Physics and Astronomy

Aim for a career with astronomical possibilities

A Physics and Astronomy student at the University of Waterloo.

Do you look up at night and dream of distant galaxies? Do you wonder about the origin of the universe? Explore your curiosity with a Physics and Astronomy degree from Waterloo.

Complement your foundational studies in physics and math with courses in astronomy. Interested in research? Waterloo's Centre for Astrophysics hosts aspiring young researchers and students, helping them to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

The program’s strong ties to Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing provide additional opportunities to get involved in research. Meanwhile, if you opt for our co-op program, you’ll gain valuable résumé-building experience during your work terms.

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 you need to succeed (and maybe win a Nobel Prize like Waterloo professor Donna Strickland or be part of a team to take the first image of a black hole, like professor Avery Broderick).

Once you complete your degree, you’ll have what it takes to pursue specialized graduate programs or to launch directly into a career in fields like aerospace, astrophysics, or remote sensing.

Program highlights

Award-winning teaching. As well as small class sizes, you’ll enjoy great teaching. This is a department that has racked up an impressive eight Distinguished Teaching Awards. Check out some of the research being conducted by professors in this major on our Waterloo Stories website.

Benefit from Canada's top program. Waterloo is ranked #1 in Canada for physics (Academic World Ranking of Universities 2023).


Physics and Astronomy at Waterloo

Emily, a Physics and Astronomy student, loves the program because it deals with questions that people have been asking since ancient times.

What will you learn?

First-year courses

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

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

Customize your Bachelor of Science degree

You can specialize with a minor in astrophysics or biophysics or choose to add additional areas of interest from across campus by including a minor or option as part of your degree.


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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"I get to learn about so many different subjects. I've taken courses that range from the planets, stars, and galaxies to quantum mechanics, biophysics, and magnetism. Plus co-op has let me learn about areas I probably wouldn't have considered otherwise."Andre, second-year Physics and Astronomy student

Physics and Astronomy 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

Admission averages: Low 80s

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements for Physical Sciences (which includes the Physics and Astronomy major).

How to apply

Apply to Physical Sciences and choose Physics and Astronomy as your major.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact Alisia, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.

Alisia Mar


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