Combinatorics and Optimization

Clare chats with a friend in the cafe

What is Combinatorics and Optimization?

Combinatorics looks at permutations and combinations. Optimization explores ways to make any operation work more efficiently within given constraints. Together, they provide powerful methods for modelling and solving large management problems, from optimizing flight schedules to making a factory’s layout as efficient as possible. Study at the first department of its kind in the world and you’ll graduate with the skills to solve problems in computer science, business, communications, and more.

Meet Clare

Clare working in a classroomOutside of school and classes, Clare is very involved in the University of Waterloo’s different communities. She put her video and writing skills to work sharing her story as a Math Ambassador, and she's an active member of the campus theatre scene. She's a scriptwriter, and she produces her own videos too.

You can read more about Clare's experiences at the University of Waterloo, and in the Faculty of Mathematics on the Beyond Ideas blog!

"I chose Waterloo because I believe it is the best school for math in the country. The talent on campus has always blown me away. Hearing the accomplishments of students and faculty makes me feel surrounded by bright minds."

Your first year

All first-year students take a common selection of math courses called core courses. Normally in the fall term, students take:

*Note: For suggested electives and more information please visit our course selection page.

Potential co-op and career opportunities

Potential co-op opportunities
Sample titles Sample employers
  • Business technology analyst
  • Data analyst
  • Full stack developer
  • Quantitative trading associate
  • Software developer
  • Software QA specialist
  • Web interface developer
  • Facebook
  • Deloitte
  • Sybase Canada
  • Ontario Ministry of Government and Community Services
  • Department of National Defence
  • OpenText Corporation
  • Cisco Systems Canada
Potential career opportunities
  • Junior Quantitative Analyst, Green Brick Labs
  • Risk Analyst, Rogers Bank
  • Actuary, Sun Life Financial 
  • Software Engineer, Amazon Canada
  • Statistical Analyst, Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Platform Developer, IGLOO 
  • Engineer, Software Development, Microsoft Canada