Combinatorics is the study of discrete structures, and related algorithms. We might be interested in these things for their own sake, or because of potential applications to real world problems. Optimization deals with determining the values of variables that maximize or minimize an objective.
Research and teaching in our department emphasizes six areas: algebraic combinatorics, combinatorial/discrete optimization, continuous optimization, cryptography, graph theory, and quantum computing. At other universities, these subjects would lie in mathematics, computer science or operation research departments, but at Waterloo we find that they fit together very well, and cross fertilize each other in ways you might not at first expect. Thus students in quantum computing may use tools from continuous optimization, while effective algorithms for combinatorial optimization can depend on sophisticated ideas from graph theory.
More information can be found at our Why C&O page for Undergradautes.
Graduate degrees offered are MMath and PhD. The MMath (Master's) degree involves about a year of grad courses and either a research report or thesis supervised by a faculty member. The department offers the MMath degree in Combinatorics & Optimization and in three specializations: Cryptography, Operations Research and Quantum Information. The PhD involves about two years of grad courses followed by research and a dissertation, and typically lasts four years. More details are available on MMath requirements and PhD requirements. Most applicants are admitted to the MMath program and often continue onto the PhD.
The department boasts 27 faculty members with international leadership in their subjects. Among the faculty are two Fulkerson Prizewinners, two Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, a Sloan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Hall medalist, an Euler medalist, and four Canada Research Chairs. Members of the faculty have collectively authored many well-known books in their subjects. If you are admitted, the department will match you up with an advisor based on the interests expressed in your application, although some students change advisors as their interests change.
All incoming graduate students are offered a full support package that includes a living stipend and tuition. Students are sometimes supported by teaching assistantships, but it is important to note that TAships at Waterloo entail a 5 hour/week commitment, in contrast to the typical 15 hour/week commitment at many other North American universities.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents are normally promised a minimum of $22,000 (before tuition fees and taxes) per year. This includes scholarships or awards held by the student, although students holding external awards typically receive considerably more. The promised funding is guaranteed throughout the program, while the student is deemed in good standing by the Department Graduate Committee. Students are expected to earn part of their funding through Teaching Assistantships (TAs). This normally amounts to 5 hours per week of work (that is, one TA unit per term). Master's students taking the course work option may be required to take a heavier TA load.
Students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships. The two main sources of funding for Canadians are the NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship Program and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program. NSERC and OGS award holders will automatically receive an additional $10,000 President's Graduate Scholarship from the University of Waterloo. Applications for NSERC and OGS awards are made in the Fall term. Undergraduate students are advised to apply in the Fall term prior to the completion of their program. The following page contains more comperhensive information on scholarship programs.
International Students are normally promised $30,000 (before tuition fees and taxes) per year, including awards held by the student. This amount is guaranteed throughout the program, while the student is deemed in good standing by the Department Graduate Committee. International students not receiving full external funding, will automatically receive an International Graduate Student Award (Master's/Doctoral) from the university. Students are expected to earn part of their funding through Teaching Assistantships (TAs). This normally amounts to 5 hours per week of work (that is, one TA unit per term). Master's students taking the course work option may be required to take a heavier TA load.
The department offers a rich set of courses spanning the discipline. In addition, students often take a few courses outside the department, e.g., a computer science class in cryptology. Please visit our list of grad courses. Not all courses are offered every term: please refer to the list of term-by-term course offerings.
Go to our General Requirements page for all the information.
You will probably live in Waterloo, which was recently voted one of the seven most intelligent cities in the world. Waterloo and its twin city Kitchener are located in southern Ontario, Canada. This thriving area, notable for its technology industry, has the advantages of city living and yet is convenient natural attractions such as camping, biking or hiking along the Grand River and the world-famous "Journey Behind the Falls" and "Maid of the Mist" in Niagara Falls, Ontario (2 hours away). Waterloo is an easy 90-minute drive or bus-ride to downtown Toronto, Canada's largest city. UW's housing office has information on locating housing.
See the graduate co-ordinator in MC 5024 for your office assignment and key permit. Take the permit to Key Control in the General Services Complex (GSC) to get your key.
Your salary will be deposited directly to your bank account on the last Friday of each month.
There will be two Payroll sign-up sessions at the beginning of term. You will be required to supply a void blank cheque when you sign up. Dates and times to be decided.
Sign onto Quest to register for courses.
Information on obtaining a Watcard can be found at WatCard Questions and Answers
Instructions on how to obtain your computer account can be found at MFCF Graduate Support (Note: you must pay your fees first.)
For instructions on paying your fees and UHIP visit the Graduate Studies Office website.
This seminar time changes from term to term. For Fall 2011, it will be held Wednesdays at 2:30PM in MC 5158 and is a degree requirement.
Grad student mailboxes and a grad student printer are located in MC 5156.
The Graduate Studies Newsletter can be found at http://www.grad.uwaterloo.ca/. Check it out!
See graduate co-ordinator to have your photo taken for our Graduate Student Galley Board located outside of MC5028.