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Why chemistry?

Chemistry is a diverse discipline, involving substances in every aspect of life — what we see, eat, smell, touch, and taste every day.

With an equal emphasis on theory and practical work, Waterloo's Chemistry program prepares you for a growing number of dynamic career options. You could be searching for the roots of crippling diseases, designing cancer-fighting drugs, optimizing sustainable energy storage systems, creating quantum devices for sensing, or developing new computational methods.

Why Chemistry at Waterloo? 

professor with students and display of molecule

The discipline of chemistry can be subdivided either along traditional lines into a set of subdisciplines such as analytical chemistry, biological chemistry or biochemistry, computational/theoretical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and polymer chemistry, or along more thematic lines such as chemical synthesis and structure, materials chemistry, physical and chemical interactions, pharmaceutical or medicinal chemistry, environmental chemistry, green chemistry, nanoscience, chemical biology and chemical physics.

chemistry subdisciplines

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Waterloo operates its honours Chemistry program in both a regular mode and a co-operative mode.

  • The regular mode honours Chemistry program is similar in form to honours Chemistry programs in many other Canadian universities, and involves students studying during normal academic terms (Fall and Winter) in each of four years; it differs from other honours Chemistry academic programs mainly in the specific number and nature of courses required for completion of the degree requirements. 
  • The honours co-operative Chemistry program is academically equivalent to the regular honours Chemistry program, but at the same time places equal emphasis upon academic preparation and practical experience. This change in emphasis is accomplished by alternating academic terms on campus with non-academic terms in a working environment (such as industry, research laboratory, and business settings). The alternation of academic and work terms results in the need for an additional year in order to complete the full set of program requirements. As such, the co-operative version of the honours Chemistry program provides not only a source of additional funding for students but also experience in the business/research/industrial sectors that will aid preparation for post-graduate studies and/or job placement upon completion of the program of study.

In addition to honours Chemistry, we offer three honours Chemistry specializations:  

The Department of Chemistry also offers an honours program in Medicinal Chemistry, and shares the following joint academic programs with other departments in the Faculty of Science::

  • Honours Biochemistry (with Biology) 
  • Honours Geochemistry (with Earth and Environmental Sciences)
  • Honours Chemical Physics (with Physics and Astronomy)
  • Honours Materials and Nanosciences (with Physics and Astronomy)

Because our Chemistry programs emphasize research and computer skills, employers find that our students are valuable team members who quickly learn new techniques and who are able to problem-solve quickly.

Visit the Faculty of Science admissions webpage or see the following links for information on 

Important information

Visit the Faculty of Science website for information on admission requirements, financing, and housing.

What is Co-op?

Why choose co-operative study? Find out more at the Faculty of Science website.

After graduation

Find out what our graduates are doing now.