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Mcgill, Toronto or Waterloo?

  • Thread starter Werg22
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I applied to Mathematics/Physics at all three. Now, say I get admitted into all three, which one should I chose? My current plan is to later attend grad school in the US (hopefully at a school with a big name), and I was wondering which of these universities will help me the most to get that done. I hear Waterloo is the best of its kind in Canada, but Toronto and Mcgill have a better reputation among admission offices. What do you suggest?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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there all good schools...so it doesn't really matter. Waterloo will probably prepare you for work after undergraduate and you could probably get NSERC schols then ...but if you just wanna focus on research UFT might be better(depending on your grades)...also UFT has alot of stuff in walking distance...but waterloo is a nice quiet place....mcgill has an underground from what i've heard which coudl be nice.
 
  • #3
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Thanks there! But I forgot to mention that I wanted to study in the US after...
 
  • #4
JasonRox
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Thanks there! But I forgot to mention that I wanted to study in the US after...
I vote Waterloo.

The schools in the US clearly know what school Waterloo, especially for mathematics.
 
  • #5
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also at waterloo you'll be close to iqc and pi
 
  • #6
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I vote Waterloo but I go there :D
 
  • #7
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Hummm are you guys sure? My physics teacher who studied, graduated and taught at Stanford told me that UoT and Mcgill applicants are more likely to get in and have a better reputation. I'm kind of confused now...
 
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  • #8
morphism
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Maybe Average Joe American doesn't know what Waterloo is, but graduate schools definitely do.
 
  • #9
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All three are good schools with very different cities. I know that it may seem insignificant when you're thinking about your long term goals right now, but do think about which city you'd rather live in for the next four ears. More things you should think about is the size of the student body at each school, what the social atmosphere is like, etc..
 
  • #10
An undergraduate from Waterloo would have as good a chance as anyone to get into my math graduate program. In fact, I know at least two people from there that were accepted here. They were both also accepted to Stanford as far as I know.
 
  • #11
I applied to Mathematics/Physics at all three. Now, say I get admitted into all three, which one should I chose? My current plan is to later attend grad school in the US (hopefully at a school with a big name), and I was wondering which of these universities will help me the most to get that done. I hear Waterloo is the best of its kind in Canada, but Toronto and Mcgill have a better reputation among admission offices. What do you suggest?
Things like 'reputation' & 'prestige' are ideas that universities use to confuse high school applicants.
I'll will say this: Yes it does make a difference which university you attend. however, when you are looking at McGill, UofT, and UW, think of it more like a menu than a 'who won the race' comparison. Go into the program *you* believe to be the best. As long as you can keep your grades above 80%, and take on a job or responsibility here and there you will be in grad.

"Going to a school with a big name", I never want to hear you say that phrase again. You should like a stuck-up @$$. EVERY university has merits.
I personally attend UW because they're co-op program is amazing. you have to research the programs that each university offers and make the decision yourself.
 
  • #12
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Ok. For a science/mathematics major how does the COOP program help? I wonder if you have to sacrifice some of the things that students not in COOP have... Also, if I decide to study mathematical physics at Waterloo will I still be able to choose between grad studies in math and physics? I'm not sure in which of the two fields I'm heading right now and I'm not ready to chose right now. Here is some info on their mathematical physics program:

http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/programs/math_phys.html"
 
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  • #13
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the only 'sacrifice' that a co-op student makes is that he will be in school 2 or so terms more than a non co-op student (in waterloo, at least). i think it's a great opportunity to make good money and gain experience in different lines of work.

you can choose to do your mathematical physics degree through the faculty of science or through the faculty of math. Basically, it's a physics degree that is heavier on the math with little labwork OR it's an applied math degree with a very heavy focus on physics. So I guess unless you want to go into experimental physics or something like C&O or pure mathematics, you're good for grad school in either fields.
 
  • #14
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"So I guess unless you want to go into experimental physics or something like C&O or pure mathematics"

I am considering pure mathematics above all in the mathematical field... What do I do?
 
  • #15
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I thought you said you wanted to do mathematical physics?

If you wanted to, I guess you could do a double major in mathematical physics and pure math, but that would be very hard, since the mathematical physics program is pretty tight in terms of scheduling. On the other hand, a minor in pure math isn't too bad, and there is an applied math/ pure math double major program that's also availible.

if you're interested in doing pure math then, maybe applying for the math faculty at Waterloo is a better option. The way it works is that you do your first year in math as an 'honours math' student, taking algebra, calculus, CS and two electives each term. Once you finish your first year, THEN you apply to have your major changed to math-phys, pure math, applied math...etc, whereas in science, you directly enroll in mathematical physics in your first year.
 
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  • #16
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I want to study both pure math and theoretical physics (I though mathematical physics would give me that opportunity). The thing is, I don't want to chose one over the other right now - I'm not ready. I want to report the decision to after graduation. I did in fact apply to the faculty of math... Now what's your suggestion?
 
  • #17
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I'm getting the impression that you don't really know the distinction between pure and applied math.

The thing is, terms like "theoretical", "pure", and "applied" carry connotations that people tend to get hung up over. It really is a somewhat pretentious distinction, and I think that a lot of students go into university wanting to study "theoretical physics" or pure math thinking that they are somehow more challenging or significant than their "applied" counterparts.

That being said, the type of mathematics most branches of physics is concerned with are very different from the kind of math pure math students study, and mathematical physics is basically an applied math degree with a concentration in physics, which in no way reflects the respective difficulties in each program.

It's pretty much impossible to see the differences in each program until you actually get here and take some courses, so I'd say that in your position, I'd opt to go into honours math, take physics electives (and labs, depending on how busy you want to be), and see where you want to go from there.
 
  • #18
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So the choice would have to be made right after the first year? If so, that makes it a difficult decision... When I say "pure math" I'm talking about the kind of mathematics that doesn't necessarily have any application... I'm far more interested into becoming a professor and research mathematical theory than focusing on problems relevant to an industry or something of the likes. And when I say theoretical physics, it's because I am interested into "thinking about theories" rather than "thinking about proving theories".
 
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  • #19
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So the choice would have to be made right after the first year?
Courses in the department of pure math don't actually start until third year, so the earliest you can take them is your 2B term. Up to then, Your schedule is pretty flexible, so you can take the courses that satisfy the mathematical physics program and put off making a decision up until your second year.

When I say "pure math" I'm talking about the kind of mathematics that don't necessarily have an application...
I'm not sure why you're saying that you don't want to study math that is applicable to other subjects, since physics is pretty much the quintessential example of applied mathematics, and you specifically said that you wanted to do mathematical physics :confused:

And when I say theoretical physics, it's because I am interested into "thinking about theories" rather than "thinking about proving theories".
"thinking about proving theories" is exactly what pure math is all about!

Judging by what you said, it seems like applied math is what you're looking for, but like I said earlier, it's impossible to tell before you actually take some courses...so I'd say that since you applied for the honours math program already, you shouldn't really worry about the differences in pure and applied math or theoretical and experimental physics until you take some math courses, try out some labs, talk to an advisor here and whatnot. It really is hard to tell what you want to spend all that time and money studying until you get a taste for it, so have fun in your last few weeks of highschool.
 
  • #20
In co-op (engineering), the only negative impact is it takes 1year longer to complete your degree. But the positives are numerous: you get that experience that employers are always looking for, you make money, you gain a better understanding of the concepts you learn in the class. Academically, the programs are identical.

If you are looking at grad, UW is among the top schools in Canada for quality of education. But as I said, you'll receive an amazing education at any of of the ones you listed.

"thinking about theories" rather than "thinking about proving theories".
I may be ignorant, but I believe those two go hand-in-hand. You need to defend yourself!

Regarding admission requirements:

From the physics site http://gwp.on.ca/program/admissions.html [Broken]
An honours degree in physics or equivalent, with first or upper second class standing, is normally required for entry into an MSc program; an MSc degree from an approved university or college is normally required for entrance into a PhD program. It should be noted that students will be admitted to either of these research programs only if a advisor can be found for their research. Since there are a limited number of openings each year, applicants are advised to state alternative areas of research on the preference form supplied.

Students who, in the opinion of the Admissions Committee, have insufficient background to enter the MSc program directly, may be advised to enter a qualifying year. Their applications will be considered upon the completion of that year.
From the math site Math
A 75% overall standing in the last two years, or equivalent, in a four-year Honours Bachelor's degree or equivalent is the minimum requirement for admission to a Master's program. Departments and Faculties may set higher admission requirements.

A minimum of two letters of reference from academic referees are required for admission to a Master's program. Departments or Faculties may set higher requirements.
 
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  • #21
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I meant mathematics/physics (as in two different disciplines). Not necessarily mathematical physics... sorry for the confusion. By "thinking about proving theories" I meant "thinking about labs that will prove or disprove the theory" - I like to prove things on paper. Otherwise, I absolutely adore to prove mathematical identities, theorems and other truths. You could say that physics and mathematics represent two different fields for me - as if I liked music and biology at the same time.
 
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  • #22
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in that case, it's probably a good idea to apply to the science faculty as well (don't you get 3 applications with OUAC?). That leaves a spot to apply to UofT, and you can apply to Mcgill through their own system. good luck!
 
  • #23
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Yeah I applied to the faculty of science... but then if I'm admitted at both programs what do I do?
 
  • #24
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well, like i said earlier, you can always go into math and take science electives and labs and put off making a decision until about half-way through your second year. Should you decide that you want to take a lot of labs and other science courses, I guess you could always switch into the science faculty in your second year..
 
  • #25
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The Mcgill joint honour in mathematics and physics seems very interesting:

http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/ugrads/math.html" [Broken]

Would this be more convenient to me?

Also would COOP help me get into grad school?
 
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