Become the next Einstein. Wild hair optional.
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.
You might take a class from Physics and Astronomy professor Donna Strickland, who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for her groundbreaking inventions in laser physics.
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.
First-year Physics courses
September to December
January to April
After first year
View a list of all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
Apply to Physical Sciences, select Physics as your major
Earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Physics
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
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.
Sample co-op job titles
- Ultrasound image reconstruction specialist
- Defence analytics research assistant
- Software developer
- Undergraduate research assistant
- Science & math peer tutor
- Modelling support technician
Sample co-op employers
- CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research
- COM DEV International Ltd.
- Environment & Climate Change Canada
- Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
Waterloo is affiliated with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Offered by the Faculty of Science
Available as a major and minor
Customize your Physics degree
Within the program, you can focus on applied physics, astrophysics, biophysics, chemical physics, mathematical physics, or quantum computing. You can also add additional areas of interest from other subjects by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students.
What can you do with a degree in Physics?
Common careers for Physics graduates include biomedical research and design, research and development, financial analysis and forecasting, nuclear power research and operation, modelling, computer hardware and software development, and more.
- Physics teacher, Waterloo Region District School Board
- Systems Integration Specialist, University of Waterloo
- Postdoctoral Researcher, BC Cancer Agency Radiation Therapy
For more information on potential careers, check out our page on careers in science.
Do scientific research
In your fourth year, you can undertake a cutting-edge research project — perhaps at Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.
Learn from top physicists
Be sure to take advantage of public lectures at the nearby Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.