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Schools University of Waterloo

  1. Nov 8, 2006 #1
    I know UW is a big engineering, math, and computer science school, but how is their physics program relative to the other top schools in Canada?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2006 #2


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    Definitely high and probably the best.

    They have a Theoritical Physics Institute in Waterloo itself! (Perimeter Institute.)

    I would suspect that it is a great school for Physics.
  4. Nov 8, 2006 #3
    Just a side note: Maclean's rated Waterloo the top University in Canada two years consecutively now. And I believe that's overall as well. As that ranking applies to Physics...? I have no idea.

    Other Universities are actually outraged by this and withdrawing themselves from the rankings. Heh.

    Wikipedia says:
    Look at their website to read more about their Physics department. Warning: bias ahoy! :wink:
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2006
  5. Nov 8, 2006 #4
    Yeah, I wouldn’t trust their site. I applied for physics there, but I am just afraid that maybe I should change to something they are defiantly strong in like Electrical Engineering.

    My fears come from the fact that thier admission averages for the physical sciences are in the mid 70's.
  6. Nov 8, 2006 #5
    Oh yikes. You don't even know what you want? Why would you be second guessing yourself at the last moment?
  7. Nov 8, 2006 #6
    I know precisely what I want: Physics, I just feared that it might not be the best selection for that school.
  8. Nov 8, 2006 #7
    Admission averages can be misleading. Usually, they have less to do with the quality and difficulty of the program, and more to do with the size of the faculty and how popular the program is.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2006
  9. Nov 8, 2006 #8
    I'm currently asking a relative if she knows about their Physics department. I'll get back to you as soon as I find a response. I still don't understand why you would want to move in to Electrical Engineering if their Physics department isn't solid? Why wouldn't you just go to a different institution?
  10. Nov 8, 2006 #9


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    Why not try UBC? As far as condensed matter is concerned, UBC is on par with U. of Toronto. They got George Sawatzky a few years ago, and it has been reported recently that they have managed to snag Nobel Laureate http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=ae7c8aa2-41ee-4496-adc6-dcd0e871e01a" [Broken] from Colorado. And they have always had a world-renowned optical spectroscopy group.

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  11. Nov 8, 2006 #10
    UBC is my first choice :smile:, Waterloo (among other schools) is just back up. There are just a few things that bother me about UBC, namely the apparent lack of coop. However, Waterloo is working its way up on my preference list because of their outstanding coop program.
  12. Nov 8, 2006 #11


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    (You can delete your posts. You gotta find where the button is)

    Waterloo, is that the uni in toronto?

    Is Lee Smolin a teacher at UW?
  13. Nov 8, 2006 #12


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    Also, UBC is at the other end of the country!!!

    If you got the scholarships, go for it!
  14. Nov 8, 2006 #13
    Great to hear you've been looking in to the matter and have noticed that. It is a very important part about Waterloo! "The University of Waterloo is famous for being the groundbreaking proponent of co-operative education in Canada and currently maintains the largest such program in the world" ~ Wikipedia

    Atomos, did you get an avatar because you were once a contributor, which has since then expired? I'm confused.
  15. Nov 8, 2006 #14
    Yes, coop is very important for me. Correct me if I am wrong, but the two main criteria for grad school admission are marks and possible undergrad experience. Coop appears to be a good way to pad the latter.

    edit: yes, I paid $20 a while ago and it seems to have expired after a year :-(
  16. Nov 8, 2006 #15


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    I'd be more concerned with NSERC Summer Research than Co-op as a key to graduate school.
  17. Nov 8, 2006 #16
    That's quite interesting. The match is definitely between UW and Toronto University, which one is best needs investigation.
  18. Nov 9, 2006 #17

    George Jones

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    :confused: No, Waterloo is in Waterloo.

    Smolin is at the Perimeter Institute, which is located in the city of Waterloo. Smolin has adjunct faculty status at the University of Waterloo.
  19. Nov 9, 2006 #18
    it probably depends on what kind of physics you are interested in. it's probably the best in the world for quantum computing since it has many of the 'founding fathers' of qc there. i don't think i know anything about the rest. i've only ever looked into qc there.
  20. Nov 9, 2006 #19
    Err, sorry, I forgot to mention I am going into undergrad physics.
  21. Nov 9, 2006 #20


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    Also, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on undergrad physics.

    It's basically almost the same all over Canada. The only difference is the students you work with. If you want to find serious students, you have a better shot at finding them at Waterloo than you do at Brock. (Where I am from.) But Brock has it's up sides too, which is priceless if you get to be part of it.

    That's about it.

    I know of people going to Waterloo for graduate school for Brock, so that goes to show, undergrad doesn't really matter. It comes down to being ready and showing that you are. Canada is a little different than the US when it comes to undergraduate courses. I would simply look for other reasons to choose Waterloo or UBC, like students (I mentionned), campus, location, and things like that.

    Personally, I plan on going to graduate school for mathematics. Currently, Waterloo isn't my first choice. I can probably get in, and it's definitely the best in Canada, but the problem lies in the reality of is it the best choice for me? I've seen the advantages of smaller faculties as well as it's disadvantages too. For these reasons, I know specifically what I'm looking for when I'm going to start visiting schools in January/February. I'm going to visit Waterloo because who knows maybe they can change what I think of that school. It seems like a school that student/professor interaction is a minimum and that they busy you with a bunch classes. Not my idea of good education.

    For undergrad, Waterloo was my first choice mainly because I know I can find students that love mathematics too. Rather than scrounge around by myself right now. Also, it can challenge the heck out of you, so that you know you're ready for graduate school.

    But for graduate school, do I really want minimal interaction with my professors? NO. Do I want to be challenged like a psycho freak in a bunch of classes? No, because I'll be doing that outside of the classroom and by doing this you'll take away all my own time to do doing my own thing, which I'll truly hate! I will certainly transfer!

    Anyways, pick a school where all the girls are. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2006
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