Mathematical Physics

Study the very big to the very small. This math is universal.

A student in the Mathematical Physics program at the University of Waterloo.

In Mathematical Physics, you’ll combine theoretical physics with high-level math courses in differential equations, vector calculus, and applied mathematics. You’ll also get plenty of chances to apply that learning with hands-on labs in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, computer programming, optics, and more.

You won’t find a better place to study than Waterloo. Our Faculty of Mathematics is the largest in Canada. Meanwhile, the Department of Physics is one of Canada’s largest and most innovative, and this program comes with a co-op option so students can gain up to two years of paid work experience while pursuing their degree.

Join a program that fosters curious minds to question the smallest particles, the largest forces, and everything in between. Where you'll get the support to possibly win a Nobel Prize in Physics (like Waterloo professor Dr. Donna Strickland) or be part of the team to take the first image of a black hole (like professor Avery Broderick).

Whatever door you choose, Waterloo offers the key to open it.

trophyWaterloo ranks top 10 in Canada for Physics and Astronomy

BreifcaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

ribbonWaterloo ranks among the top 50 universities in the world for math


Admission requirements

Apply to Mathematics or Physical Sciences and choose Mathematical Physics as your major.

Choose your focus

You can earn your Mathematical Physics degree through the Faculty of Mathematics or the Faculty of Science. What's the difference?

  • The degree you earn will be either a Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc).
  • Depending on your interests and whether you'd like to earn a math or science degree, you'll apply to one of two entry programs: Mathematics or Physical Sciences (which have different admission requirements).
  • You'll then choose Mathematical Physics as your major within one of these entry programs.

Female mathematical physics student writes formulas on white board.

Study the mathematical and theoretical sides of physics and be well-prepared to embark on a career in research and development or to pursue specialized graduate studies.

What will you learn?

Programs/majors in the Faculty of Science start right in first year. To select your program with confidence, here’s some handy info to get you started.

Skills you'll develop with this major

  • Advanced mathematical skills
  • Qualitative and quantitative analysis
  • Systemic, rigorous, and flexible problem solving
  • Applied programming and data analysis
  • Creative application of knowledge to design new technologies

This isn't an exhaustive list – rather a glimpse into the skills a Mathematical Physics major can provide.

Your experience will be unique, and the skills you develop will depend on your goals; which courses you take; and your involvement with any clubs, jobs, or research projects.

Types of courses you'll take

32% physics, 32% math, 5% chemistry, 15% program electives, 13% free electives, 3% communications

This is a general guideline. The ratio of courses may change slightly from year to year.


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Questions? Ask a student!

Contact a Science student ambassador to learn about their experience.

Ask them questions such as why they chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.


megaphone icon"Between the Institute for Quantum Computing, the nearby Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and other cool research on campus, Waterloo is a great environment if you're interested in physics!"Eric, fourth-year Mathematical Physics student

BeakerOffered by the Faculties of Science and Mathematics

CapEarn a Bachelor of Mathematics or Bachelor of Science degree


Ready to learn more?

Learn from top researchers

Catch a lecture at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, just south of campus, or spend a research term at Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

Make friends for life

Plan to live in residence? Live in a Science Academic Cluster and meet other first-year Science students. Form a study group or walk to class together with your new classmates.