Mathematical Optimization

 Your optimal future starts here

Computer code on a screen.

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, modelling, scheduling, forecasting, decision theory, and computer simulation. On top of that, you’ll add courses in economics, business, and management science, in addition to the ability to gain paid work experience through co-op.

After first year, you'll choose one of two 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 health care administration, or develop sophisticated tools for finance and investments.

Program highlights

  • Your choice: four years or five. Choose co-op and gain two 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.

What will you learn? 

First-year courses

During your first year, you'll take a mix of foundational courses in Math and Computer Science.

In upper years, most of your classes will be combinatorics and optimization courses. You'll also take additional mathematics courses.

Learn more about the courses you'll take for your Mathematical Optimization degree.

Customize your degree

In upper years, you'll select Business or Operations Research as your specialization. You can also add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students.

Once you're a student, advisors can help you explore which minors or specializations may fit into your plans.


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Mathematical Optimization admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • Advanced Functions
  • Calculus and Vectors
  • Any 4U English
  • One other 4U course

Recommended course: Grade 11 U Introduction to Computer Science

Admission averages: Individual selection from the high 80s

How to apply?

Apply to Mathematics and choose Mathematical Optimization as your major. Once you've applied, you'll need to complete the Admission Information Form as part of the application process.

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.

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Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact our Faculty of Mathematics recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.