematics 2
Year 2
Semester 1
Financial Mathematics 1Probability Organisational Behaviour

Commerce Elective

Semester 2

Financial Mathematics 2

Statistics Intermediate Macroeconomics3

Non Mathematics Breadth

Year 3
Semester 1

Actuarial Modelling 1

Actuarial Modelling 2

Financial Mathematics 3

Non Mathematics breadth

Semester 2

Contingencies (25 points)

Actuarial Statistics

Models for Insurance and Finance


Core Actuarial Major Breadth
Commerce Elective   

1This is a sample course plan only. Subjects offered may change from year to year. You will be advised of our current subject offerings prior to subject selection and enrolment.

2International Applicants intending to commence a major in Actuarial Studies from mid-year (July) must, at a minimum, meet the requirements to enter MAST10006 Calculus 2 that requires a study score of at least 29 in VCE Specialist Mathematics 3/4, or IB Higher Level Mathematics.

3These subjects are required for accreditation as an actuary.