Bachelor of Science

Students in the Bachelor of Science degree program talk in bright hallway while wearing lab coats at the University of Waterloo.

If you're the person who enjoys your biology, chemistry, and/or physics classes in high school, then a Bachelor of Science degree may be the right university program for you!

At university, the range of science courses is amazing....well beyond what you're taught in high school. It branches into so many fascinating and challenging avenues – and you'll be able to customize that BSc degree so that it uniquely fits you and your goals.

Science drives so many innovations. From exploring the deepest part of the oceans to taking pictures of black holes, a Bachelor of Science degree opens up the world for you to explore.

What is an Honours Bachelor of Science?

An honours degree requires more courses (typically five courses per term, with two terms per year, for four years) and a higher grade point average (GPA) than a general degree, which takes about three years to complete.

However, a general degree may be your goal if you intend to leave your undergraduate university early to attend a professional school, such as medical school.

How long is a BSc program?

Most bachelor's degrees take three or four years to complete as a full-time student, based upon on whether you earn a general degree or an honours degree.

It's possible, depending on the institution you attend, to earn your degree online while working, which can take longer if you take only one or two courses a term.

What majors are typically available?

Majors in a BSc can range from astronomy to zoology, depending on the university. They can include traditional programs such as biology, chemistry, environmental science, and physics, as well as emerging fields such as medicinal chemistry, nanoscience, and biophysics.

Visit the Ontario Universities' Info website for a list of all science programs in the province.


A Bachelor of Science is more than just learning in lectures – it's all about discovery and research through experimentation.

What can you do with a Bachelor of Science degree?

This is one of the most common questions we receive, with one of the most complex answers because there are so many options. A Bachelor of Science degree means you have completed a rigorous academic plan, gaining valuable skills in and outside of the classroom. These skills are best suited for positions in science – depending on the major you choose – such as medical practitioner, chemist, astrophysicist, veterinarian, or environmental consultant. The skills gained are also transferable to a variety of jobs in other fields – such as business or education. You will also be prepared for positions in areas like industry, government, academia, or self-employment.

This is one of the most common questions we receive, with one of the most complex answers because there are so many options.

It's difficult to answer this question because there isn't a set standard path that graduates take once they receive their degree. Unlike a profession like accounting, where most graduates pursue a designation such as a Chartered Professional Accountant, science is much more broad and open. A graduate of biology, for instance, may conduct research in a hospital while another becomes a fisheries technician for the government. It all depends on what your passions are, where your talents lay, and the experiences you have during your time in university.

Is a Bachelor of Science a good degree?

Considering some of the most influential and intelligent people on the planet hold (or have held) a BSc degree, we can say with confidence it is a "good" degree. It's evidence that you have successfully completed one of the most demanding academic plans the world offers. The skills you obtain prepare you for some of the most respected positions in our society, such as doctors, nurses, and scientists.

However, a degree is what you make of it. Simply graduating doesn't facilitate a successful future. Your degree will open doors, but you need to take the steps to get through them – and this often means boosting your resume with volunteer or job experience in the area you are seeking.

What do you do in a BSc?

A Science program is more than just learning in lectures – it's all about discovery and research through experimentation. A BSc can be more hands-on than many other degrees, as you normally have labs along with your classes. Many universities also offer field work/trips, exchanges, and opportunities to complete your own research project – providing even more depth to your degree.

At Waterloo, many of our programs end in a year- or term-long research project that you get to design and control – from the topic to the execution – which prepares you for a career in the sciences or for further studies in graduate school.


20 majorsavailable through Waterloo Bachelor of Science programs

What Science programs does Waterloo offer?

At Waterloo, we offer 20 science majors (within the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences) and two professional programs: Doctor of Optometry (OD) and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD).

What high school classes are needed?

You'll usually need high school courses in math, English, and at least one of the core sciences, although requirements vary from university to university. At Waterloo, admission requirements are the same for all 18 Faculty of Science majors.


Waterloo admission requirements for Ontario high school students



  • Admission average of low 80s
  • English 4U (ENG4U) -- A minimum grade of 70 is required
  • Advanced Functions 4U -- A minimum grade of 70 is required
  • Calculus and Vectors 4U -- A minimum grade of 70 is required
  • Plus two of the following: Biology 4U, Chemistry 4U, Earth and Space Science 4U, Physics 4U, and Mathematics of Data Management 4U (Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, and Physics are recommended)

Health Studies and Kinesiology are also BSc programs but with different admission requirements.

What is first year like?

Your first year in a science program (also called a major) is a bit different from university to university. Some have a general first-year – meaning that everyone takes the same core classes, using elective courses to choose a major for second year. Other programs will have you start your major in first year, with courses selected to meet your program requirements and give you maximum exposure to the science you want to learn most. Both types of programs have pros and cons and you have to decide which works best for you.

You can also expect to take five lectures with one or two associated labs in each term of your two terms. Labs can definitely add to the complexity of your time in university, but students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science note how much more prepared they are for the work force considering they have developed strong time management skills and have had more opportunities to participate in hands-on learning.

Is psychology a Bachelor of Arts or Science?

It can be both. Many universities offer a Bachelor of Arts and a BSc in psychology. Many of the required psychology courses will be the same. Your electives would tend to be either in the sciences or the humanities and social sciences.

Is computer science a science?

Some universities offer a Bachelor of Arts or a BSc in Computer Science. At Waterloo, you can earn either a Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) in Computer Science or a Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS).


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