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Best universities in Ontario,Canada for undergraduate Mathematics

  1. Nov 23, 2013 #1
    Hello, I am from Ontario, Canada. I will be graduating from high school soon, and right now, I have to take care of my university application.

    First of all, I am interested in pure mathematics because I really like rigor, proofs etc. Thus, my choices so far are the mathematics programs from the following universities:
    1. University of Toronto (UofT), St. George
    2. University of Waterloo
    3. University of Ottawa

    Ideally, I would have liked to get into UofT because of its location and decent mathematics honours program (because I would like to pursue graduate studies in mathematics). However, because I need back up plans, I have been looking at the mathematics programs of other Ontario universities.

    I must say that after comparing all the math programs of several universities, I am very very confused, as some of the math programs are not half as good as that of UofT.

    I am looking forward to all the help I can get from you guys (especially those who are from Ontario like me).
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2013 #2
    I'm from Ontario, and I'd say your choices are fine. I grew up in Waterloo, and I'd say that Toronto/Waterloo are both very solid choices (and I don't know much about Ottawa's math program so I can't say much there). Honestly, it's pretty easy to get into any undergrad Canadian program (as a Canadian citizen) as long as your marks are decent. A 90%+ average pretty much guarantees entrance into almost any program. I'm assuming that if you're already thinking to pursue graduate math studies, then you're a good math student. If you have 95%+ in Calculus/Vectors and Advanced Functions, or have scored high on the CEMC tests, or any similar accomplishments, then I highly doubt you'll have any trouble getting into these programs.
  4. Nov 23, 2013 #3
    The UofT honours math program seems to be quite a bit more intensive than other Canadian schools, thoroughly covering Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds in second year, and doing galois theory as part of their 3rd year algebra course. The University of Waterloo seems to have a very solid math curriculum too, comparable to UofT's. The University of Ottawa math courses seem quite weak...

    The first thing I would check at any given school is what kind of calculus course they offer to honours math students. First year calculus needs to be theorem-proof style, and second year calculus should start with a rigorous treatment of topology of R^n. Strong calculus courses set the foundation for later courses, and they mean that higher courses can assume you are competent at proving things, and they won't have to waste time proving things you should have rigorously done in calculus.
  5. Nov 24, 2013 #4
    UofT's math program is pretty good, but it also isn't super competitive. You should be able to get in if you have a decent 8x% average. Even if you don't, you can apply to any art-sci major and switch to a math major at the end of first year with no issue, as long as you take the 1st year math major courses (UofT won't stop you from taking them if you aren't a math major, a book and media student can enroll in them). In 1st year you would be taking an analysis (theorem calculus) course, 2 semesters of proof lin. alg. and probably a computer science course
    Good luck, it's a great program and the department calls itself "the breeding ground for Canadian mathematicians"

    And honestly, living in Toronto is much better than living in Waterloo or Ottawa haha, but I don't know anything about their programs
  6. Nov 24, 2013 #5


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    As a graduate of the math program at U of T, I can attest to the high quality and rigour of the math program available there. The math program at the University of Waterloo is of equivalent quality as well.

    Outside of those 2 schools, I have been told that the math programs at Queen's and McMaster are also quite rigorous, so you may want to look into those schools as a "backup" plan, although frankly if you have solid grades in senior level calculus or algebra classes, you shouldn't have any problems being accepted into any of these programs.
  7. Nov 24, 2013 #6

    George Jones

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    I, too, think the programs at U of T and Waterloo are very good.

    is a subjective opinion with which I subjectively disagree.

    I lived in Toronto for three years, mainly while my wife got a Master's in Engineering from U of T. I also have lived in other places in Ontario, four other Canadian provinces, one US state, and one US territory. Toronto is at the bottom of my list.
  8. Nov 24, 2013 #7
    Okay, I thank you all very much for your help. That really means a lot to me because now, I have a better idea of what to expect and what to do next.

    From what I've gathered from you guys is that I should not worry too much about not getting into U of T since I've got good grades and all that (and I expect I'll be having a 90%+, so yeah...).

    It's just that I felt like it would be wise to have back up plans, but I got really disappointed (and scared?) when I saw the scope of the other universities' math programs. Prior to that, I really thought that the name of the school did not matter at all, that it was all about prestige and stuffs like that. Well, it turns out that the name does matter after all.

    Anyway, loads and loads of thanks! All I got to do now is to move on to other stuffs I guess.
  9. Nov 24, 2013 #8
    Haha. Yes, I understand what you mean, but I myself live in Toronto, so I'd say that I am used to it here I guess. Also, one of the reasons for my primary choice being U of T is that I won't have to live on campus, which means that I'll have less loans to repay afterwards. :smile:
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