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Schools University of Waterloo

  1. Jan 9, 2007 #1
    I'm thinking of applying to this school (im a U.S. citizen at a U.S. university). I read that it was Canada's number one school or something like that. How is it compared to the U.S. schools?

    Is it comparable to the top 10 U.S schools? Top 20? In terms of getting in as an international grad student and academic standards and prestige.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2007 #2


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    The answers might depend on the field that you're planning to study: physics, math, engineering...
  4. Jan 9, 2007 #3
    Waterloo is fairly well regarded both nationally and internationally. In Canada, it is widely recognized as the best school in the country for mathematics, engineering, and computer science. Waterloo attracts some of the brightest students in the country and frequently has pupils who score among the highest in the world on the Putnam and other competitions (I think there is a bioinformatics competition as well that Waterloo frequently does well on). Many US and Canadian technology companies feed off of Waterloo. In fact, Microsoft employs more students from Waterloo than most any other single university in the world.

    Waterloo is also famed for coop program which is the world's largest, and probably the best. Waterloo has been ranked 1st many times now, in Canada, for its rigour, reputation, and success.

    I don't know you mean by "comparable". MIT's name certainly carries a lot more weight than Waterloo's and it is much harder to get into, but UW is still a world class institution.
  5. Jan 9, 2007 #4
    I'm planning to take physics and do research in quantum computing for a master/ph.d
  6. Jan 9, 2007 #5
    Waterloo has Canada's premier institute for quantum computing: http://www.iqc.ca/
  7. Jan 9, 2007 #6


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    Well, if Bill Gates chose Waterloo from 5 cities in North America to make an "important" speech, I would say it's definitely comparable to the schools in the US and those around the world.

    Also, note: Waterloo has the largest mathematics faculty in the world.
  8. Jan 9, 2007 #7


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    I think Waterloo has most of the founding fathers of quantum computing in its facutly, but I could be mistaken. Either way, it's world class in that field. In fact, it's one of the few schools that offers undergraduate courses and seminars in quantum information processing.
  9. Jan 9, 2007 #8
    that's what I heard too. It's their co-op program and newly built quantum center that's attracting me to apply there.

    I've never been to a foreign country before. So I'm a bit nervous about going there. But hey, how can it be any different from the U.S.?
  10. Jan 11, 2007 #9

    George Jones

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    There are differences between Canada and the U.S., but not so many that you'll feel like a fish out of water. I have lived and worked in both Canada and the U.S.

    You will, however, have to get used to profs talking about the zed-axis instead of the zee-axis. :smile: Also, "mileage" signs on highways are in kilometres, and weather forcasts use Celsius for temperature, and centimetres or millimetres for snow and rain.

    My brother lives in Waterloo. Kitchener/Waterloo is a nice city of about 300,000 that is just over an hour away from, Toronto, a city of 3,000,000 that has major league everything - sports, theatre, music, etc.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  11. Jan 11, 2007 #10


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    The nearby Perimeter Institute http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/About/General/About_PI_Overview/ [Broken] is quite active in areas that might be of interest to you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  12. Jan 11, 2007 #11
    I go to UWaterloo for undergrad physics and I can tell you all the above is very true. I can't add too much more not being a grad student except I think "oooo, I wanna do my PhD there!" when I walk by the IQC :p

    I guess I could say that my dabs in the Math/CS faculty (I fill most of my electives with comp sci) have left me with the impression that the program/faculty as a whole is very strong with lots of opportunity to fill your plate with everything under the sun to do with CS. The physics is strong as well, no doubt. Since the IQC is a collaborative effort which includes these faculties I'd say it wouldn't be a far stretch to say that you'd enjoy being here at the IQC.

    Also, like George Jones said, Kitchener/Waterloo is a nice place to live (even though it's quite cold and windy here right now :(). I didn't have any problems coming from a smaller city and having Toronto just over an hour away is fun as well.

    I could try to answer any other questions you have..
  13. Jan 11, 2007 #12


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    And when you want to buy something cheap, you go to a "loonie store" instead of a "dollar store." :biggrin:
  14. Jan 11, 2007 #13
  15. Jan 11, 2007 #14


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    Just a quick question. If I'm a US citizen, but have Canadian residency and I want to transfer from a US college to say for example UW, would I be classed as an international student? Would I have to pay international rates? And would all my credits from the US (2.5 yrs of college) be stripped from me and I have to start from year 1?
  16. Jan 15, 2007 #15
    I think if you have Canadian permanent residency then you qualify for domestic tuition rates, but you will have to double-check that

    The transfer credit thing depends on the institution

    UW is good, the undergraduate experience is much better there than at the University of Toronto

    oh btw, we Canadians say "dollar store", not loonie store.
  17. Jan 15, 2007 #16
    I don't know much about the physics department at UW, except that the profs are very nice.

    Currently I study Chemical Engineering at UW. It took a lot of time for me to decide on the university I wanted to go to, and I chose UW because of their co-op program.
    A negative side to the program is that you don't have summer vacation anymore, but in the long run it's more than worth it. From my thought, the purpose of a degree is advancement within a company, you need the experience to get the position in the first place. (unless you're going into academia)

    To a point I don't take those "Top 10", "Top 100" school listings very seriously. As an example, The province of Ontario has the best engineering in Canada with schools like McMaster, University of Toronto, Queen's, and UW. Getting admitted to any of them is an accomplishment and you will receive a great education from any of them. To distinguish among them and say UofT or UW is clearly the best would be in error. When you look at a "Top 10" list, think of it as a menu instead of a championship. You get to pick the school you want the most, not the one that just happened to be number 1.
  18. Jan 15, 2007 #17

    Chris Hillman

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    Just thought I'd add my voice to all those supporting the idea that you could do much worse than attending the U of Waterloo! I wouldn't worry about the perception that Waterloo is "less prestigious than MIT" (unless perhaps if you have an offer of a full scholarship at MIT); the point is to make the most of your opportunities wherever you find yourself, and I am confident you would have many opportunities at Waterloo.

    About Toronto vs. Waterloo, one thing you should ask yourself is whether or not you are a "city person". I happen to like smaller towns like Waterloo, but some prospective students might find that they miss urban life.
  19. Jan 17, 2007 #18
    That is true, but one thing I like about Waterloo is that it's a smaller college than the University of Toronto. it's easier to get to know profs, which can be really beneficial toward getting references. U of T is one of the biggest colleges in North America in terms of number of students (I think only Ohio State and Arizona State are comparable in size)
  20. Feb 28, 2008 #19
    According to:
    For Natural Sciences the TOP Canadian Universities are (with their world standing)

    University of Toronto (16th)
    McGill University (26th)
    University of British Columbia (30th)
    University of Waterloo (47th)

    So those are the top Canadian universities in the Natural Sciences, and the only ones to place in the top 50 worldwide, which is pretty good.
  21. Feb 28, 2008 #20


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    Waterloo is a quite big party city. Most people associate urban life with partying sometimes.
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