Bachelor of Science degree

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

If your biology, chemistry, and physics classes were what excited you in high school, then a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree may be the right university program for you!

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.

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 your BSc degree so that it uniquely fits you and your goals.

Majors in a BSc can range from astronomy to zoology, depending on the university. At Waterloo, there are nearly 20 majors leading to a Bachelor of Science degree.


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...

What can you do with a science degree?

That's the question, isn't it? Studying at college or university is one of the biggest investments of your life. You'll invest a significant of time, money, and energy into your degree, so you want to know you're picking the one's that's best for you; one you can use in the future. If your passion for science – whether it be biology, chemistry, physics, or life sciences – has gotten you here, then you've definitely already invested some time into considering it.

Pick a skill, any skill

The anatomy-observing, formula-wielding, and deductive-reasoning skills in your repertoire will work alongside the numerous other skills you’ll gain. These skills – perfectly suited for careers such as medical practitioner, chemist, astrophysicist, veterinarian, or environmental consultant – are also transferable to careers in other fields, such as business or education.

Technical skills, like data analysis, experimentation, and project management that you learn in class and the lab will perfectly suit you for careers in research, academia, and government.

Soft skills, like communications, time management, and adaptability, are vital in any career.

What you learn in a science degree can be applied to a lot more of life than just the kind that fits under a microscope.

A career path that's unique to you

Science drives – and is driven by – human curiosity as we attempt to understand everything from our bodies to our environment.

We look to the stars and deep within ourselves – developing new ideas, disrupting industries, and revolutionizing daily life with new technology and methods that will impact lives for generations.

And no path is set in stone. A graduate of biology, for instance, may conduct research in a hospital while another becomes a fisheries technician for the government.

Learn about the future of careers in the natural, physical, and life sciences.


So, what can you do with a Bachelor of Science? Well, that's up to you.

What we can promise you is you'll start a reaction, one that propels you forward towards your dreams. With this solid yet diverse degree, you've got the perfect foundation to discover that new chemical, conduct that life-changing research, get that medical school admission, create that essential business, or consult in that innovating lab.

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

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. 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, giving you access to lots of labs, field work, exchanges, and opportunities to complete your own research project – providing even more depth to your degree.


Student working with plants in a greenhouse at the University of Waterloo.

At Waterloo, many of our programs include a term- or year-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.

What is first year like?

Your first year in a science program is a bit different from university to university. Some programs have a general first year where everyone takes the same required classes, using elective courses to explore possible majors for second year. Other programs will have you start your major in first year, giving 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.

At Waterloo, you can also expect to take five courses 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.

Common questions

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.

What science programs does Waterloo offer?

At Waterloo, we offer 20 science majors (within the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Health, and the Faculty of Environment) 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 differ from major to major so be sure to review them well before you apply.


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 is a Bachelor of Applied Science?

At Waterloo, students graduating from the Faculty of Engineering receive a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in their major, e.g., Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, etc.

Students graduating from the Faculty of Science receive a Bachelor of Science degree.


Is psychology a Bachelor of Arts or Science?

It can be either. 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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