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Pure Mathematics

Go way beyond basic arithmetic.

Study the power, elegance, “how,” and “why” of math. In this rigorous program, you'll cover the spectrum of mathematics — from classical to modern — including geometry, number theory, and logic.

Because Pure Mathematics classes are among the smallest and most cohesive in the Faculty of Mathematics, you’ll get to know both your classmates and your profs. (Profs who are doing ground-breaking research when they’re not in the classroom.)

Pure Mathematics will provide you with problem-solving skills that can be applied in industry, business, government, or graduate school.

Add research to your résumé

Apply for an Undergraduate Student Research Award and you could spend 4 paid months working in pure mathematics with a professor.

Have fun with other mathies

Join the club! The Pure Math Club organizes academic and social events ranging from student/prof mixers and math contests to board game nights and potlucks.


Female student writing equation on whiteboard

The Department of Pure Mathematics at Waterloo specializes in 5 major research areas: algebra, analysis, geometry, number theory, and logic.

About the Pure Mathematics program

briefcase Gain 2 years of paid experience through the co-op program

math tieOffered by the Faculty of Mathematics

Graduation cap Earn a Bachelor of Mathematics degree


Pure Mathematics admission requirements

We strongly encourage you to participate in the Canadian Senior Mathematics Contest and/or the Euclid Mathematics Contest to enhance your admissions status. 

To be considered for entrance scholarships in the Faculty of Mathematics, you must write one or both of the contests. If you complete both contests, we'll use the results of the contest in which you performed best.

First-year Pure Mathematics courses

You may select advanced-stream courses for algebra, calculus, and computer science if you meet the requirements. 

September to December

MATH 135 - Algebra for Honours Mathematics
MATH 137 - Calculus 1 for Honours Mathematics
Choose one of:
 • CS 115 - Introduction to Computer Science
 • CS 135 - Designing Functional Programs
1 communication skills course
1 elective

January to April

MATH 136 - Linear Algebra 1 for Honours Mathematics
MATH 138 - Calculus 2 for Honours Mathematics
Choose one of:
 • CS 116 - Introduction to Computer Science 2
 • CS 136 - Algorithm Design and Data Abstraction
2 electives


After first year

The majority of your required courses will be pure mathematics courses, with additional courses in mathematics. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

View a list of courses required for your degree.

Sample upper-year Pure Mathematics courses 

PMATH 348 - Fields and Galois Theory
PMATH 365 - Differential Geometry
PMATH 440 - Analytic Number Theory
PMATH 450 - Lebesgue Integration and Fourier Analysis

Customize your Bachelor of Mathematics degree in Pure Mathematics

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor(s) 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

  • Assistant Cryptomathematician​
  • Technical Writer/Project Control Officer 
  • Geospatial Data Analyst
  • Research Assistant

Sample co-op employers

  • Department of National Defence
  • Deutsche Bank AG
  • Symcor
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Health Canada

Careers in Pure Mathematics

  • Data Scientist, Chango 
  • Software Engineer, Facebook Canada
  • Associate Data Analyst, Sun Life Financial 
  • Infrastructure Software Engineer, Square 
  • Client Management, Citigroup Fund Services Canada 
  • Trader, Millennium Advisors, LLC
  • Vice President, TD Asset Management 
  • Operations Analyst, Citco (Canada) 

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