Information for

Physics and Astronomy

Degree: Honours Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Physics and Astronomy
Physics and Astronomy
Systems of study available: regular or co-op
Physics and astronomy observatory

The study of planets, moons, stars, and galaxies — as well as their origin, evolution, and how they interact with each other.


Astronomy is the oldest of the natural sciences — dating all the way back to the earliest recordings of history where civilizations such as the Greeks and Egyptians noted their observations of the night sky. So much of our modern life is based upon the works of ancient astronomers, from our yearly calendar to navigational systems. Study our vast universe, from subatomic particles to planets, stars, and galaxies, to the origin, evolution, and fate of the whole cosmos. Engage with professors who are using state-of-the-art satellites and telescopes to explore space, while you prepare for careers in astrophysics and space science.

First-year courses

Beginning in first year, you'll take courses in physics and astronomy. Access a large number and variety of state-of-the-art labs. Informal seminars and research lab tours keep you current with the latest research being conducted by your professors.

fall term winter term

One of CHEM 120100-level BIOLor EARTH 121 (and associated labs)

PHYS 121/131L Mechanics/Lab

PHYS 10 Physics Seminar 

MATH 114 Linear Algebra for Science

MATH 127 Calculus 1 for the Sciences

One elective

One of CHEM 123100-level BIOL, or EARTH 122 (and associated labs)

PHYS 10 Physics Seminar 

PHYS 122/122L Waves, Electricity and Magnetism/Lab

MATH 128 Calculus 2 for the Science

PHYS 175/175L Introduction to the Universe / Lab

PHYS 124 Modern Physics

Upper-year courses

View the full list of upper year courses in the academic calendar.

Co-operative Education (co-op) available: Yes

Physics and Astronomy co-op students at work

  • Research Assistant, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
  • RADARSAT Operations Support Assistant, Canadian Space Agency
  • Research Associate, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Learn more about co-op and how much you can earn on co-op work terms.

Career fields

What our grads are doing now

  • Astronomer
  • Observatory operation
  • Remote sensing and other imaging applications
  • Big data analysis (financial and research institutions)
  • Industry — including fiber optics, lasers, etc.

See more in the science careers list.

Admission information for future students

  • Apply via Physical Sciences on the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC).
  • Visit Waterloo’s main future student website for details on admissions, financing, housing, and more.

Meet Our Ambassadors

Find out more about life as a Waterloo Physics and Astronomy student. Come in for a tour or to one of our open houses and you might even meet them in person!


Physics QS Ranking 2018

Explore other physics-related programs

Build your own BSc

Another way to study physics and astronomy related courses is our flexible, build-your-own-degree Honours Science BSc program.