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Schools University of Toronto or Waterloo?

  1. May 10, 2009 #1


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    Hello, I am in my final year of High School in Ontario (Canada), and I must soon choose which University program to attend in September.

    The following programs are what I am trying to decide between:

    - Engineering Science (University of Toronto)
    - Physics (University of Toronto) [or Mathematics and Physics]
    - Nanotechnology Engineering (University of Waterloo)
    - http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/programs/math_phys.html (University of Waterloo)

    I have already looked into the programs quite a bit and found that all of them provide the option of pursuing physics in graduate school (given I choose the physics option in Engineering Science, or in Nanotechnology Engineering). What I am concerned about is the level of preparation that each program provides.

    I have read some posts by a member called vincebs, and he seems to be strongly against the physics/mathematics and physics programs at UofT because they apparently keep the students' GPAs very low.

    On the other hand, some people say that Waterloo's physics programs are not very strong compared to Universities like UofT, McGill, or Queen's.

    And then, many others say that where one studies physics at the undergraduate level does not matter at all. This would imply that performance on the CAP Exam says more about the kind of students that attend a University, rather than the quality of the education at that University (UofT students often perform well in this exam, whereas Waterloo students rarely place very high).

    The engineering programs at both Universities are attractive in that they both seem to provide a great deal of breadth, but I am worried that if I choose to pursue physics through a BASc degree then I would be at a disadvantage due to the lesser focus on theory in engineering math and science courses. I have read that many students have switched from engineering to science for this reason.

    Overall, what would you people recommend? I am interested in learning theory, since I like to have a deep understanding of how things work and why they work in that way (this applies to both math and science concepts), but I am also interested in studying a wider range of sciences which engineering programs seem to offer, and possibly science programs with enough electives.

    I know there are members here who are currently enrolled in the programs I am trying to choose between - input from them would be very helpful.

    Thank you, and sorry for the length.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2009 #2
    I'm in the same boat. Though I'm deciding between Physics or Math and Physics at UofT. Maybe EngSci? I'm kinda stuck at UofT now since I already payed my 1st month's rent!

    The only other program I applied for the Waterloo Physics. Though I heard they have a messy physics department. That shouldn't be a problem for you since Mathematical Physics is under the Math department.

    Vincebs is scaring me!

    PE2 are you going to UofT next weekend?
  4. May 10, 2009 #3


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    Well, there are actually two Mathematical Physics programs at Waterloo; one of them is in the science faculty, and the other in the math faculty. They differ very slightly, and overall the programs span over both faculties anyway.

    And can you elaborate on what you've heard of the physics department being "messy"?

    Me too. Coupled with the other failure stories I've heard coming from UofT, I have been left slightly hesitant of going there.

    What's happening? Regardless, it's a fairly long distance for me, and visiting UofT and UW during the March break open house events gave me a pretty good overview of the Universities.
  5. May 10, 2009 #4
    Hi PE2. I just heard its messy, haha. I don't have a clue what that means. I just heard the math department is a lot better than the physics department. I don't know the details.

    Oh next weekend is the POPTOR weekend. I just though your in Ontario and doing physics so you might go.

    Oh and check out "Physics Universities in Canada: Specifics" if you haven't.
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