Inspiring student success

Undergraduate studies

For us, education means inspiring students to think critically about the factors that drive health and well-being.

With seven undergraduate programs and a commitment to high-impact teaching, we are preparing the next generation of health practitioners, scholars and advocates. Students learn from leaders in their fields and graduate equipped with the skills and confidence to take on some of the biggest health challenges of our time.

Our undergraduate programs

  • Kinesiology
  • Health Studies
  • Public Health
  • Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Recreation and Sport Business
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Tourism Development

 Facts about Undergraduate Studies.

Experiential education

The best learning happens by doing. In Applied Health Sciences we are focused on providing our students with real-world education — that means building opportunities for experiential education and research exposure right into our curriculum:

  • In Applied Health Sciences, every first-year Kinesiology student gets the opportunity to work with human cadavers. Students in KIN 100: Human Anatomy of the Limbs and Trunk are able to see the way artificial heart valves work, how knee and hip replacements are linked to surrounding structures and the physiological impacts of gallstones. It’s a unique undergraduate experience that builds foundational knowledge about the human body in ways textbooks simply can’t match.
  • Each year, Recreation and Leisure Studies students enrolled in REC 120: Program Management and Evaluation put on a day of family programming at the local public library and YMCA. The event teaches students how to plan, implement and evaluate a program with real-world impact. By conducting needs assessments and identifying gaps in current programming, students not only put theory into practice but also give local families an interactive way to spend the day together.
  • In HEALTH 448: Advanced Studies in Social Determinants of Health, students learn about factors leading to homelessness by exploring the downtown core with a man who lived on the streets. The experience gives students the chance to speak directly with homeless people and hear first-hand where they sleep, how they eat and how they access medical care. By exposing students to the very real problem of homelessness, the course aims to change the way students think about the complex issues that lead some to such inequitable outcomes. 
  • Research exposure is a pillar of our undergraduate experience. Whether in lectures and labs or through independent research courses and theses, our students see connections between research and knowledge generation first-hand and have ample opportunities to participate in the process.

A co-op culture

The University of Waterloo’s co-op program is the largest post-secondary co-op program of its kind in the world, and its expansive network of employers connects our students with organizations tied to their fields of study. With over half of our undergraduate students enrolled in a co-op stream, we are accelerating their ability to tackle real-world health issues by providing meaningful and engaging workplace experiences.

Rachel at Sunnybrook reviewing report with her co-op supervisor.


During a co-op term at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Rachel McDonald (pictured above) worked alongside oncologists to provide patient care and develop research initiatives related to new radiation therapies for bone metastases. Her work looking at treatments to slow the spread of cancer is published in several peer-reviewed journals, including the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics.

"Textbooks and theory are important - but being encouraged to engage with the world around you and apply what you’ve learned to challenges first-hand is what builds a strong foundation for your future."

- RACHEL MCDONALD, Health Studies student, national Co-op Student of the Year Award winner