Go way beyond basic arithmetic

Female student writing equation on whiteboard

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

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.) You'll also get the opportunity to get paid work experience through co-op.

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

Program highlights

Add research to your résumé. Apply for an Undergraduate Student Research Award and you could spend four 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.


What will you learn?

First-year courses

During your first year, you'll take a mix of foundational courses in Mathematics, Computer Science, and communications.

In upper years, most of your courses will be in Pure Mathematics with additional math courses.

Learn more about the courses you'll take for your Pure Mathematics degree.

Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one of the minors available to all Waterloo students

Once you're a student, advisors can help you explore which minors or specializations may fit into your plans.


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Contact a student ambassador

Ask a Faculty of Mathematics student about their program, classes, getting involved on campus, and more!


megaphone icon"I enjoy the intellectual excitement when learning new things and solving problems. Co-op provides a chance to gain work experience — letting students explore career goals. Plus there are many clubs and events — I even went to the UK for an exchange."Jeffrey, fourth-year Pure Mathematics student

Pure Mathematics admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • Advanced Functions
  • Calculus and Vectors
  • Any 4U English
  • One other 4U course

Recommended course: Grade 11 U Introduction to Computer Science

Admission averages: Individual selection from the high 80s

How to apply?

Apply to Mathematics and choose Pure Mathematics as your major at the end of first year. Once you've applied, you'll need to complete the Admission Information Form as part of the application process.

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.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact our Faculty of Mathematics recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.