Become the next Einstein. Wild hair optional.

Physics student working on a project

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 one of the world's leading institutes for research and training in foundational theoretical physics.

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).

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.

Program highlights

Learn from top physicists. Waterloo is ranked #1 in Canada for physics (Academic World Ranking of Universities 2023). Be sure to take advantage of public lectures at the nearby Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, located just south of campus.

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.


What will you learn?

First-year courses

In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Computer Science 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 degree.

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.


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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

  • Ultrasound image reconstruction specialist
  • Defence analytics research assistant
  • Software developer
  • Undergraduate research assistant
  • Science & math peer tutor
  • Modelling support technician

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 Off
Second Study Co-op Study
Third Co-op Co-op Study
Fourth Co-op Study Co-op
Fifth Study Study -

Your first work term will be halfway through second year (January to April 2026).

Learn more about co-op →


megaphone icon"In my first co-op term I learned about laser, holography, and motorized stages. I even coded programs that tied everything up to automate the system! The experience reassured me that I made the right decision by studying Physics at Waterloo."Saral (he/him), Physics (co-op), student

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

Admission averages: Low 80s

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

How to apply

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

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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