Study life. It’s in your DNA.
Explore all aspects of life and living creatures – from cells and genes to species and diversity.
Some of the greatest scientific discoveries have occurred within the field of biology, including the mapping of the human genome, identifying the structure of DNA, and how photosynthesis works. All of these revelations happened because dedicated scientists looked at the world a little differently.
At Waterloo, you’ll dive into your Biology major right from day one. And with more than 80 biology courses available, you’ve got plenty of options. From microbes and genes to plants and zoology, we've got something for anyone who's passionate about living systems.
You’ll graduate ready for a career in laboratory or field research, environmental assessment, education, health professions, or industry. If you enrol in co-op, you'll also have up to two years of paid work experience to add to your resume.
Get boots-on-the-ground skills. Take advantage of hands-on field courses to study terrestrial, aquatic, or marine biology in locations such as Algonquin Park and Jamaica.
Meet other bio-nerds. Make some time in your schedule for the Biology Undergraduate Society (BUGS), which organizes student-professor nights, tutoring sessions, and a full calendar of social events.
- Available as a regular or co-op program
- Available as a major and minor
- Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biology
- Offered by the Faculty of Science
What will you learn?
In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Biology, Mathematics, and Chemistry courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, most of your classes will be Biology courses.
Learn more about courses you'll take for your Biology degree.
Customize your Biology degree
You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including minors and options. Our Bioinformatics Option is a popular choice for students who want to understand the complexities of life by analyzing biological data in computational terms. You'll take courses in biology, computer science, math, and statistics to better understand the vast amounts of information that can be derived from biological systems, like the human genome or microbial biodiversity.
You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus for Biology students include Medical Physiology, Human Nutrition, and Psychology.
In addition to your degree, you can also earn a Biotechnology Technician diploma (Department of Biology website) through our partnership with Conestoga College.
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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
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore different careers and types of employers.
Sample co-op job titles
- Genetic counselling assistant
- Field and lab technician
- Plant pathology research assistant
- Bioinformatics assistant
- Animal care & research assistant
Sample co-op employers
- University Health Network
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Canadian Cancer Society
- Ontario Ministry of the Environment
- Harvard Medical School
What can you do with a biology degree?
A degree in Biology can lead you to many career options. It's flexible enough to tailor your courses to meet the requirements for professional schools such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, or teaching. Many students continue their education specialized Master's and PhD programs which can lead to jobs in the research industry or in academia.
Graduates often work in consulting, analysis, or technician positions in fields such as health care, microbiology, genetics. Employers can range from agricultural companies, hospitals and health science centres, pharmaceutical companies, medical research centres, government, and energy companies. Education is also a popular area where graduates work as teachers, university lecturers and researchers, and more.
- Cellular Therapy Production Manager - Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
- Chiropodist/Foot Specialist - LifeSource Medical Centre
- Clinical Research Assistant - Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health
- Fishery Research Program Associate - Great Lakes Fishery Commission
- Genetic Counsellor, Prenatal Diagnosis Clinic - McMaster University
- Researcher - The Hospital for Sick Children
- Microbiologist - Septodont, Novocol Pharmaceutical Division
- Dietitian - Bridgepoint Health
What's the difference between Biology, Biomedical Sciences, and Biochemistry?
Biology starts with a broad foundation in all aspects of the major. After first year, you can then use your many elective courses to focus on a specific aspect of biology such as plants, animals, or microbiology. Biomedical Sciences also starts off with a fairly general first year but keeps a focus on human and animal biology. It also includes more chemistry and physics than Biology so that your science knowledge is a bit broader if you're interested in attending medical school, etc. Biochemistry studies the chemical reactions in living systems so your courses will be about 60% chemistry with some biology and physics.
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, Physics
Admission averages: Low 80s
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
How to apply
Apply to Life Sciences and select Biology 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.