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.
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.
About the Physics program
Apply to Physical Sciences,
select Physics as your major
Earn a Bachelor of Science in Honours Physics
Physics admission requirements
- Apply to Physical Sciences and select Physics as your major in first year.
Careers 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
First-year Physics courses
September to December
PHYS 10 - Physics Seminar
PHYS 121/PHYS 131L - Mechanics/Laboratory
MATH 114 - Linear Algebra for Science
MATH 127 - Calculus 1 for Sciences
CHEM120/CHEM 120L - Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter/Laboratory
ENGL 193/SPCOM 193- Communication in the Sciences
January to April
PHYS 10 - Physics Seminar
PHYS 122/132L - Waves, Electricity and Magnetism/Laboratory
PHYS 124 - Modern Physics
MATH 128 - Calculus 2 for the Sciences
CHEM123/CHEM 123L - Chemical Reactions, Equilibria and Kinetics/Laboratory
Plus 1 elective*
After first year
View a list of all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
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 a minor as part of your degree.
Gain relevant work experience through co-op
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
- Defense 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