Program plan descriptions



Actuarial Science

Actuaries play key roles in insurance companies and other financial institutions, in governments, and in teaching and research. The MMath in Actuarial Science program provides training for a career as a professional actuary or for the PhD program. PhD graduates typically enter academia or work in the private sector. The many graduate courses offered include investments, risk theory, credibility and ruin theory, demography, funding of pension plans, and actuarial mathematics. Current research areas include risk theory, stochastic modelling, finance, and Monte Carlo methods.

The Master of Actuarial Science (MActSc) is a professional program, designed to recruit highly qualified students with strong quantitative and communication skills. The objective of MActSc is to develop both technical and business skills in the context of the modern risk management environment.

Being part of the program, you will spend one full calendar year, in three intensive semesters, studying 15 courses in actuarial science with a strong applied focus. The program aims to cover material in more depth than the professional exams, ensuring that the most up-to-date techniques and challenges are presented in context. Beyond the professional exams, the program offers an in depth education in financial, actuarial and enterprise risk management.

The program is the only program in North American accredited with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFA) in the U.K. Students with strong average grades are entitled to exemptions from up to 10 IFA examinations, which are recognized around the world.

The MMath (Actuarial Science) is a research-oriented degree program designed for applicants with substantial prior study in actuarial science. Some financial support is available for students on this program, through research assistantships, teaching assistantships and scholarships.

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The Statistics graduate program at Waterloo is a highly reputable program and is designed to prepare students for employment as statisticians in private industry, government, or academia. The program provides students a solid background in statistical theory and can be used as a stepping stone to a doctoral degree in statistics or another related field.

Both the MMath in Statistics and PhD in Statistics seek to establish a firm foundation in the fundamentals of statistical theory and methodology and its correct applications, providing students practical experience with applied methods, including statistical computing and statistical consulting, that is highly valued by industry and government employers. A core of required courses provides a thorough grounding in the theory and methodology needed for the design of experiments and the collection and analysis of data. Possible areas of specialization include most areas of statistical theory, although the faculty is currently engaged in research in the following areas: biostatistics, business and industrial statistics, statistical inference, survey sampling, linear models, exploratory data analysis, statistical machine learning, survival analysis, non-parametric methods, statistical geometry, time series, stochastic processes, and statistical computing.

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Data Science Specialization

Data Science leverages large volumes of data generated from numerous and diverse sources, as well as any new kind of cloud interaction as it becomes available in our increasingly digital world. 

In this Master of Mathematics (Statistics - Data Science Specialization) program you will study the application and development of methods that facilitate insight from available data in order to understand, predict, and improve business strategy, products and services, marketing campaigns, medicine, public health and safety, as well as numerous other pursuits. 

The methods of Data Science involve elements of both Statistics and Computer Science. The need for integrated graduate training across both disciplines is acutely felt across all industries. These two programs in Computer Science and Statistics are seamlessly integrated with one another and provide breadth and depth in both areas as they pertain to the emerging and world-recognized discipline of data science. Individuals with knowledge in this area are in high demand.

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Biostatistics is an exciting field of statistics concerned with the development and application of statistical methods to problems arising in health, biology, and the environment. Biostatisticians can play important roles in many facets of research including refining the research question, designing studies, analysing data, making predictions, and critical appraisal. The increasing number of pressing problems in health, biological, and environmental research often warrants the development of innovative statistical methods. Biostatisticians are often best equipped to make these innovations.

Biostatistics is one of the department's largest specialty areas in graduate studies and the department has some of the leading researchers in the field. The department enjoys strong connections with several health and biological research groups on campus including the Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, the School of Optometry, and the Population Health Research Group. Faculty and graduate students also frequently engage in collaborative work with industrial groups such as GlaxoSmithKline(GSK) Everest Talks, regional research groups, and government.

The MMath in Biostatistics and PhD in Biostatistics are highly regarded within and outside of the university. These programs ensure students are trained in the foundations of scientific methods, statistical analysis, and computing to equip them to deal with a wide range of challenges arising in health and biological research. Specific topics include clinical trial design, epidemiological methods, generalized linear models, longitudinal data analysis, event history analysis, stochastic processes, and statistical computing.

The demand for biostatisticians in Canada and internationally is very high and graduates typically find excellent employment opportunities upon completion of their studies. Stimulating employment opportunities are often found in places such as pharmaceutical companies, contract research organizations, regional or national centers for health research, academic centers, and public health agencies.

In 2006, a Master's in Public Health program was launched in the Department of Health Studies and Gerontology. Several of the faculty in Statistics and Actuarial Science hold cross or joint appointments in the Department of Health Studies and Gerontology.

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Master of Quantitative Finance

The Master of Quantitative Finance offered by the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science.