Study life. It’s in your DNA.

Butterfly specimen in the Bachelor of science in biology, biology degree at University of Waterloo.

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.

Program highlights

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.


Students studying bachelor of science in biology dissect a crayfish during a lab.

Choose from a wide range of subjects within the program, from molecular biology and microbiology to animal and environmental biology.

What will you learn?

First-year courses

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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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

  • Genetic counselling assistant
  • Field and lab technician
  • Plant pathology research assistant
  • Bioinformatics assistant
  • Animal care & research assistant

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 →


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, 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.

Alisia Mar


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