Mathematics co-op programs

Waterloo co-op students at work

 

Actuarial Science

Actuarial science is the application of mathematics and statistics to financial problems, with particular emphasis on life and casualty insurance, pension plans and employee benefit programs.

The program includes studies in such subject areas as mathematics of finance, life contingencies, risk theory and casualty ratemaking. In addition, students in Waterloo’s Actuarial Science program can gain a strong background in economics, finance, administration and law.

Students in this program are well-equipped to follow a path to the top levels of business.

This program provides students with theoretical preparation for the courses and exams required by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Students in the Waterloo Actuarial Science program are bright and motivated and in some cases may have gained actuarial perspectives from previous work terms. They bring knowledge from a wide range of business courses.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • strong mathematical skills
  • knowledge of both financial math and actuarial math
  • good communication skills
  • computer skills
  • Excel and some programming languages
  • ability to learn actuarial software easily (e.g. Axis)
  • broad business knowledge from a wide range of courses (economics, finance, risk management, law, etc.)

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Applied Mathematics

Waterloo’s Applied Mathematics program is based on courses that provide a strong mathematical and computational background and is focused on applying mathematical tools to solve problems in the context of science and engineering.

Applied mathematics reflects the belief that there exists a basic order and harmony in the universe, which may be described by the logical structures of mathematics. This rich, classical tradition is typified by the ongoing work in theoretical and fluid mechanics, general relativity, quantum theory, theoretical physics and engineering. It covers such diverse areas as the study of supersonic flow, behaviour of ocean waves, structure of space-time and cosmology and the fundamental properties of the world of atoms and molecules.

It also includes more recent innovations such as control theory and signal/image processing, analyzing processes ranging from optimal control of a space vehicle to the coding compression and transmission of images and signals.

Students in this program are bright and highly motivated. They offer valuable transferable skills and attributes that include:

  • analytical reasoning
  • application of mathematics to problem-solving in science and engineering
  • strong mathematical and computational skills
  • well-developed communication skills

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Business Administration and Computer Science Double Degree

This unique two-degree academic program is administered jointly by the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo and the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. Students harness the strengths of two top-tier institutions in one program as they learn about business and the applications of computer science to business.

Graduates of this program earn a University of Waterloo Honours Bachelor of Computer Science degree and a Wilfrid Laurier University Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

Students of this program have the knowledge and skills that meet the demand of today’s society for employees with both computer science and business management knowledge.

Students study topics including fundamental mathematics, computer programming, data structures, algorithms, computer organization, software engineering, operating systems and social implications of computing. These topics are complemented by courses in finance, operations, accounting, marketing, organizational behaviour, modes of business communication, law, human resources management and business policy.

Students are equipped with a broader knowledge base than those in traditional business or computer science programs. They have excellent computer and math skills paired with solid business knowledge from a comprehensive range of core courses.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • extensive knowledge of financial math
  • valuable programming skills
  • experience with a variety of software
  • broad business knowledge
  • well-developed communication skills
  • analytical skills and data-mining expertise
  • intelligent and highly motivated

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Business Administration and Mathematics Double Degree

This unique two-degree academic program is administered jointly by the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo and the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. Students harness the strengths of two top-tier institutions in one program as they learn about business and the applications of mathematics to business.

Graduates of this program earn a University of Waterloo Honours Bachelor of Mathematics degree and a Wilfrid Laurier University Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

This program is designed to provide students with an exceptional background in both quantitative analysis and business administration by combining courses in actuarial science, computer science, finance, optimization and statistics with courses in accounting, business administration, marketing and human resource management.

Students are taught sophisticated analytical techniques to solve complex business-related problems and are readily able to adapt to the rapidly changing modern business environment.

Students in this unique double-degree program bring a broad range of knowledge from courses across two disciplines.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • solid understanding of business gained from a wide range of courses
  • superior mathematical and quantitative skills
  • above-average computer knowledge including databases, programming and statistical analysis techniques
  • skills in mathematics including modelling techniques
  • well-developed communication skills
  • intelligent and highly motivated

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Combinatorics and Optimization

Combinatorics is the mathematics of discrete structures and their properties. Since computers process discrete formulations of problems, combinatorics has become indispensable to modern computer science.

Optimization, or mathematical programming, is the study of maximizing or minimizing functions subject to specified constraints. In its applications to engineering and management sciences, optimization forms an important part of the discipline of mathematical optimization research.

Waterloo continues to be a leading centre for teaching and research in the theories and applications of these disciplines. The department holds a strong international reputation in each of its six major areas: algebraic combinatorics, combinatorial optimization, continuous optimization, cryptography, graph theory and quantum computing.

Waterloo’s Combinatorics and Optimization program has applications in business, industry and government to promote operational efficiency. It can be applied in transportation to ensure shortest paths and maximum efficiency. On the factory floor, it can be applied to minimize movement from one machine tool to another. It is also applied in portfolio analysis to reduce risks and increase yields. In communications, cryptographic theories are essential for enhancing security in electronic applications.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • intelligent and extremely motivated
  • strong mathematical knowledge
  • exposure to the latest in learning and technology
  • strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • ability to model and solve large scheduling and management problems
    • optimization of flight schedules
    • planning of equipment maintenance
    • scheduling of personnel

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Computational Mathematics

Blending the disciplines of mathematics and computer sciences, computational mathematics involves developing and analyzing mathematical models to solve problems.

Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics has the largest concentration of mathematical and computer science talent in the world. Computational Mathematics is an innovative hybrid program that sits at the intersection of mathematics and computer science.

This program is designed to provide students with the wide-ranging knowledge and skills necessary to exploit the increasing power of computers for solving industrial-sized mathematical problems. Graduates of the program will be able to effectively deploy a broad spectrum of mathematical and computational techniques to solve such problems in science, industry and commerce; to develop, enhance and maintain the relevant software tools and to communicate results of complex modelling and simulation to end-users.

The interdisciplinary nature of the Waterloo’s Computational Mathematics program equips students with a breadth  of knowledge and skills that they are able to apply  effectively to real-life workplace issues.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • ability to deploy a wide range of mathematical and computational techniques
  • specialized skills in computer modelling of mathematical problems
  • strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • teamwork skills
  • bright and highly motivated

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Computer Science

Computer science is recognized as an independent discipline with an inherently mathematical nature. The program’s activities range from theoretical areas such as the theory of automata, system organization and logic design, formal languages and computability theory to applied areas such as scientific computing, programming languages, bioinformatics, software management and computer systems.

Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science is one of the world’s pioneers in computing education and research and offers the largest and most prestigious undergraduate program in Canada. Our leading-edge research programs allow us to teach students the latest technologies. They also have opportunities to participate in, and contribute to, cutting-edge research projects.

This program is designed to cover the fundamentals of the discipline while giving students opportunities in later years to tailor their studies to specific interests. Students have significant breadth and depth of choice in both theoretical and applied courses, reflecting the diverse expertise of Waterloo professors.

The program has also been accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation Council, which is sponsored by the Canadian Information Processing Society. Graduates are eligible to be designated as an Information Systems Professional after two years of professional experience.

Students in this program are high calibre and are extremely motivated. They bring strong knowledge from across the discipline to the workplace and have been exposed to the latest in learning as well as in equipment and technology.

They have valuable skills and attributes in many areas, including:

  • scientific computing
  • multiple programming languages
  • computer systems
  • software management
  • good communication skills
  • troubleshooting of software and hardware
  • technical marketing/support
  • web development
 

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Computing and Financial Management

The Computing and Financial Management program is unique in Canada and one of the newest programs at Waterloo. It provides students with the skills needed to meet the financial services sector’s growing requirement for individuals who understand both modern software development and financial applications.

The program is an independent, interdisciplinary program jointly supported by the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Arts.

The program is designed to develop professionals with a strong core background in the fields of computer science, accounting and financial management, equipping them to develop and manage the next generation of financial and accounting systems.

Students in the Waterloo Computing and Financial Management program bring to the workplace the benefits of a unique and diverse background, with a solid understanding of both technical and financial knowledge.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • strong mathematical and computational skills
  • solid skills in accounting and financial management
  • well-versed in financial applications
  • superior programming and application development skills
  • analytical and problem-solving skills

Junior students will have the same core skills as a first-year student in the Accounting and Financial Management program, or a student finishing their first year in the Faculty of Mathematics.

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Financial Analysis and Risk Management

The world of finance requires professionals with strong mathematical and analytical abilities. The escalating use of financial derivatives for both hedging and speculation, new governance and banking regulations, and more complex reporting requirements are increasing the demand for professionals with the mathematical background necessary to understand the broad impact these issues can have. Financial analysis students use data and information in an organization’s financial statements for valuation, credit risk assessment, management compensation, investment and other economic decisions. Risk management specialization students focus on credit, operational, market and financial risk management.

The program combines courses in mathematics, statistics and computer science with corporate finance, asset pricing, micro and macroeconomics and other business related courses to prepare students for careers in banking, investment management and risk management.

Students of Waterloo’s Financial Analysis and Risk Management program have a broad knowledge base.  In addition to their core financial and mathematical skills, their other attributes include:

  • ability to conduct risk assessment and management
  • excellent numeracy and problem-solving skills
  • superior mathematical and quantitative skills
  • good communication skills
  • leadership qualities
  • analytical and critical thinking abilities 

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Information Technology Management

The effective management of information technology is now a mission-critical component of virtually every enterprise. With constant changes in both business processes and technology, many positions require the mathematical, business and IT management skills that this program combines. 

Waterloo’s Information Technology Management program  is designed to equip graduates with the skills necessary to apply modern technology solutions to business processes.

Students in Waterloo’s Information Technology Management program bring to the workplace the benefits of a unique and diverse background, with a solid understanding of both technical and financial knowledge.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • excellent mathematical and computational skills
  • solid skills in accounting and financial management
  • well-versed in financial applications
  • good communication skills
  • strong programming and application development skills
  • superior analytical and problem-solving skills
  • knowledge of e-businesses, networks, databases and project management

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Mathematical Economics

Waterloo’s Mathematical Economics program is jointly offered by the Faculty of Mathematics and the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts.

Much of current economic theory is expressed in terms of mathematical models, and most branches of economics use mathematical, statistical and computational concepts extensively. 

This program prepares students for careers or graduate studies in economics or in various areas of mathematics and statistics. Students learn to apply these co-operative theoretical disciplines to their work terms, studies and careers.

Students of this program gain strong theoretical and empirical knowledge as well as analytical and problem solving skills. 

Students in Waterloo’s Mathematical Economics program develop a strong background in the fundamentals of both mathematics and economics, which helps prepare them for success in a variety of industries.

They are able to effectively conceptualize and problem-solve, given their thorough academic education in these complementary fields. Their knowledge of the models, theories and principles of both disciplines enrich their job skills.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • ability to analyze complex numerical data
  • computing skills
  • effective communication for conveying complex  numerical data
  • using specialized software
  • time management 

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Mathematical Finance

Waterloo’s Mathematical Finance program is highly distinguished and designed for students who have strong skills in mathematics and aspire to a career in high level finance. The program is offered jointly by the Pure Mathematics Department and Actuarial Science.

Pure mathematics educates students on the presence of art and science in math. Students are taught to think creatively and reason critically through studies of topics that include algebra, number theory, analysis, geometry, topology, logic and functional equations, and theories that range from classical to modern. The finance component of the program provides students with the skills and knowledge to apply their mathematical background in ways that are vital to  our society.

This program is typically reserved for students with strong skills, including those who have taken advanced math and calculus courses. 

Students in this program learn both the pure mathematics and the finance knowledge necessary for a career in the highest areas of banking and mathematical finance. They develop a sophisticated understanding of finance and are prepared for the modern business environment.

These finely developed and highly trained mathematics students can offer skills and knowledge that are an important investment for any company. Students are prepared for some of the most prestigious jobs in the mathematical finance field.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • ability to analyze complex numerical data
  • highly developed numeracy
  • financial forecasting
  • data mining and statistical analysis
  • good communication skills
  • solid business accounting competency
  • sophisticated understanding of various branches of mathematics
  • strong organizational skills

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Mathematical Optimization

Students in Waterloo’s Mathematical Optimization program study a branch of mathematics that develops and uses analytic tools to model and solve complex optimization problems that occur in real-world applications. They focus on solving problems where decisions need to be made about scarce resources and how they should be allocated effectively in complex, dynamic and uncertain conditions.

Students in this program develop a solid foundation in mathematics with special sequences of courses in economics, business and management science. The mathematics portion of the plan includes combinatorics, linear optimization, modelling, scheduling, forecasting, decision theory and computer simulation. The program’s business specialization courses include topics on strategic management, supply chain management and production management. 

Students in this program are trained for the practical application of mathematics to problem-solving in the professional world. The program gives them the knowledge and skills they need for analytical projects and decision making. They are equipped with a diverse knowledge base that will help them succeed and contribute effectively in various business environments. They learn from a combination of mathematical and economic theory and grow their practical communication and organizational skills. 

Students in Waterloo’s Mathematical Optimization program develop a thorough background in mathematics, economics and other business-related areas that helps them achieve success for a variety of employers. They develop a combination of academic and soft skills.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • highly developed mathematical skills including knowledge of financial math
  • experience with data mining and analysis
  • communication and organizational skills
  • effective time management
  • understanding of organizational structures in business
  • quantitative skills and numeracy
  • fundamental academic background in accounting and economics

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Mathematical Physics

Waterloo’s Mathematical Physics program is offered by the Department of Applied Mathematics and the Department of Physics. Students receive a background in both mathematics and physics, and earn an Honours Bachelor of Math or an Honours Bachelor of Science degree. It is ideal for those with an enthusiasm for using mathematics to understand nature.

This study of applied mathematics reinforces in students the belief that there is a purpose that can be applied to math. Mathematical physics is responsible for developments in theoretical and fluid mechanics, general relativity and quantum theory. Areas of study are diverse, and can include supersonic flow, the behaviour of ocean waves, the structure of space-time and cosmology, and the fundamental symmetry properties of the world of atoms and molecules.

Students use the knowledge and experience they gain through this program to analyze the science of what makes our world run, and then systematize and utilize this wealth of knowledge in all scientific areas. 

This program equips students with a diverse understanding of mathematical theory and the fundamentals of physics so that they have a broad knowledge base, research skills and sophisticated mathematical methods to succeed in the modern technological research environment. 

Advanced mathematical methods are increasingly important in basic and applied research in physics, helping to drive exciting developments in both technology (for example, quantum optics and nanotechnology) and fundamental physics (for example, cosmology and quantum information theory).

Students in Waterloo’s Mathematical Physics program develop varied and valuable skills across both the physics and mathematics fields.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • project management
  • statistical analysis
  • data mining
  • recording and communicating findings
  • writing lab reports
  • pragmatic problem-solving
  • micro-analysis 

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Mathematical Studies

At the University of Waterloo, home to one of the world’s few faculties of mathematics, the study of mathematics and its several branches is a primary focus. The Mathematical Studies program is designed for students who have broad mathematical interests. Students in this program prefer more flexibility in their choice of courses so they can design a path of study that suits their individual tastes.

This program allows ample scope for students to obtain a minor in an area of mathematics or a minor from another faculty. Successful graduates can confidently pursue careers in a wide variety of areas including business, teaching or public service.

Students in this program are extremely motivated. They bring to the job mathematical knowledge from across the discipline. They also bring strong numeracy, analytical and problem-solving skills to the workplace.

Students in the Mathematical Studies program have a range of valuable skills and attributes, including:

  • strong problem-solving and analytical skills
  • solid numeracy skills
  • good communication skills
  • computer proficiency

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Mathematics/Chartered Professional Accountancy

Students in Waterloo’s Mathematics/Chartered Professional Accountancy (Math/CPA) program combine their abilities for working with numbers and problem solving with knowledge learned in the specialized field of accounting.

The School of Accounting and Finance is nationally accredited by CPA Canada. As a result, Math/CPA students will:

  • have the opportunity to gain up to 16 months of CPA approved work experience through co-op work terms
  • be exempt from the CPA Professional Education Program upon completion of the 8-month Masters of Accounting (MAcc) program at Waterloo

Students in this program learn the knowledge and skills necessary to become a professional accountant while obtaining mathematical, computer and statistical skills.

This educational background that balances two disciplines provides these students with knowledge and skills that enable them to be successful in a variety of roles and workplaces.

Students in Waterloo’s Math/CPA program develop not only effective accountancy skills, but also an in-depth understanding of relevant computer technology, statistical procedures for auditing and forecasting, and mathematical techniques like operations research. They have a broad knowledge base.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • strong numeracy skills
  • auditing
  • communication skills
  • tax compliance
  • analytical and problem-solving skills

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Mathematics/Teaching

Mathematics/Teaching combines academic studies in mathematics with co-op teaching experience.

During co-op terms, these students are well-prepared to teach classes at junior and senior levels, mark assignments and tests, and assist teachers with lesson plans.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • analytical and problem-solving skills
  • critical thinking
  • teamwork and leadership
  • practical work experience
  • well-developed communication skills

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Pure Mathematics

Mathematics is both an art and a science and pure mathematics lies at its heart. Courses explore the boundaries of mathematics and pure reason, stimulating the mind and promoting intellectual growth.

This dynamic discipline demands high standards. Waterloo’s Pure Mathematics program explores a broad spectrum of mathematics including algebra, number theory, analysis, geometry, topology, logic and functional equations ranging from the very classical to the most modern.

Many students study pure mathematics for the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and to gain a strong foundation for applying their knowledge throughout their career. Valued features of this program include small, cohesive classes and a supportive atmosphere. Students are challenged to their full academic potential and become independent, critical and creative thinkers.

Students will have a broad range of intellectual, practical and social abilities, characterized by a variety of transferable skills and attributes including:

  • critical, analytical and creative thinkers
  • motivated and independent
  • research skills
  • strong problem-solving abilities
  • well-developed communication skills

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Scientific Computation/Applied Mathematics

Students in Waterloo’s Scientific Computation/Applied Mathematics program use their strengths in both mathematics and computer science to solve problems across a variety of industries. They are taught to use computers to solve industrial-sized mathematical problems that occur in a variety of fields, including business, economics, engineering, finance, medicine and science.

Students learn how to apply computer methods to simulate mathematical models. The results of these simulations are numerical answers, formulae, data sets, plots, charts and images. Students use these results to understand the nature of the world and predict and influence the future. 

The Scientific Computation/Applied Mathematics program gives students the ability to develop fast and accurate algorithms for solving a wide variety of problems on computers.

They develop the skills and knowledge to make developments in technology and scientific research. The program prepares students to work in fields as diverse as biomedical research, satellite communication systems, pollution control, aerospace, environment, communications, finance, energy and software. 

Various sectors of industry face increasingly large-scale problems that can be solved only by people who have specialized knowledge and skills in computer modelling of mathematical problems. These students are knowledgeable in multiple fields including math, engineering and science.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • critical analysis and problem-solving
  • numerical analysis
  • quantitative analysis techniques
  • mathematical modelling

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Statistics

Statistics deals with the collection, interpretation and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, experimental and sample survey design, statistical inference (concerned with inferring what the population is like on the basis of a small sample of data), modelling, forecasting, probability theory (the link between population and sample) and decision theory.

The statistician’s first job is to determine what data to collect, and how to collect it so that it will be without bias or distortion. Statistical methods are used extensively in biology, medicine, health sciences, agriculture, business, finance, economics, engineering and many other fields. Claims based on statistical arguments appear daily in the media, and it is difficult to assess these claims intelligently without knowledge of statistical methods. 

Developing and evaluating statistical models to describe the variation in some response in terms of other explanatory valuables, and application of these models, is discussed throughout the statistics curriculum. 

Waterloo’s Statistics program is designed to equip students with a thorough understanding of a broad range of statistical applications and the ability to interpret theoretical complex data and make effective decisions towards problem solving.

Although students will have a broad range of abilities, they are characterized by some key skills and attributes:

  • rigorous mathematical ability
  • an inquiring, analytical mind
  • strong communication skills
  • ability to translate complex issues for the benefit  of their colleagues
  • superior motivation

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Statistics for Health

Waterloo’s Statistics for Health program is the only program of its kind in Canada. Offered by the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, the program emphasizes the statistical elements of research in the areas of clinical, public and population health.  

Students in this program learn not only how to determine what data to collect, but how to collect it so that it will be without bias or distortion. They discover how statistical elements of research can make significant impacts in clinical, public and population health and health-care.

Students are exposed to knowledge from a variety of academic areas, including statistics, biostatistics, computer science, health studies, gerontology and economics. 

The program offers students both depth and breadth of knowledge through the wide range of topics covered. Students are equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience required to be successful in the workforce.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • decision-making skills
  • ability to translate complex data 
  • strong research abilities
  • analytical and critical thinking skills
  • excellent communication skills

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