What is Applied Mathematics?

These days mathematics is applied almost everywhere, and this wealth of activity cannot be encompassed in one university department. The focus of the Applied Mathematics Department at Waterloo is the application of mathematics to problems in science, engineering, and medicine.

Our undergraduate programs are based on courses that provide a strong mathematical and computational background, while offering a selection of courses in areas of application. These application areas are quite diverse, and reflect the research interests of members of the department.

For example, the behaviour of fluids and their motions is essential to our very existence on this planet. Think of the oceans, the atmosphere, the earth's crust, underground fossil fuels.
Describing the flow of fluids, including the waves that travel within them, comprises the subject of fluid dynamics. A sequence of two courses will introduce you to this fascinating area.

Perhaps you are interested in learning about chaotic dynamics, the unpredictable behaviour of nonlinear systems, or how engineers design control systems, which are used in diverse areas such as robotics, aerospace engineering and biomedical research. We have senior level courses in each of these areas.

Have you ever wondered about Einstein's theory of relativity, one of the revolutions in physics of the twentieth century? Or about how quantum mechanics - the physics of very small scales - differs from the classical mechanics of everyday life? If so, you may be interested in a course in general relativity or quantum mechanics.

Of course all of these applications require a strong mathematical background, which is developed in the first three years, starting with Calculus and Linear Algebra.

An education in Applied Mathematics:

Education gives you not only knowledge, but also the ability to organize and use that knowledge profitably. Every Applied Mathematics course is geared toward providing the students with the ability to use a variety of mathematical and computational tools to solve problems in various fields.