Discover the building blocks of life. Like Lego, only better.

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

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

Program highlights

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.

Build an awesome résumé. Interested in teaching? Get experience as an undergraduate teaching assistant. Aiming for a career in research? Be a research assistant with one of our world-renowned professors. And gain paid work experience through co-op!


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?

First-year courses

In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, most of your classes will be Chemistry courses with some Biology courses.

Learn more about courses you'll take for your Biochemistry degree.

Customize your Biochemistry degree

You can include one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus include Economics, Mathematics, Psychology, and Biotechnology.

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.


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Questions? Ask a student!

Contact a Science student ambassador to learn about their experience.

Ask them questions such as why they chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

Waterloo's co-op program, the largest in North America, is an amazing way to explore potential careers, learn to interview for jobs, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!

Sample co-op job titles

  • Chemical laboratory technician
  • Aquatic toxicity testing technologist
  • Research and development formulation technician
  • Brewing analytical technician
  • Food technologist
  • Undergraduate assurance technician

Co-op work-study sequence

Starting in second year, you'll normally alternate between school and work every four months, integrating your classroom learning with real-world experience. You can return to the same employer for a couple of work terms to gain greater knowledge and responsibility or work for different employers to get a broad range of experience.

Year September to December (Fall) January to April (Winter) May to August (Spring)
First Study Study Off
Second Study Co-op Study
Third Co-op Study Co-op
Fourth Study Co-op Co-op
Fifth Study Study -

Your first work term will be halfway through second year (January to April 2026).

Learn more about co-op →


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

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

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

How to apply

Apply to Life Sciences and select Biochemistry as your major.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact Alisia, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.

Alisia Mar


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