Student opportunities

Summer students

  • I usually accept one or two undergraduate students each year.
  • Summer students are normally between third and fourth year.
  • Summer students usually work with me from May 1 to August 31.
  • The pay is between about $2,000 per month, depending also on whether or not you receive a scholarship.
  • If you are interested, apply informally. Just send me an email in December that includes a summary of your interests and a copy of your transcript.
  • I will start considering applications from early January until the positions are filled.
  • Also, check out opportunities for summer research at Perimeter Institute.

Graduate studies

The next deadline for applications is in January. In principle, you can apply at any time of the year, but from January onward we start allocating funding for students.

Each application season, I receive a very large number of applications and almost all of my students, domestic and international, have scholarships. Their typical GPA is in the nineties. 

I try to provide my graduate students with optimal conditions to bring out their best. This means frequent opportunities to discuss, regular opportunities to give informal seminars in our weekly group meetings, as well as funding for travel to summer schools, workshops and conferences. The lab space is modern and with natural light. The research environment here at the University of Waterloo and at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is highly stimulating and there is a constant flux of high calibre international visitors. There is a larger number of interesting seminars per week than one can possibly attend.

Application procedure

If you wish to work with me as the sole or primary supervisor, apply to the Department of Applied Mathematics, mentioning my name.

If you apply to University of Waterloo's Department of Physics instead, I may be a co-supervisor but you need to find a primary supervisor in the physics department. This is not a legal requirement but in practice it would be difficult to have a student based in one department and the supervisor based in another, because of issues relating to funding and the allocation of Teaching Assistantship (TA) jobs.

Important information regarding the graduate program at the Department of Physics at University of Waterloo

The Departments of Physics of the Universities of Waterloo and Guelph have joined their graduate schools in the Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute (GWPI), which means that students can take graduate courses at both physics departments. The graduate courses are generally video-linked via the internet. The graduate courses offered by the GWPI are also harmonized with those offered by UWaterloo's Faculty of Mathematics, and these courses can be taken for full credit also by Applied Math graduate students. Also, for example, the two GWPI graduate courses "General Relativity for Cosmology" and "Quantum Field Theory for Cosmology" are actually Applied Math courses that I teach and that are cross-listed (and video-linked) to GWPI.

Here is a little online booklet that I wrote for new graduate students: Advice for Graduate Students (PDF).

Graduate studies in Mathematical Physics elsewhere in Waterloo

The Faculty of Mathematics (which has around 200 professors) offers an exceptionally wide range of high level courses. These cover the whole spectrum of techniques that are of interest to a mathematical physicist, from discrete mathematics and algorithms to advanced differential geometry and cosmological quantum field theory. There are faculty members with interests in quantum information theory in the faculty's Department of Combinatorics and Optimization and in the faculty's School of Computer Science. In my home department, the Department of Applied Mathematics, the following faculty members work in Mathematical Physics:

  • Prof. Eduardo Martin-Martinez
  • Prof. Joseph Emerson
  • Prof. Florian Girelli
  • Prof. Zoran Miskovic
  • Prof. John Wainwright (emeritus)
  • Prof. Josef Paldus (emeritus)

Graduate studies at the Perimeter Institute

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) is an independent research institute in 15 minutes walking distance from the University of Waterloo.

PI does research into the foundations of quantum theory and general relativity, with applications ranging from quantum computing to cosmology.

Many of PI's researchers are affiliated with University of Waterloo and vice versa. This means that University of Waterloo is able to offer some highly specialized graduate courses taught by researchers from PI. In addition, the institute frequently holds international conferences, workshops and schools, and it  has a large flux of international guest researchers who give seminars. These events are of great benefit to our graduate students.

Important: PI is an independent non-university research institution which has does not itself confer degrees.

PI has teamed up with University of Waterloo and now offers a one-year intensive coursework master's, called Perimeter Scholars International (PSI), modelled after the "Part III of the mathematical tripos" course of Cambridge. Under the patronage of Stephen Hawking, PSI aims to provide students with the best possible training for subsequent research in theoretical physics.

Students who wish to pursue graduate studies toward a thesis masters or a PhD under the supervision of a researcher at PI can do so if that researcher is also a university professor. Some PI researchers are university professors and others are not. If the researcher at PI is not, the student will need a co-supervisor who is a university professor.

Either way, the student will have to apply to and enrol in a university graduate program, for example in the Department of Applied Mathematics here at the University of Waterloo. For this purpose the student applies directly to the university department, the same way as any other prospective graduate student.

In addition, the prospective graduate student can apply to PI. If successful in the PI competition, PI may grant the student a desk at PI and possibly some financial support. Visit Perimeter Institute website for details on what PI can offer graduate students at University of Waterloo.

I am an affiliate member at PI but I am based in the Department of Applied Math at University of Waterloo. I offer (very nice) office space to my graduate students in my lab. My students and I frequently walk over to PI to take part in discussions and seminars.

Graduate studies at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC)

  • The Institute for Quantum Computing is part of the University of Waterloo and I am an associate member of the IQC.
  • The IQC pursues mathematical and experimental research into how to build and operate quantum technology. It is part of a world-wide effort to learn how to control quantum systems with one of the main goals being to utilize quantum mechanical phenomena to achieve a tremendous speed-up of certain types of calculations that are important, for example, in cryptography or in machine learning.
  • The IQC offers numerous opportunities, i.e., potential supervisors, for graduate students. These supervisors, such as myself, are based in various departments, including the Department of Applied Mathematics.