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A Biochemistry student at the University of Waterloo.

In the past 200 years, advances in techniques and tools have allowed biochemists to focus on these fundamental questions: How do organisms use chemical compounds to thrive? How do organisms adjust to changes in their environment and how can our knowledge of the chemistry of life be applied to improving the human condition? To answer these questions, we study the structures of molecules – such as enzymes – and the diverse metabolic processes – such as the Kreb’s cycle – that are fundamental to life.

In Biochemistry, you'll create chemicals. Analyze genes. Explore the fundamentals of metabolism. You’ll start with a broad science foundation in first year, including chemistry, biology, physics, and calculus.

If you choose to add the Biotechnology specialization, you'll examine the biological and biochemical processes used to make new disease-fighting drugs and other valuable products. And if you choose the co-op stream, you'll benefit from paid work experience – exploring potential careers while you pursue your degree.

You’ll graduate with the knowledge and skills to work in a wide range of areas, from forensics to pharmaceuticals to food and agriculture.

open bookAvailable as a major and minor

BreifcaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Science degree


Admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • English (ENG4U) (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Advanced Functions (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Calculus and Vectors (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Two of Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Mathematics of Data Management, or Physics

Admission averages: Low 80s

We recommend you complete the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


How to apply

Apply to Life Sciences and select Biochemistry as your major.

A student in the bachelor of science in biochemistry degree program works in a lab.

You'll develop valuable hands-on skills through labs – and through paid work experience if you choose the co-op program.

What will you learn?

Programs/majors in the Faculty of Science start right in first year. To select your program with confidence, here’s some handy info to get you started.

Skills you'll develop with this major

  • Technical laboratory skills, including designing experiments and manipulating DNA
  • Critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

This isn't an exhaustive list – rather a glimpse into the skills this major can help you achieve.

Your experience will be unique, and the skills you develop will depend on your goals, which courses you take, and your involvement with any clubs, jobs, or research projects.

Types of courses you'll take

35% chemistry, 7% math, 25% program electives, 10% free electives, 8% other, 15% biology

This is a general guideline. The ratio of courses may change slightly from year to year.


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Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.

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megaphone icon"The best part about Biochemistry is all of the hands-on learning! Through labs, co-op work terms, research projects, and experiment-based classes, you pick up valuable skills quickly that will set you apart when applying to jobs or graduate school."Julia, fourth-year Biochemistry co-op student

BeakerOffered through the Faculty of Science

ClickChoose an optional specialization in biotechnology

TrophyGraduate ready for membership in the Chemical Institute of Canada



Ready to learn more?

Grab your lab coat

Thanks to our extensive range of lab courses, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn hands-on skills like chromatography, electrophoresis, nuclear magnetic resonance, and more.

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