Master two of math’s most powerful techniques.
Hone the skills you need to solve problems in computer science, business, communications, and more.
Combinatorics looks at permutations and combinations. Optimization explores ways to make any operation work more efficiently within given constraints. Together, they provide powerful methods for modelling and solving large management problems, from optimizing flight schedules to making a factory’s layout as efficient as possible.
In Combinatorics and Optimization at Waterloo, you’ll learn concepts such as enumeration, combinatorical designs, graph theory, linear programming, nonlinear optimization, operations research, and combinatorical optimization, and how to use them in real-world applications.
When you graduate, you can put your skills to work in areas as diverse as cryptography, electronic security, software development, social media, and risk analysis.
Add research to your résumé
As an undergraduate research assistant, you could spend a term working on a research problem with one of our award-winning professors.
Have fun with other mathies
Take a break from your studies. The student-run Pure Math, Applied Math, Combinatorics and Optimization Club offers talks, food, board games, and more.
About the Combinatorics and Optimization program
Apply to Mathematics and choose Combinatorics and Optimization as your major
Earn a Bachelor of Mathematics degree
1st Faculty of Mathematics in North America
Offered by the Faculty of Mathematics
Available as a major and minor
Combinatorics and Optimization admission requirements
- Apply to Mathematics and choose Combinatorics and Optimization as your major at the end of first year.
- An Admission Information Form is required for admission.
To be considered for entrance scholarships in the Faculty of Mathematics, you must write one or both of the contests. If you complete both contests, we'll use the results of the contest in which you performed best.
First-year Combinatorics and Optimization courses
You may select advanced-stream courses for algebra, calculus, and computer science if you meet the requirements.
September to December
January to April
After first year
You’ll take upper-year courses in combinatorics and optimization and other areas in the Faculty of Mathematics. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.
View a list of all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
Customize your degree in Combinatorics and Optimization
You can add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor (or minors) as part of your degree.
Gain relevant work experience through co-op
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.
Sample co-op job titles
- Business technology analyst
- Data analyst
- Full stack developer
- Quantitative trading associate
- Software developer
- Software QA specialist
- Web interface developer
Sample co-op employers
- Sybase Canada
- Ontario Ministry of Government and Community Services
- Department of National Defence
- OpenText Corporation
- Cisco Systems Canada
Careers in Combinatorics and Optimization
- Catastrophe Analyst, Validus Research
- Analytics Team Member, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
- Manager, Precision Health Data Institute, Everyday Health
- Project Manager, Allegro Mobile Solutions
- Risk Modelling Manager, TD Canada Trust
- Software Developer, BlackBerry
- System Analyst, Rogers Communications
- Treasurer, Shinhan Bank Canada
- Application Developer, Oracle Corporation Canada