Welcome to the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science is a top-tier academic unit among statistical and actuarial science globally. Our community is engaged in topics such as actuarial science, biostatistics, data science, quantitative finance, statistics, & statistics-computing. Our department is home to more than 60 full-time faculty researching diverse and exciting areas, over 1000 undergraduate students from around the world, and more than 175 graduate students in master, doctoral, and professional programs. 

Undergraduate programs Graduate Programs
  1. May 29, 2023Congratulations to Zhanyi Jiao, Benxuan Shi, and Yuanyuan Zhang for being awarded the 2023-2024 James C. Hickman Scholarship by the Society of Actuaries

    The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science would like to congratulate Zhanyi Jiao, Benxuan Shi, and Yuanyuan Zhang for being three of the six new recipients of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) Hickman Scholarship for 2023-2024, and to Yiping Guo, Liyuan Li, and Michael Zhu for having their stipend renewed.

    The Hickman Scholars Program provides highly  prestigious awards for PhD students in North America who work in fields related to Actuarial Science. The program provides stipends to doctoral candidates who will, through their studies and careers, address the research and education needs of the actuarial profession.

  2. May 11, 2023Students delve deep into data at 2023 ASA DataFest
    Teams Food, Data Divas, and DataCraft

    DataFest Teams from left: Teams "Food," "Data Divas," and "DataCraft"

    From April 28-30, the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science hosted the American Statistical Association (ASA) DataFest: an international data challenge in which teams of undergraduates work to “find and share meaning in a large, rich, and complex data set.” This year, 75 students participated in 20 teams, with 15 teams completing Waterloo’s intense 48-hour challenge. While teams were limited to undergraduates, they had the chance throughout to interact with graduate students, professors, and representatives of Scotiabank, the Waterloo challenge’s major sponsor.

    "A key highlight from this competition was getting the opportunity to network with industry professionals, mentors, and professors,” says Inaara Somani. “It was so valuable and insightful to converse with them about their personal knowledge and experience, as well as pitch our ideas…Not only were these individuals great help during the competition, but it was so exciting to learn new things from them!"

    Continue reading the full story on the Faculty of Mathematics website.

  3. Apr. 25, 2023Math Teaching Fellow Diana Skrzydlo wins Distinguished Teacher Award
    Diana Skrzydlo

    Diana Skrzydlo is one of four recipients of this year’s Distinguished Teacher Award from the Centre for Teaching Excellence.

    Skrzydlo is the Director of the MActSc program, a Continuing Lecturer for the department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, and the Math Teaching Fellow.

    Read the full story on the Faculty of Mathematics website.

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  1. June 1, 2023Seminar by Qingrun Zhang

    Please Note: This seminar will be given in person.

    Statistics and Biostatistics seminar series 

    Qingrun Zhang
    Calgary University

    Room: M3 3127

    Stabilized Core gene and Pathway Election uncovers pan-cancer shared pathways and a cancer-specific driver 

  2. June 2, 2023David Sprott Distinguished Lecture by Vladimir Vovk

    Please Note: This seminar will be given in-person.

    Distinguished Lecture Series

    Vladimir Vovk 
    Royal Holloway, University of London

    Room: DC 1302

    Nonparametric prediction and testing

    The assumption of randomness (the data are generated in the IID fashion) is the key assumption used in machine learning and much of nonparametric statistics. My main topics will be prediction under this assumption and testing the assumption. The treatment of both topics will be based on the relatively recent technique of conformal prediction, but I will try to connect it with David A. Sprott's ideas and areas of research pointing out some paradoxical features of prediction and testing in the framework of unrestricted randomness. On one hand, they are barely possible, in the sense that the existence of non-trivial prediction and testing procedures is fragile: they cease to exist when the problem settings are modified in natural ways. On the other, such procedures can be highly efficient in realistic situations; I will give both theoretical and experimental results demonstrating this.

  3. June 12, 2023Seminar by Elena Tuzhilina

    Please Note: This seminar will be given in person.

    Statistics and Biostatistics seminar series 

    Elena Tuzhilina
    University of Toronto

    Room: M3 3127


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Meet our people

Peter Balka

Peter Balka


Contact Information:
Peter Balka

Research interests

Statistics education.


Peter has been program director for the Math/CA program since 2006. Prior to his appointment as faculty lecturer in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo in 2003, Peter was a faculty member at the University of Alberta and at the College of the Rockies. Peter has a BSc and MSc (biostatistics) from the University of Guelph.