Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Actuarial Science

The program information below is valid for the spring 2019 term (May 1, 2019 - August 31, 2019).

The Graduate Studies Academic Calendar is updated 3 times per year, at the start of each academic term (January 1, May 1, September 1). Graduate Studies Academic Calendars from previous terms can be found in the archives.

Graduate research fields

  • Actuarial Science Practice
  • Actuarial Science Theory
  • Finance
  • Probability
  • Admit term(s) 
    • Fall
    • Spring
  • Delivery mode 
    • On-campus
  • Program type 
    • Doctoral
    • Research
  • Registration option(s) 
    • Full-time
    • Part-time
  • Study option(s) 
  • Minimum requirements 
    • A Master's degree in statistics or actuarial science, completed or expected.
    • At least an overall 78% average from a Canadian university (or its equivalent).
    • An interview may be required.
  • Application materials 
    • Résumé
    • Supplementary information form
    • Transcript(s)
  • References 
    • Number of references:  3
    • Type of references: 

      normally from academic sources

  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students must complete 5 one-term (0.50 unit weight) courses with an overall average of at least 70%; these courses must include STAT 850 Estimation and Hypothesis Testing and STAT 901 Theory of Probability and 3 900-level ACTSC courses.
    • Students without a master's degree and entering the PhD with only a bachelor's degree, will be required to take 8 one-term courses with an overall average of at least 70%; these courses must include STAT 850 Estimation and Hypothesis Testing and STAT 901 Theory of Probability and 3 900-level ACTSC courses.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Graduate Skills Workshop
    • Students must complete the Graduate Skills Workshop during the first year of the program.
    • Students who have successfully completed this requirement in their master's program will be exempt.
  • Research Presentation
    • Students are expected to deliver at least 3 seminars during their program. The purpose of this requirement is to provide students with an opportunity to improve their presentation skills. Each seminar should be attended by one, or preferably two, departmental faculty members.
  • PhD Comprehensive Examination I
    • In Stage I of the PhD Comprehensive Examination, the aim is to ensure that the student has an adequate knowledge of topics covered in the Honours Statistics program at the University of Waterloo. To demonstrate that the student has this adequate knowledge, the student will normally be required to write a formal comprehensive examination designed to test the student's ability to integrate the material from several topic areas (courses).
    • Alternative examination methods may be utilized by the Examining Committee to determine if the results are a true indication of the student's knowledge of the material. For example, if the Committee feels that the student has the knowledge of the material in a topic, but has not been able to demonstrate it in the written examination, the Committee may conduct an oral examination for that topic. The choice of the examination method is at the discretion of the Examining Committee.
  • PhD Comprehensive Examination II
    • Students are required to meet the University-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements outlined in the “Minimum requirements for the PhD degree” section of the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar (GSAC), with certain noted differences that are specific to the Faculty of Mathematics Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements:
      • Comprehensive examination purpose: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Timing: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements. 
      • Committee: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements. Note: The Faculty of Mathematics wishes to use the option to have the committee approved by a delegate of the Associate Dean, namely by the Graduate Officer in the home department of the student.
      • Who Chairs an examination: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Format / Content: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Academic integrity: In the Faculty of Mathematics, when a student needs to submit a written document to their comprehensive examination committee prior to the examination, they are required to sign an acknowledgement form affirming their work does not violate the University policy on Academic Integrity. Students are also encouraged to use a
        plagiarism detection software and include its report with the submission of their written document. Furthermore, the comprehensive examination committee may require the student to use such software and include the report it generated with the submission of their written component.
    • In addition to the University-level and Faculty-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements, students in the PhD in Actuarial Science program are also required to meet the following requirements:
      • The Stage II Comprehensive Examination is a diagnostic examination, the purpose of which is to test a student's preparedness to undertake thesis research. The format of this aspect of the comprehensive requirement is that of a public, oral presentation of a thesis proposal, followed by questioning from the student's Stage II Committee and any other members of the university community who may be present. A written thesis proposal is submitted prior to the examination.
      • The Stage II Comprehensive Examination Committee consists of the supervisor and at least two additional faculty members from the Department. The composition of the Stage II Committee must be approved by the Graduate Committee, and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies will act as a neutral chair of the Committee of examiners, or will appoint a faculty member to serve in that capacity.
  • PhD Thesis
    • The PhD thesis examination, which is the culmination of the candidate's research efforts as a graduate student, is divided into two stages:
      • Departmental Thesis Presentation
      • University Thesis Defence
    • Departmental Thesis Presentation: PhD students are required to present the results of their research before interested members of the department. This departmental thesis presentation is intended to fulfil several purposes. Students have an opportunity to practise their presentation skills and to gain valuable experience in answering questions about their work in a public setting. As well, faculty and graduate students who are interested in the thesis topic are provided with an overview of the student's research prior to the actual thesis examination.
    • PhD Thesis Examination: the student shall defend the thesis in an oral examination before an Examining Committee, which shall consist of the supervisor(s), two faculty members in the Department, one faculty member from outside the Department, and an external examiner familiar with the student's research field. The Committee is approved by the Faculty Graduate Committee.