Become the next Einstein. Wild hair optional.

Students in the Physics program at the University of Waterloo.

Study the most fundamental aspects of nature in one of Canada’s largest and most innovative physics departments.

Physics at Waterloo offers award-winning teaching, 20 months of optional co-op experience, and partnerships with some of the biggest institutes in the world working at the forefront of physics research.

Choose from a broad range of courses in applied physics, astrophysics, biophysics, chemical physics, mathematical physics, and quantum computing. Then supplement your learning with hands-on labs and tutorials.

Over the course of your degree, you’ll develop the strong quantitative and analytic skills that industry is looking for. You’ll graduate well prepared for a career in engineering, biotechnology, medicine, or astronomy — or for graduate studies where you can delve deeper into the world of research.

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).

AtomsWaterloo is affiliated with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

book iconAvailable as a major and minor


Physics degree admission requirements

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

  • English (ENG4U) (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Advanced Functions (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Calculus and Vectors (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Two of Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Mathematics of Data Management, or Physics (Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, and/or Physics are recommended)

Admission averages: Low 80s

We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


How to apply

Apply to Physical Sciences and select Physics as your major in first year.

A Physics degree student with electromagnetism

As a Physics major, you can choose to specialize in applied physics, astrophysics, biophysics, chemical physics, mathematical physics, or quantum computing.

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

  • Systematic, rigorous, and flexible problem solving
  • Qualitative and quantitative/numerical analysis
  • Applied programming and data analysis
  • Laboratory experimental procedures and methodologies
  • Communication of complex ideas

This isn't an exhaustive list – rather a glimpse into the skills a 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

55% physics, 12% math, 5% chemistry, 25% free electives, 3% communications

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


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ClickApply to Physical Sciences, select Physics as your major

BeakerOffered by the Faculty of Science

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Physics


What's the difference between Physics, Mathematical Physics, and Physics and Astronomy?

In Mathematical Physics, you'll take more math courses and will not be required to do labs after first year so this program is good if you’re interested in theoretical (math-based) physics. In Physics and Astronomy, you’ll have observational astronomy labs, astronomy courses such as Stars and Galaxies, and have fewer required math courses. This program is good if you’re interested in the observational side of space research. Physics continues with labs throughout the degree and is the most general physics program. It's good if you’re interested in experimental or applied physics or if you're unsure where your interests lie in physics.


Ready to learn more?

Student stories

Check out these articles to learn more about Physics at Waterloo, the student experience, and more. 

Learn from top physicists

Be sure to take advantage of public lectures at the nearby Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Do scientific research

In your fourth year, you can undertake a cutting-edge research project to explore your interests in physics — perhaps at Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.