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Mcgill, Toronto or Waterloo?

  1. Mar 21, 2007 #1
    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?
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2007 #2
    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.
  4. Mar 21, 2007 #3
    Thanks there! But I forgot to mention that I wanted to study in the US after...
  5. Mar 21, 2007 #4


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    I vote Waterloo.

    The schools in the US clearly know what school Waterloo, especially for mathematics.
  6. Mar 21, 2007 #5
    also at waterloo you'll be close to iqc and pi
  7. Mar 23, 2007 #6
    I vote Waterloo but I go there :D
  8. Mar 23, 2007 #7
    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...
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2007
  9. Mar 23, 2007 #8


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    Maybe Average Joe American doesn't know what Waterloo is, but graduate schools definitely do.
  10. Mar 23, 2007 #9
    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..
  11. Mar 23, 2007 #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.
  12. Mar 24, 2007 #11
    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.
  13. Mar 24, 2007 #12
    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:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  14. Mar 24, 2007 #13
    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.
  15. Mar 24, 2007 #14
    "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?
  16. Mar 24, 2007 #15
    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.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2007
  17. Mar 24, 2007 #16
    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?
  18. Mar 24, 2007 #17
    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.
  19. Mar 24, 2007 #18
    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".
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2007
  20. Mar 24, 2007 #19
    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.

    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:

    "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.
  21. Mar 24, 2007 #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.

    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]
    From the math site Math
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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