This page was created to be an initial introduction to course planning. If you have suggestions for this or other pages, or questions about courses feel free to reach out to MathSoc at .

For 1A

First year is an exciting time and one the first things that you will do as a Waterloo student is pick courses for your first term. At Waterloo you pre-select your courses a few months in advance from when you want to take them and then from about 1 month before classes start and 2 weeks after classes start you can swap the classes you are taking.

The most important decision at this time is what calculus course you wish to take (MATH 137, MATH 137 physics based or MATH 147), what algebra course you wish to take (MATH 135 or MATH 145) and what computer science course you want to take (CS 115, CS135 or CS 145). Note that you have received more information about the differences between these courses from the university directly so information about these courses is not included here.

My advice for electives is try to first take a communication course (found here ). Your other elective can really be anything but I would advise you to take PHYS 121 if you are interested in declaring Applied Math, MTHEL 131 if interested in Actuarial Science. CS majors should think about their depth + breadth requirements and think about what you want to do your depth in. Don’t stress too much about this, in Math there are many possible course paths.

For 1B

In many ways the courses in this term are similar to 1A. You’ll take CS 1[134]6, MATH 1[34]6 and MATH 1[34]8. If you want you can take STAT 230 this term as long as you got an 80%+ in 1A. This is also the first term where you need to add courses on Quest. Ensure that you select ALL of the courses you want to take this term – not just electives. It’s completely fine to not yet know what you want to major in yet. Explore what different majors require here and I recommend reaching out to clubs or advisors of majors that you are interested in. Overall, if you want to keep as many options open as possible I’d recommend taking ECON 101, ECON 102.

More Detailed Advice for Most Potential Majors

Considering ActSci?

This term you should ensure that you’re taking or already have taken MTHEL 131 and you should consider taking a subset of AFM 101, ECON 101, ECON 102. Do not take a communication course – you need to take ENGL378/MTHEL 300 which you will take in third or fourth year.

Considering Applied Math?

Ensure you have taken PHYS 121 or PHYS 111 with a grade of >70%. Explore the Specializations and consider taking the introductory courses of one of them.

Considering CO / PMATH?

Neither of these majors require any specific non-math courses. You do require 10 non-math courses to graduate though so keep that in mind.

Considering Computational Mathematics?

Computational math does require you to complete 3 (1.5 units) of non-math courses from either economics, any one science department or any one engineering department with at least one course above the 100 – level. Consider taking a course in one of these departments as one of your electives this term.

Computer Science

I’d recommend reviewing the depth and breadth requirements and choosing electives that allow you to check off some of the requirements.

Considering Information Technology Management?

There’s a number of first year courses that are required. So I’d recommend taking a subset of AFM 101, AFM 102, BUS 111W, BUS 121W, ECON 101, ECON 102.

Considering Mathematical Economics?

Take ECON courses.

Considering Math/Business Administration?

One thing to note is that there is both a single -degree and double-degree version of this program. To learn more about the differences do additional research. I’d recommend taking a subset of AFM 102, ECON 101, ECON 102, BUS 111W , BUS 121W.

Considering Mathematical Optimization?

Some good courses to take would be AFM 101, ECON 101, MSCI 211. Also look into the two specializations of this major and start thinking about which one that you would want to do.

Considering Math/Teaching?

Some good electives to take would be PSYCH 101, and a course in a subject that you would want to be your second teachable. For more information about what this entails contact the Math Teaching advisor.

Second Year and Beyond

Here is really where the most majors have a lot more flexibility and where planning is important. Some courses are only offered once a year and in some cases once every two years! Creating a roadmap of courses that you want to take thus allows you to not miss out on such opportunities and not have to delay graduation for an avoidable reason.

Most people do this by creating a spreadsheet and updating it every term as it is a guideline – you don’t have to be committed to follow exactly. Here is a sample:
Sample CS Schedule

Good resources in the creation of such a spreadsheet are (future course offerings for many math courses), (for program requirements). Note that adding ?ActiveDate=9/1/YEAR will allow you to bookmark a particular version of the page. Without this, any bookmarks that you take will take you to the most recent version of that page which might be different. has a link to when PMATH courses are planning on running over the next 5 years. has more detailed course descriptions for CS courses as well as when they will be running for the 4 terms as well as other information.