Graduate Programs

graduate students and supervisor 

Chemistry and Biochemistry Master of Science (M.Sc.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs

Research in chemistry encompasses a broad range of topics relevant to life and environmental sciences, to the development of new materials and nanotechnology, but also to improving our fundamental understanding of the world surrounding us. The M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Waterloo offer exposure to world-class research on many subjects including the core areas of analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, materials, nanotechnology, organic, physical, polymer and theoretical chemistry. Our programs prepare our graduate students for fascinating careers in the industry, government and academia.

M.Sc. Program

Thesis Option

Students must successfully complete at least three graduate level courses plus the M.Sc. seminar course, and submit and defend an acceptable thesis. Half of the graduate courses must be taken within the Department of Chemistry.

Course Work Based Option

Students must successfully complete six graduate courses plus the M.Sc. seminar course and the M.Sc. Research Paper. The research paper is an experimental project to be completed during one term of full-time research in the laboratory of a faculty member. Three of the six graduate courses may be taken through other departments within the University. The minimum period of time for completion of the course work based M.Sc. is six terms and it is expected that the program will normally be completed within five years (usually part time).

Co-operative Thesis Option

The academic requirements are the same as in the Regular Thesis Option, but at least two of the required four courses must be completed during the first two terms in the program. Following the second term, the student will spend two terms (eight months) working in an industrial or government laboratory, upon completion of which they must present an acceptable work report. Upon returning to the campus, the student will complete their course work, research, and prepare the M.Sc. thesis. The option is available to domestic students only.

Ph.D. Program

Thesis Option

Students in the Ph.D. program must successfully complete two graduate level courses beyond those required for the M.Sc. degree, the Ph.D. seminar course, pass an oral comprehensive examination, and submit and defend an acceptable thesis. Half of the graduate courses must be taken within the Department of Chemistry.

Ph.D. Direct from B.Sc. (3 year)

This option is possible for outstanding students who graduated with an overall 'A' standing at the undergraduate level. Students in this program must successfully complete four graduate level courses,  the M.Sc. and Ph.D. seminar courses, the Ph.D. oral comprehensive examination and submit and defend an acceptable thesis.

Ph.D. Direct from M.Sc. (2 year) 

Exceptional students may transfer directly into the Ph.D. program without first completing all of the M.Sc. requirements. Students in the program must successfully complete five graduate level courses, the M.Sc. and Ph.D. seminar courses, the Ph.D. oral comprehensive examination and submit and defend an acceptable thesis.

Nanotechnology MSc/PhD Collaborative Program 

This interdisciplinary research program at the University of Waterloo is the focal point for graduate teaching and research in M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in Nanotechnology. The program, jointly offered by three departments in the Faculty of Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy) and four in the Faculty of Engineering (Chemical, Electrical and Computer, Mechanical and Mechatronics, and Systems Design), provide students with a stimulating educational environment that spans from basic research through to application. The goal of the collaborative program is to allow students to gain perspectives on nanotechnology from a wide community of scholars within and outside their disciplines in both course and thesis work.

The M.Sc. collaborative program provides a strong foundation in the emerging areas of nano-science in preparation for the workforce or for further graduate study and research leading to a doctoral degree. Four key areas of research strengths have been identified: nanomaterials, nano-electronics design and fabrication, nano-instruments and devices, and nano-biosystems. The objective of the Ph.D. program is to prepare students for careers in academia, industrial research and development and government research labs.

M.Sc Program

Chemistry M.Sc. students in the collaborative program in nanotechnology must complete a minimum of 1.5 graduate credits, including NANO 701 – Fundamentals of Nanotechnology, NANO 702 – Nanotechnology Tools, one graduate level Chemistry Nano course, and the M.Sc. seminar course, and submit and defend an acceptable thesis. NANO 701 and NANO 702 may be waived for students who have completed their Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) degree in Nanotechnology Engineering at the University of Waterloo and students will be required to take three graduate level courses including one Chemistry Nano course.

Ph.D. Program

Chemistry Ph.D. students in the collaborative program in nanotechnology must complete a minimum of 1.5 graduate credits, including NANO 701 – Fundamentals of Nanotechnology, NANO 702 – Nanotechnology Tools, a graduate level Chemistry Nano course and the Ph.D. seminar course, pass an oral comprehensive examination, and submit and defend an acceptable thesis. NANO 701 and NANO 702 may be waived for students who have completed their B.A.Sc. degree in Nanotechnology Engineering or M.Sc. degree in Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo and they must complete a minimum of three graduate level courses including one Chemistry course.

Ph.D. Direct from B.Sc. (3 year) 

Chemistry Nanotechnology Ph.D. Direct from B.Sc. students in the collaborative program in nanotechnology must complete a minimum of 2.0 graduate credits, including NANO 701 – Fundamentals of Nanotechnology, NANO 702 – Nanotechnology Tools, one graduate level Chemistry Nano course, the M.Sc. and Ph.D. seminar courses, pass an oral comprehensive examination and submit and defend an acceptable thesis. NANO 701 and NANO 702 may be waived for students who have completed their B.A.Sc. degree in Nanotechnology Engineering at the University of Waterloo and they must complete a minimum of four graduate level courses including two Chemistry Nano courses. 

Ph.D. Direct from M.Sc. (2 year)

Chemistry Ph.D. Direct from M.Sc. students in the collaborative program in nanotechnology must complete a minimum of 2.5 graduate credits, including NANO 701 – Fundamentals of Nanotechnology, NANO 702 – Nanotechnology Tools, and two graduate level Chemistry Nano courses, the M.Sc. and Ph.D. seminar courses, pass an oral comprehensive examination, and submit and defend an acceptable thesis. NANO 701 and NANO 702 may be waived for students who have completed their B.A.Sc. degree in Nanotechnology Engineering at the University of Waterloo and they must complete a minimum of five graduate courses including two Chemistry courses.

See the Nanotechnology website for more information about the Nanotechnology collaborative programs.

Quantum Information M.Sc./Ph.D. Collaborative Program

The University of Waterloo, home of the Institute for Quantum Computing, offers graduate students unique opportunities to learn about and engage in world-leading research in quantum information through a wide range of advanced research projects and advanced courses on the foundations, applications and implementation of quantum information processing. In particular, the University of Waterloo offers a unique interdisciplinary graduate program in Quantum Information that leads to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees.

This program is a collaboration between the Institute for Quantum Computing and: 

  • The Departments of Applied Mathematics, Combinatorics and Optimization, and the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science in the Faculty of Mathematics 
  • The Departments of Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy in the Faculty of Science 
  • The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering. 

M.Sc. students will receive both strong and broad foundations in quantum information science, coupled with knowledge and expertise obtained within their home programs. This will prepare them for the workforce and/or further graduate studies and research leading towards a Ph.D. degree.  Ph.D. students will be especially well-prepared for careers as scholars and researchers, with advanced expertise in quantum information science, together with the focus of their home programs. This program is designed to provide students with knowledge of quantum information, including both theory and its implementations, advanced expertise in quantum information science and in home program disciplines, as well as training in research.

M.Sc. Program

Chemistry M.Sc. students must successfully complete at least three graduate level courses including QIC 710 (Quantum Information Processing), QIC 750 (Implementation of Quantum Information Processing), one course from a specific set of Chemistry and IQC courses, the M.Sc. seminar course, and submit and defend an acceptable thesis. 

Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. program in Quantum Information requires the successful completion of two graduate level courses in quantum information as well as the completion of QIC 710 and QIC 750 if they were not completed as part of the student's M.Sc studies. Chemistry requires the completion of two Chemistry graduate courses, which may be satisfied by QIC courses offered by the Department of Chemistry. If a student takes a QIC course not offered by the Department of Chemistry, another Chemistry graduate course must be taken to meet the Chemistry course requirement. Ph.D. students must also successfully complete a seminar held at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), a seminar on a Quantum Information topic for the Department of Chemistry, a Ph.D. comprehensive oral examination, and an original research dissertation in Quantum Information. 

Ph.D. Direct from B.Sc. or M.Sc. 

Students in the Ph.D. direct programs must complete five graduate level courses from a specific set of Chemistry and QIC courses including QIC 710 and 750, the M.Sc. thesis seminar, the PhD thesis seminar, the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) seminar, a Ph.D. comprehensive oral examination, and an original research dissertation in Quantum Information. 

Chemistry requires the equivalent of two Chemistry graduate courses, which may be satisfied by QIC courses offered by the Department of Chemistry. If a student takes a QIC course not offered by the Department of Chemistry, another graduate Chemistry course must be taken to meet the Chemistry course requirement. Any QIC course offered by the Department of Chemistry satisfies the Chemistry course requirements.

See the Institute for Quantum Computing website for more information about the Quantum Information Collaborative Programs.