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Mathematical Optimization

Your optimal future starts here.

Focus on problems where resources need to be allocated effectively in complex, dynamic, and uncertain conditions.

You'll start with a solid foundation in math, including combinatorics, linear optimization, modeling, scheduling, forecasting, decision theory, and computer simulation. On top of that, you’ll add courses in economics, business, and management science.

After first year, you'll choose one of 2 specializations: Operations Research or Business.

When you graduate, you’ll have all kinds of career options. You might enhance scheduling for airline crews and sports games, improve production and distribution efficiency for manufacturing companies, increase service quality and efficiency in healthcare administration, or develop sophisticated tools for finance and investments.

Your choice: 4 years or 5

Choose co-op and gain 2 years of career-relevant work experience. Or choose the regular system and graduate a year earlier.

Learn from top researchers

There’s no better place to study optimization than Waterloo, home to the world’s largest concentration of combinatorics and optimization professors.


About the Mathematical Optimization program

briefcase Available as a co-op and regular program

Arrow pointing up and clickingApply to Mathematics and choose Mathematical Optimization as your major

Graduation cap Earn a Bachelor of Mathematics in Mathematical Optimization


#11st faculty of mathematics in North America

math tieOffered by the Faculty of Mathematics

globeWaterloo is an international leader in Mathematics


Mathematical Optimization admission requirements

We strongly encourage you to participate in the Canadian Senior Mathematics Contest and/or the Euclid Mathematics Contest to enhance your admissions status. 

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 Mathematical Optimization courses

You may select advanced-stream courses for algebra, calculus, and computer science if you meet the requirements. 

September to December

MATH 135 - Algebra 
MATH 137 - Calculus 1
Choose one of:
 • CS 115 - Introduction to Computer Science
 • CS 135 - Designing Functional Programs
1 communication skills course
1 elective

January to April

MATH 136 - Linear Algebra 1 
MATH 138 - Calculus 2 
Choose one of:
 • CS 116 - Introduction to Computer Science 2
 • CS 136 - Algorithm Design and Data Abstraction
2 electives


After first year

Most of the required courses you’ll take will be combinatorics and optimization courses, with additional courses in mathematics. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

Sample upper-year courses 

CO 331 - Coding Theory
CO 380 - Mathematical Discovery and Invention
CO 450 - Combinatorial Optimization
CO 471 - Semidefinite Optimization

Customize your Bachelor of Mathematics degree

In upper years, you'll select Business or Operations Research as your specialization. You can also 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.


  • App Software Developer, Bank of Montreal
  • Business Analyst, ThoughtWorks Canada
  • Business Technology Analyst, Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Health Information Analyst, Ministry of Health Services, British Columbia
  • IT Architect, Scotiabank
  • Institutional Analyst, University of Waterloo
  • Manager, Business Operations, Fortune Metals Inc.
  • Risk Analyst, Toronto-Dominion Bank
  • Senior Business Analyst, Hang Seng Bank
  • Senior Officer, Operations, PT AEON Indonesia

Learn more about Mathematical Optimization