Graduate students

The Master’s in Computational Mathematics offered at Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics is an intensive, twelve-month research-based program that gives students a foundation in the theory and applications of the broad field of Computational Mathematics.

The program is targeted to students with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, or computer science, or in another program with a strong mathematical component including economics, engineering and any of the physical sciences. This challenging program will provide excellent students a fast track to PhD studies or to a top job in industry such as banking and finance, internet technology, data science, biomedical applications, insurance, research labs, etc.

An important feature of the Waterloo Master’s in Computational Mathematics program is its breadth. Four of the required courses are chosen from the core areas in Computational Mathematics. The core areas include discrete computational mathematics, numerical methods, computational statistics and machine learning, scientific computing, and computational optimization. The two remaining courses are chosen from a large list of suggested graduate courses offered by the various departments and schools housed within the Faculty of Mathematics.

In addition to six graduate courses, students complete a full-time four-month supervised research project in an area of Computational Mathematics of their choice. See here for a list of potential research supervisors and their areas of interest. Note that the CM Master's program now also has a coursework option (with 2 additional courses instead of the research project, for a total of 8 courses).

Graduates typically go on to PhD studies in an area of Computational Mathematics, or find jobs in one of the many sectors in which quantitative modeling on computers is important. For example, past graduates have found jobs at Investors Group, Oracle, Statistics Canada, JPMorgan, Accenture, BMO, TD and OpenText. For more background information on careers in computational mathematics, see this SIAM brochure (PDF) from the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

A recent addition is that CM Master's students now have the opportunity to apply for entry into the CM co-op program during their first term. Access is not guaranteed, but in recent years a large fraction of CM Master's students have participated in the program. Students in the co-op program carry out a four-month full-time (well-paid) co-op job in a reputable company or government service, thus gaining invaluable experience in applying their Computational Mathematics skills in a real-life professional setting. Co-op adds one semester to the program duration (the co-op job is normally completed during your third semester in the program).

Recent co-op employers in the CM Master's program include:

  • Bank of Montreal, TD Bank Group, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank Financial, Capital One, Venbridge (a venture debt lender in Toronto), Intact Financial Corporation
  • Huawei Noah's Ark Lab research center, Applied Brain Research, Dynacare, Killi
  • Faithlife Financial, Industrial Alliance Insurance & Financial Services, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, The Co-operators, The Economical Insurance Group
  • DealerCorp Solutions Inc, Nissan Canada Inc, Thomson Reuters, University of Waterloo, FAIRVentures (A Fairfax Company)
  • Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Finance Ontario, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada

and the co-op program has remained active during the covid pandemic (with students working remotely).

For more information about the CM Master's program, please visit the following:

For more information, contact:

Prof. Ryan Browne, Graduate Officer (ryan.browne@uwaterloo.ca)

Kira Selby

Student profile: Kira Selby and her passion for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Kira Selby began her academic career studying Mathematics and Physics at McMaster University. Originally, she intended to pursue physics at a graduate level but near the end of her undergraduate career she had a change of heart. After watching Google Deepmind’s AlphaGo defeat champion Go player Lee Sedol she was inspired, and became determined that research in machine learning and artificial intelligence would be her future path. And for that, there was only one place to go - the University of Waterloo. Kira earned a Master’s degree from Waterloo’s Computational Mathematics programme under Dr. Pascal Poupart, and continues to pursue her dream through Waterloo’s school of Computer Science where she is currently working on her PhD.

Xiaolu Sun Computational Math Student

Student profile: Computational Math Leads to Career in Finance

Xiaolu Sun started the Waterloo Master’s program in Computational Mathematics after obtaining an undergraduate degree in Engineering from the University of Toronto. He studied Computational Mathematics to prepare for a career in Finance. Less than halfway through the program, he was hired by J.P.Morgan for their investment banking operations and technology department based in Hong Kong. He was selected after five rounds of interviews and tests from a large pool of highly qualified applicants, many of which were enrolled in specialized finance programs. A major reason why Xiaolu was chosen is because of his advanced mathematical modeling and computing skills, which are critical for today’s Finance applications, and lie at the core of Waterloo’s Master’s program in Computational Mathematics.