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Schools University of Toronto Undergrad

  1. Mar 5, 2008 #1
    Right now the University of Toronto is my first choice for undergrad in physics. I have read some posts by some people who went to U of T, Vincebs I think it was, who say that the averages are kept really low and it will be hard to get into grad school with. Is this really true?

    I was thinking I would go to graduate school afterwards. If not U of T, where would a good school in Ontario be?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2008 #2
    Waterloo has a really strong program, and I believe smaller classes which lead to better relationships with professors.
  4. Mar 5, 2008 #3
    Does it? Waterloo tends to regard itself a bit too highly, sometimes.

    To the OP: Have you considered Carleton? They're physics program attracts some strong students, from what I hear. If you have sufficiently high grades, they'll provide you with a generous scholarship.
  5. Mar 5, 2008 #4
    McMaster in Hamilton top research facilities for physics
  6. Mar 5, 2008 #5
    According to http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/Magazines/THES/graphics/WorldRankings2007.pdf [Broken]

    which is a nice comprehensive rating of school prestige based on peer review, papers published, cites per paper, etc.

    The only Canadian school (other than the big three; UBC, McGill, Toronto) to place in the top 50 for physical sciences is Waterloo.

    McMaster and Queens also have very good programs from what I hear, and place well overall in terms of prestige. I'm sure any of these schools would be very good. U Toronto would also be a good school, but much bigger and more competitive faculty which can have its downsides.

    As for Carleton, I have heard it is one of the weakest schools in Canada, last chance Carleton U?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  7. Mar 5, 2008 #6
    I am a 2nd year physics student at waterloo. The classes are very small and yes it would be good opportunity for student to interact with professors. I would definitely recommend if you are also interested in quantum computing because waterloo is very famous for that.
  8. Mar 5, 2008 #7
    I'm at UT. Just know what your getting yourself into.

    The class average is usually a C. Keep in mind that you are competing with the top students in the country, so for them to get a C is quite depressing. You will feel depressed a lot, because even if you study and do your homework you might come out of an exam with a low mark. You will get butloads of assignments that will be of insane difficulty. Our physics program is perhaps the most screwed up in the country, it follows a very unorthdox routine. They do this so they can offer a lot of courses in undergrad such as nuclear physics and quantum optics. By unorthdox, I mean you will learn waves at the same time as you learn quantum mechanics. You will learn advanced quantum theory BEFORE you learn advanced classical mechanics. You can get around most of this if you do 5 years, but come on...

    The only people I see backing up Waterloo are WL students themselves. Its human nature to enforce things that you are in on others. I don't know how reputable WL is but I do know the work load is much less intense, and the people are generally happier. In UT slacking for 2-3 days can literally kill your grade.
  9. Mar 5, 2008 #8
    Wow, Howers that sounds intense. What year are you in/ what program? I.E. Physics specialist, math major, etc.

    And if you don't mind me asking, what sort of marks are you getting?
  10. Mar 5, 2008 #9
    Year 2, I'm in chemical physics. Its a specialist physics degree that needs some chemistry. I'm also pursing a math major on the side.

    First year I had a GPA of about 3.9, which is a mid 80. Now I'm getting 60s. I mean our last 2 exams had averages of 44%.... I sometimes regret coming here. If you decide UT, here is some golden advice: do multivariable calc and diff eqn in the summer of first year, and NEVER EVER take more than 4 sciences at a time. UT does science hardcore. But generally, the physics courses are well done. Its the math they will kill you in.
  11. Mar 5, 2008 #10
    A 3.9, wow, that's a really good mark. Its strange that your mark has gone down after that, usually I hear about year 1 being the worst. What math did you take year 1? Mat 137 or 157?

    thanks for the advice on summer school btw.
  12. Mar 5, 2008 #11
    I took MAT137. Its a mix between pure math (proofs) and applied math (physics). MAT157 is a good course if your good at doing proofs. From what I've heard about 157, the classes get very small after the first test.

    Year 1 is not the hardest, its just you have to adjust. Year 2 is way harder. As for my grades, they are not "yet 60s. Its just what I've been getting lately on the test. I definately hope to get higher.
  13. Mar 6, 2008 #12
    I have heard lots of good things about Waterloo from non-waterloo people. I myself am currently graduating from UManitoba, by no means a leading edge school, but research here is pretty decent, (a tuition fee freeze is killing our reputation and undergrad funding) and we did clean up the undergrad poster research at CUPC this year. Anyhow, I have been looking into graduate schools, and whenever I look into it I always hear GWPI as one of the top programs in the country. I have currently applied at GW, Queens, and McMaster. I have many friends who went off to bigger schools like UBC and complain constantly about how competitive and isolated the programs are, and how much of pricks the other students are as they are fighting to get ahead. I personally have been turned off to the bigger schools for this reason.
  14. Mar 6, 2008 #13
    You don't sound whiny enough to go to U of T.

    Every four or five years each physics department in Canada undergoes an external review by professors at other universities. The outcome of this review determines whether departments can, for example, continue granting PhDs. If the undergraduate class marks differed substantially from what the reviewers consider "typical" this would come up in the review.

    In Ontario I know people who have gone to Guelph, Lakehead, McMaster, Toronto, Queens, Waterloo and Windsor for physics. My friends who have gone to Waterloo and to Guelph seem to be the most happy with their undergraduate programs.

    I think this matters less for undergraduate programs. Even the largest schools in Canada don't have more than about 40-50 physics/astro majors graduating each year. Since not everyone takes the same upper year courses it's unusual to be in a third or fourth year class with more than 30 students - and a typical class size would be more like 20. Often the bigger schools have the resources to give special attention to their first-year physics majors as well - look for schools that have an introductory physics class especially for physics majors.
  15. Mar 6, 2008 #14
    Just to put things into perspective, my 4 year courses have on average 3 or 4 students, and our entire undergrad program has about 15-20. Its not because the program is at all bad, its because the school only draws from a small population base, cause lets face it who wants to move to Manitoba. Anyways, there is a lot of personal interaction with your prof and an interactive learning environment when there are only 4 people.
  16. Mar 6, 2008 #15
    From what I know, most grad schools don't care what school you come from as long as its accredited. That would put you being at UT at a disadvantage, where grades are typically lower.
  17. Mar 6, 2008 #16
    If you want to do grad school at UofT, they'll wholeheartedly take you if you did undergrad at UofT because they basically have trained you and know exactly what curriculum you had so they can better asses you as a candidate for grad school. Also know that no matter which grad school in Canada you choose to go to, since many international applicants apply, your chances are much better if you are a domestic student as they would prefer domestic students because of the extra funding they can get from the government.
  18. Mar 6, 2008 #17
    From personal experience, the science department at UW isn't too good. From the Phys 121 class I took last semester, I found the general level of the students to be low(maybe it was because of biology and chemistry majors impurities? :rofl:). There are some very strong students, though. In any case, I don't know about getting close with professors. First year classes tend to be large at any University.
  19. Mar 6, 2008 #18
    Um, which university(in Canada) has a strong program for astronomy (preferably a Ph.D program)?

    And, well, since I live in the province of Quebec(Canada), is it an advantage for me to complete CEGEP (2 years) before entering in university or should I simply complete high school (which ends at grade 11) and pursue an extra year in any other province and then enter a university? From what I've heard, CEGEP is a great advantage. Is this even true?
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
  20. Mar 6, 2008 #19
    Yes, for the sheer number of strikes.
  21. Mar 6, 2008 #20
    @ Werg22

    Yes for what? Are you saying that pursuing CEGEP is an advantage? And, why do you think this way? What are the advantages for attending CEGEP? I, myself, am unaware of what CEGEP really is despite living in Quebec... o.0
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
  22. Mar 6, 2008 #21
  23. Mar 6, 2008 #22
    Toronto is probably a more exciting place to go to school compared to most other cities in Ontario (think Hamilton, K-W, Guelph, Kingston)
  24. Mar 6, 2008 #23
    I was being sarcastic. I don't enough about the Quebec educational system to pronounce myself.
  25. Mar 6, 2008 #24
    I hate U of T. I hate U of T. I hate U of T.

    The highest GPA in the Physics specialist is < 3.8 at the best physics department in Canada. Which means that you won't qualify for any scholarships or NSERC Undergraduate Research Awards. I'm in the top 15% and I got rejected from all top 30 schools despite having a good GRE physics score (880), good rec's, and three research internships. Graduate depts have told me that it was due to my "low" GPA of 3.5, which is one of the best in my school!

    If you want to go to graduate school and you MUST go to U of T, then go into the Engineering Science Physics option through the Faculty of Engineering. It involves more work and class time, but it will be worth it because the engineering dept has higher GPAs on average than the physics department where a B+ is considered excellent.
  26. Mar 6, 2008 #25
    Electrical Engineering program at Ryerson University in down town Toronto has a state of the art Electrical Engineering lab. if you are looking for the hands on training program I would consider Ryerson University. it is a new university about 14 yrs old , very aggressive professional engineers with PhDs internationally trained, very dynamic . loads and loads of lab work, very hard program but at least you will feel comfortable when competing for the entry positions bcs you know how to do the job.
    http://www.ee.ryerson.ca/research/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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