Mathematical Physics at Waterloo

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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am in my last year of high school and going to waterloo in Semptember for Mathematical Physics.

I applied for the mathematical physics program twice, once from the Math Faculty and once from their Science Faculty.

I don't know which one to choose, many of the courses are overlapping, except that the one from the Science Faculty requires a few lab courses and the other doesn't but have more math and computer sciences. (I don't enjoys labs too much though but are still okay with them)

I eventually want to do graduate work. I'm wondering if any one have any opinions to which one I should choose. Is their a big difference between a B.Sc. and a B.Math.? and would the Math faculty program put me at a disadvantage because of the lack of labs?

Answers and Replies

I'm doing Computational physics at Waterloo, and i had labs for the following
Earth 121L/122L ( i have no idea why we have to take a course relating to rocks)
Chem 120L/123L
Phys 121L/122L
CS 125/L

Honestly I HATE labs with a passion, they are time consuming and tedious, but they do assert valuable experiences and assets to help you out on the long run, and may even help you understand the course material better.
I am a 2nd year student at university of waterloo. If you take math phys at faculty, yes you take more math courses and its more math intense compare to math phys at science. If you think you are not a person who will enjoy labs but really love math, I would recommend you to go for math faculty one.
I'm 2nd year math phys under science, and I think the programs are identical after first year. There are a lot of crosslisted courses under AMATH and PHYS, so it may look like math based students take more, but its really the same. The main difference up until now was Quantum 2 - math students took a more rigorous course that required Calc 4 as a prereq - but they've changed the science program to this course as well now (I don't think the change is on the university calendar yet).

In first year, there are some differences. As you mentioned, science based students must take one chem lab and one phys lab in each semester. They also must take two chem lecture courses and one intro C++ course - math faculty replaces this with 2 CS courses (either Java or Scheme) and an elective. Also, math faculty has a breath requirement (they require a couple ARTS courses) that science omits.

Another thing to consider: intro scholarships are faculty dependant. Math ones are based on the Euclid contest, science are based off the SIN physics contest.
I'll start off by saying I know nothing of WO's programs, I'm at UT. Math one would probably better prepare you for upper level physics. Labs are very very time demanding. Still, it is nice to visualize where all the theory your studying comes from.

In essence, physics IS experiemental results. By studying labs you really are studying physics. You will also remember the results a lot better than a bunch of logic deduced equations. That said, I still think universities do a crap job of teaching labs.
do the math one

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