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Biology

Study life. It’s in your DNA.

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. Keep your Biology degree broad, or go deeper with one of 6 possible specializations.

You’ll graduate ready for a career in laboratory or field research, environmental assessment, education, the health professions, or industry.

Get career-relevant skills

Looking for practical skills? Take advantage of hands-on field courses to study terrestrial, aquatic, or marine biology in places like 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.

 

Two students in the Biology program at University of Waterloo dissecting a crayfish

By choosing an area of specialization, you can focus your studies and prepare for exciting career opportunities. 

About the Biology program

Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

ClickApply to Life Sciences and select Biology as your major

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology

6Specializations available to focus your studies

BEAKEROffered by the Faculty of Science

TrophyRanked among the world's top universities for biological sciences 
 

Biology admission requirements

  • Apply to Life Sciences and select Biology as your major in first year.


Careers in biology

Graduates with a Biology degree often work in health care, microbiology and genetics for agricultural companies, hospitals and health science centres, medical research centres, labs, pharmaceutical companies, energy companies, and in education as teachers, lecturers, researchers, and more.

Recent graduates

  • 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
  • Co-Founder, Feeband Lab Inc.
  • Fishery Research Program Associate, Great Lakes Fishery Commission
  • Genetic Counsellor, Prenatal Diagnosis Clinic, McMaster University
  • Researcher, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Microbiologist, Septodont, Novocol Pharmaceutical Division
  • Dietitian, Bridgepoint Health

First-year Biology courses

September to December

BIOL 110 - Introductory Zoology
BIOL 130/130L - Introductory Cell Biology/Lab
CHEM 120/120L - Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter/Lab
BIOL 150 - Organismal and Evolutionary Ecology
SCCOM 100 - Communication in the Sciences

January to April

BIOL 120 - Plant Structure and Function
BIOL 165 - Diversity of Life
CHEM 123/123L - Chemical Reactions, Equilibria and Kinetics/Lab
Choose one of:
 • MATH 114 - Linear Algebra for Science
 • MATH 127 - Calculus 1 for the Sciences
 • PHYS 111 - Physics 1
1 elective

 

After first year

Most of the classes you’ll take will be Biology courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

View a list of all the courses required for your degree (refer to Honours Biology or one of the specializations in Biology).

Sample upper-year Biology courses

BIOL 225 – Plants and Civilization
BIOL 310 – Invertebrate Zoology
BIOL 346 – Microbial Ecology and Diversity
BIOL 472 – Cell Biology of Human Disease

 

Customize your Bachelor of Science in Biology degree

You can add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor/minors or one of the below specialization within Biology as part of your degree.

  • Animal biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental biology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular genetics
  • Plant biology
 

Gain relevant work experience through co-op

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore different careers in the biological sciences.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Quality Assurance Lab Technician
  • Genetic Counselling Assistant
  • Research Assistant/Media Consultant
  • Field and Lab Technician
  • Plant Pathology Research Assistant/Student
  • Bioinformatics Assistant
  • Aquatic Toxicity Testing Technologist

Sample co-op employers

  • University Health Network
  • Environment Canada
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Ontario Ministry of the Environment 
 

Helpful links