Mathematical Physics

Nick Mitchell

“With the combination of the world-renowned mathematics department, connections with IQC and Perimeter Institute, and the co-op program UW is definitely the best choice for math undergrads.”

What is Mathematical Physics?

You’ll study the math of the laws of nature

Discover the mathematical and theoretical underpinnings of the laws of nature, such as the foundations of quantum theory with its applications in nanotechnology, the structure of spacetime and cosmology, fluid mechanics and atmospheric physics. Learn from world-class researchers at the Institute for Quantum Computing, the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

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

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

  • AMATH 231 - Calculus 4
  • AMATH 271 - Introduction to Theoretical Mechanics
  • PHYS 234 - Quantum Physics 1
  • PHYS 342 - Electricity and Magnetism 2
  • PHYS 358 - Thermal Physics

Recomended courses

  • AMATH 251 - Introduction to Differential Equations

  • AMATH 271 - Introduction to Theoretical Mechanics:

  • AMATH 475 (General Relativity)

  • PHYS 234 - Quantum Physics 1

  • AMATH 473 and AMATH 474 (Quantum Theory 2 and 3)


In the Mathematical Physics program, you’ll develop a very strong understanding of a wide range of mathematical disciplines and then learn how to apply these to a variety of physical problems. You could embark on an exciting research career in fields such as cosmology, relativistic quantum information, quantum computing, physical oceanography, or atmospheric science and pursue graduate studies at Waterloo or top international schools. A training in mathematical physics opens many doors — you’ll be wellprepared for graduate studies not only in physics and applied mathematics, but even engineering. There are also many career opportunities outside academia for you including emerging industrial fields such as quantum computing and nanotechnology.


Each Spring term, the Department of Applied Mathematics organizes an active undergraduate research program supported by NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRAs). There are also research awards available if you’re an international student. Mathematical Physics faculty members are active in a number of research areas including quantum information theory, nanotechnology, quantum gravity, cosmology, fluid mechanics, and statistical physics. In addition, you can pursue summer research opportunities with the Perimeter Institute.

Sample co-op jobs

  • Application Analysts, Northern Digital Inc.
  • Research Assistant, Communications Research Centre
  • Software Designer, Telesat Canada

Sample careers

  • Chief Software Modeller, RPM Technologies
  • Technology Development Fellow, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Research Assistant, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Research Assistant, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering
  • Field Applications Engineer, Nanometrics — Seismic Monitoring Solutions
  • Technical Program Manager, Google
  • Analyst, Reactor and Radiation Physics, AMEC NSS
  • Senior Researcher, IQB Information Technologies
  • Technology Development Fellow, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Student story

Meet Nick

Nick has some tips and tricks for incoming Mathies. To learn to the best of your ability, he believes that you must take every opportunity you can to learn the material and always be ready to work. Practicing through assignments, textbook questions, and tutorials are a great way for you to learn the material so that when exams come around you aren’t scrambling for information. Also, know that asking for help isn’t a bad thing!

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Outside of the Faculty of Mathematics

How to apply

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

Find out more information on the steps to apply.