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

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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Ask them questions such as why the chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.


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.

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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