Mathematical Physics

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

a Mathematical Physics student smiling at the camera while two other students test a project in the background

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 and Astronomy 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 needed to succeed (and possibly win a Nobel Prize in Physics – like Waterloo professor Donna Strickland).

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

Program highlights

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 Living Learning Community and meet other first-year Science students. Form a study group or walk to class together with your new classmates.


  • Available as a regular or co-op program
  • Graduate with a Bachelor of Mathematics or a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Physics
  • Offered by the Faculties of Mathematics and Science

Female mathematical physics student writes formulas on white board.

Study the theoretical side 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?

First-year courses

In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, most of your classes will be Physics and Mathematics courses.

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

Customize your degree

You can 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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Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.

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.


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

Waterloo's co-op program, the largest in North America, is an amazing way to explore potential careers, learn to interview for jobs, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!

Sample co-op job titles

  • Design engineer-quality assurance
  • Project engineering support
  • Performance engineering co-op student
  • Science & math peer tutor
  • Undergraduate research assistant
  • Application programmer
  • Quality assurance analyst

Co-op work-study sequence

Starting in second year, you'll normally alternate between school and work every four months, integrating your classroom learning with real-world experience. You can return to the same employer for a couple of work terms to gain greater knowledge and responsibility or work for different employers to get a broad range of experience.

Year September to December (Fall) January to April (Winter) May to August (Spring)
First Study Study Co-op
Second Study Co-op Study
Third Study Co-op Study
Fourth Co-op Study Study
Fifth Co-op Study Study

Your first work term will be after first year (May to August 2025).


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
megaphone icon"My favourite course is Quantum Physics because, just like a different language, it introduces me to a different realm with its own rules and ideas. When those are applied correctly, you achieve a great eloquence."Khurshid, Mathematical Physics (co-op) student


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?

  • While most of your first-year courses will be similar, you'll take more science or math courses in your upper years depending on which entry program you choose.
  • The degree you earn will be either a Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) through the Faculty of Mathematics or a Bachelor of Science (BSc) through the Faculty of Science.
  • 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.
  • The courses required to earn your degree will focus more on math or science.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Contact the Math recruitment coordinator or the Science recruitment coordinator, who can answer any questions you have.


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