Studying Mathematics and Statistics with Finance

  • Interested in understanding how the financial markets actually work?
  • Would you like a career in the highly-paid finance industry?

There are several ways to study Mathematics and Statistics with Finance at UNSW:

  • Choose the four-year combined degree in Commerce and Science, (BCom/BSc) with Majors in Finance in the BCom and in Mathematics or Statistics in the BSc. Students with good results may enrol in one or both of the Honours Science or Honours Commerce programs for another year (one extra year each) to complete Honours in Finance, Mathematics or Statistics.
  • Choose the five year combined degree in Commerce and Advanced Mathematics with a major in Finance in the BCom half. This includes an honours year in the Advanced Mathematics major. An Honours year in commerce can be added.
  • Choose the five year coombined degree in Commerce and Advanced Science with a major in Finance in the BCom half and either Mathematics or Statistics in the BSc half. This includes an honours year in  the Mathematics or Statistics major. An Honours year in commerce can be added.
  • Choose the four-year Quantitative Risk study plan within the Advanced Mathematics Degree Program. Administered by the School of Mathematics and Statistics, this is a Mathematics degree slanted towards the type of Mathematics and Statistics that is useful in banking, together with substantial studies in Finance and with some other supporting studies. An Honours degree is given on merit after four years. This plan is aslo available in the combined BCom/Advanced Maths degree.

Both programs are designed for highly motivated students with strong mathematical skills and a high ATAR result. The combined programs with commerce are adminstered by the UNSW Business School; the Advanced Mathematics program is administered by the Faculty of Science.

What kind of jobs can I obtain when I graduate?

The two programs have been developed in consultation with banking and finance industry groups to meet the continually increasing demand from the finance sector for mathematically able graduates. This demand has arisen with the rapidly increasing use of advanced mathematical techniques in many areas of finance.

The BCom/BSc combined degree has been operating for a number of years and its graduates have been keenly sought within the industry. There are two major sources of employment. First and foremost are the banks. Since deregulation, the financial sector has seen the entry of many merchant banks, and the sector has been exposed to new and sophisticated capital markets. The Basel II compliance regime has created a special need for risk professionals. Banks require numerate graduates who can design and critically analyse the complex mathematical models (for example, of leasing agreements and option pricing) needed to operate effectively in fast-moving markets. Other sources of employment are the insurance, superannuation and financial consulting companies. In order to respond effectively to changes in the superannuation and tax laws, companies are seeking and employing good mathematics graduates willing to be trained as actuaries. For both sources, graduates with a combined mathematics/statistics/finance background are ideal.

Also see Careers and the UNSW School of Banking and Finance

What do I study in the programs?

In the first year both programs have almost identical studies. You will study Mathematics, Accounting and Financial Management, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Capital Markets and Institutions, and either another Commerce option or a recommended Computing course. Statistics studies start in year 2.

Mathematics and Statistics in both programs can be studied at the Ordinary level or at the Higher level depending on your interests and abilities, but study at the Higher level is recommended and may be necessary for certain courses in later years.

To find out the formal requirements (in terms of courses that you have to study), see the Quantitative Risk study plan within the Advanced Mathematics Degree Program or the recommended Finance Study Plan for the combined BCom/BSc degree with majors in Finance and Mathematics or Statistics.

For formal details and informal descriptions of individual Mathematics and Statistics courses, see the Details of Courses page.

In the final year of the Advanced Mathematics Program, or if you do the extra fifth (Honours) year of the combined degree in Mathematics or Statistics, you will undertake a project in Mathematics or Statistics and its applications to a selected area of Finance. This project is likely to involve cooperation with the finance industry and its implementation will use industry-standard computing techniques. A similar project is optional for those doing the four-year BCom/BSc. 

What are the entry and continuation requirements?

You must meet the appropriate ATAR cut-off. Please see the UAC website where ATAR cut-offs are listed for each program.

  • The BCom/BSc and BCom/B Adv Sci combined degrees are available under UAC code 424100.
  • The BCom/BSc (Adv Maths) (Hons) combined degree is available under UAC code 424200.
  • The Quantitative Risk plan is part of Advanced Mathematics UAC code 429013 and requires a very good mark in HSC Mathematics Extension 2. Approval from the Head of School is needed to take this plan. You must also maintain a Distinction average to stay in this plan.

In addition, you will need to have reached the level of mathematical knowledge which is assumed in the course MATH1151 Mathematics for Actuarial Studies and Finance 1A. To find out what level of knowledge is assumed, see Assumed Knowledge.

Note that both programs demand a high level of mathematical ability and are not recommended for students whose Mathematics marks are less than a combined mark of 140 out of 150 in Mathematics and Mathematics Extension 1, or 180 out of 200 in Mathematics Extension 1 and Extension 2. 

Which of the two programs should I choose?

If your main interest is in Mathematics or Statistics, you have excellent marks in Mathematics and you wish to combine it with Finance and Risk studies to make yourself more employable, then choose the Quantitative Risk program as your first option. Remember also that you must maintain a distinction average to stay in this plan.

If you really want a Commerce degree in Finance but wish to study more Mathematics and Statistics to help you understand the mathematical and theoretical background to Finance, then put the combined degree as your first preference.

If you are undecided or want to keep your options open, then put the combined degree as your first preference and the Quantitative Risk program as your second preference.

It is not possible to transfer between degree programs without reapplying for admission so you should make sure you choose the correct program initially. You can swap to another major in Commerce or in Science after the first year without much problem, but after that it becomes difficult without taking more years to complete the degree.

How do I get further information about these programs?

School of Mathematics and Statistics

phone: (02) 9385 7111

fax: (02) 9385 7123

email: ug.MathsStats followed by


You can also see the UNSW School of Banking and Finance.