Mathematical Optimization

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“Waterloo has the best profs and researchers, and great history in the study of this field. There’s a lot of different and interesting courses offered, and the program is super flexible. Optimization also has a lot of practical applications in the real world, and I could see it in work much more clearly than other fields of math.”

What is Mathematical Optimization?

Use analytic tools to model and solve complex problems in business and government. You’ll put sophisticated mathematical and computing techniques to the test to identify optimal solutions. With a strong background in math and computer science, combined with courses in business, economics, and management science, you’ll have the skills that will put you in high demand.


  • Available as a co-op or regular program
  • There are 40 courses for this degree
  • Graduate with a Bachelor of Mathematics, major in Mathematical Optimization
  • Specializations in Operations Research or Business

First-year courses

  • MATH 135/145 - Classical Algebra
  • MATH 137/147 - Calculus 1
  • CS 115/135/145 - Computer Science
  • A communications course
  • One non-math elective

See full courses in our undergraduate calendar.

Upper-year courses

  • CO 250 - Introduction to Optimization
  • CS 330 - Management Information Systems
  • CO 372 - Portfolio Optimization Models
  • CO 342 - Introduction to Graph Theory
  • CO 456 - Introduction to Game Theory

Sample co-op jobs

  • Product Manager Intern, Yelp
  • Ad Operations Intern, The Toronto Star
  • Internet Marketing & Analytics Intern, eBay
  • Product Manager Intern, Zynga
  • Business Analyst, Direct Energy

Sample careers

  • Associate, Northwater Capital Management Inc.
  • Systems Analyst, United Overseas Bank Group
  • Associate, Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd.
  • Auditor, Government of British Columbia
  • Business Analyst, RBC Financial Group
  • Senior Business Analyst, Hang Seng Bank
  • Risk Analyst, TD Bank Group
  • Health Information Analyst, Ministry of Health Services
  • Business Analyst, ThoughtWorks Canada

Student story

Meet Kevin

Kevin came to the University of Waterloo because of its vast opportunity for interesting courses and coop/exchange opportunities. He was intrigued by the practical applications to the real world that Optimization had to offer. Kevin believes that: "you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new! You must enjoy what you are learning and what you are doing, try not to worry about the process that it takes to get to that point".

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How to apply

Apply to Mathematics for admissions consideration. If admitted, speak with an academic advisor after first year to declare Mathematical Finance as a major.

Find out more information on the steps to apply.