Welcome to the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science is among the top academic units for statistical and actuarial science in the world and is home to more than 40 research active full-time faculty working in diverse and exciting areas. The Department is also home to over 900 undergraduate students and about 150 graduate students in programs including Actuarial Science, Biostatistics, Quantitative Finance, Statistics, and Statistics-Computing.

We are located on University of Waterloo main campus, which is located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle about 100 kilometers west of Toronto.

  1. Oct. 19, 2018Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA)

    DEADLINE for Winter 2018 is October 19, 2018

    The Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.  The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science has 6 awards available for Winter 2019 term.

    This award allows you to conduct research in a university environment full time for a term. The goal is to stimulate your interest in research and to encourage students to enroll in graduate studies in Statistics and Actuarial Sciences.  If you would like to gain research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting, this award provides you with financial support.

    Continue reading on the USRA page

  2. Aug. 14, 2018The perceptions of retirement could have negative impactsProfessors Mary Hardy and David Saunders

    Not only do Canadians nearing retirement or already retired expect to work longer, but a majority of them believe they’ll have low liquid retirement assets.

    PhD candidate Saisai Zhang and professors Mary Hardy and David Saunders conducted the 2016 Ontario Retirement Survey (ORS). The report examines the retirement concerns and risk preferences of 1,000 randomly selected Ontario pre-retirees and retirees aged 50 to 80.

  3. Aug. 8, 2018The University of Waterloo Received a Center for Actuarial Excellence Research Grant from the Society of Actuaries

    The University of Waterloo won the 2017 Centers of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) grant competition!

    The Society of Actuaries has awarded the University of Waterloo a research grant of USD $297,000 on a 3-year project entitled “Maintaining Financial Stability in an Era of Changing Climate and Demographics”. This project is intended to develop models and pricing methods, and to create new risk measures and risk management solutions, pertaining to changes with the climate and demographics. Professor Johnny Li is this project’s principal investigator.

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  1. Sep. 27, 2018Department seminar by Yuanying Guan, Indiana University Northwest

    Agent-based Asset Pricing, Learning, and Chaos


    The Lucas asset pricing model is one of the most studied model in financial economics in the past decade. In our research, we relax the original assumptions in Lucas model of homogeneous agents and rational expectations. We populate an artificial economy with heterogeneous and boundedly rational agents. By defining a Correct Expectations Equilibrium, agents are able to compute their policy functions and the equilibrium pricing function without perfect information about the market. A natural adaptive learning scheme is given to agents to update their predictions. We examine the convergence of equilibrium with this learning scheme and show that the equilibrium is learnable (convergent) under certain parameter combinations. We also investigate the market dynamics when agents are out of equilibrium, including the cases where prices have excess volatility and the trading volume is high. Numerical simulations show that our system exhibits rich dynamics, including a whole cascade from period doubling bifurcations to chaos.

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Faculty Joint Publications

Map of Faculty and PhD Students backgrounds

Meet our people

David Saunders

David Saunders

Director - Master of Quantitative Finance Program / Associate Professor

Contact Information:
David Saunders

David Saunders's personal website

Research interests

Decision making under uncertainty is prevalent in all human endeavours. The pervasive need to make critical decisions while faced with imperfect knowledge of the future is perhaps most acute in the area of finance. This has resulted in a commensurate demand for tools that allow market participants to analyze and manage their risks effectively. Professor Saunders' research focuses on the application of stochastic optimization and probability, particularly to problems in finance.