Academic programs

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What is a major?

A major is the subject that's the main focus of your degree.

Most of your courses will be in your major and you'll graduate with a degree in that major, e.g. Actuarial Science, Applied Mathematics Business Administration, Computational Mathematics, Computer Science, Pure Mathematics, Statistics to name a few.

View majors in the Faculty of Math.

What is a minor?

A minor is a secondary subject that complements your major.

Minors require 8-10 courses and provide breadth to your degree. They can be within your faculty or from a different faculty. These are the minors available at Waterloo, allowing you to easily combine two or more subjects of interest.

View a list of math-specific minors administrated by the Faculty of Mathematics.

What is a joint?

A joint in Math refers to a plan that requires more courses than a minor but less courses than a major.

Not all departments within Math offer joints. For Math students, a joint cannot be pursued on its own, it must be combined with another joint or major within Math.

To view a list of minors and joints available to students in other faculties, you may visit plans for students outside of Mathematics.

What is a specialization?

Specializations are intended to provide you with a path to expand and tailor your degree.

Specializations are only available within your major. For example, as a Computer Science student, you may wish to add an Artificial intelligence or Business specialization to your degree in your second-year.

Students interested in pursuing a specialization may contact their plan advisor for more information.

If you choose one or more minors or specializations, they will appear on your diploma along with your major. Minors and specializations aren't available in all programs.

What is a double major?

You can choose to major in more than one area this allows you to focus on two main areas of interest. Some students may also choose to triple major. Math students may only pursue majors within the Faculty of Mathematics. 

What is a double degree program?

There are two double degree programs in the Faculty of Mathematics. One is the Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) and the other is a Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS) and they combine with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). A double degree program means you are working towards one degree (BMath/BCS) at the University of Waterloo and working towards a second degree at the same time at Wilfrid Laurier University (BBA).

What's the difference between a program and a major?

At Waterloo, your major is your program when you apply to it directly from high school, e.g., Mathematics, Computer Science, Financial Analysis and Risk Management. These are also called entry programs because you "enter" university through them. For example, you'll apply to a program such as honours Mathematics and then choose a major such as Applied mathematics or Statistics.

However, program and major are often used interchangeably.

What's the difference between a consecutive degree and a concurrent degree?

Students who are interested in completing both a degree from the Math Faculty and a degree from another faculty at Waterloo can attempt to do so consecutively. This means that students must complete the requirements for and graduate from one undergraduate degree and then apply for readmission into a second undergraduate degree. Admission into a second undergraduate degree is not guaranteed. Second degree admission decisions would be subject to the policies governing the faculty to which a student is applying. Students interested in applying for readmission into a second degree should consult with advisors to discuss the process, requirements and potential transfer credits. The Math Faculty does not permit students to complete concurrent degrees.

Explore academic plans in Math