Course subjects and course load

First-year courses

All first year programs provide foundation courses upon which upper year courses are built. In this respect, the honours Chemistry and Cooperative honours Chemistry programs at the University of Waterloo are no different than similar academic programs at other Canadian universities. To understand and fully appreciate modern chemistry, it is not only necessary to have a thorough grasp of the chemical principles involved with the atomic and molecular structure of matter, the nature of chemical bonding and chemical reactivity, and the roles of chemical periodicity and intermolecular forces in determining the physical properties of bulk matter, but it is also necessary to attain a grasp of the basic laws of physics and of elementary calculus in order to deal with chemistry as it is practiced today. The former objectives are obtained in the broader sense through the two first year chemistry courses and more completely through the required second and third year core chemistry courses. Similarly, the latter objectives are met broadly through the requirement of two first year physics courses and two first year calculus courses and at a more detailed level through a second year level core course and an additional mathematics elective in the program.

Year one courses you'll take:

Fall term 

Winter term 


Upper-year courses

The honours Chemistry programs at the University of Waterloo contain a number of upper year elective courses offered in each of the traditional subdisciplines of chemistry. Several examples of topics covered in these special topics courses are tabulated below. Note, however, that not every one of these courses is offered in a given academic year: many are offered on a biennial basis, and some are aperiodic.

  • Nanoporous and related materials
  • Bioinorganic chemistry
  • X-ray crystallography
  • Metalloproteins and metalloenzymes
  • Enzymology
  • Biological membranes
  • Computational methods in biochemistry
  • Topics in computational chemistry
  • Molecular dynamics and its applications
  • Introduction to quantum information and quantum control in physical systems
  • Molecular modelling
  • Surface science and nanotechnology
  • Bioelectronics
  • Computational Physical chemistry
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Photochemistry
  • Physical organic chemistry
  • Nanostructured materials
  • Nucleic acids: biophysics, structure, and function
  • Separations
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Molecular spectroscopy
  • Environmental organic chemistry
  • Physicochemical aspects of natural waters
  • Solid-state chemistry

Visit the Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar for a detailed list of all courses, or find out what courses you will be taking in your second, third, and fourth years (including specializations).

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.