Paging future doctors – and dentists and chiropractors and…
Aiming for a career in health care? This is the program for you.
Study human and animal systems and their functions related to health, disease, and the healing process. Diversify your knowledge by learning about viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, and how these (along with genetic and environmental influences) can impact health. Examine how the body ages, how disease and injury impact it, and what diagnostic tools can identify physiological problems.
You’ll start with foundational courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math that prepare you to meet the admission requirements of most health-related professional schools. After first year, you’ll focus on human biology, with courses in anatomy, physiology, histology, microbiology, and biochemistry. Add some complementary courses from science and related disciplines, and then round out your degree with electives of your choice.
By the time you graduate, you’ll have the solid scientific foundation you need to succeed in most health care professions or to pursue specialized Master's or PhD degrees.
Electives throughout your degree to explore your interests
Use your degree to meet the requirements for professional schools
Earn a Bachelor of Science degree
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
We recommend completing 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 Biomedical Sciences as your major in first year.
Biomedical Sciences at Waterloo
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
- Data analysis
- Laboratory methodology
- Organization and time management
This isn't an exhaustive list – rather a glimpse into the skills a Biomedical Sciences major can provide.
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
This is a general guideline. The ratio of courses may change slightly from year to year.
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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.
First-year courses and beyond
September to December
January to April
After first year
View a list of all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
BIOL 273 – Principles of Human Physiology 1
HLTH 320 – Psychosocial Perspectives on Lifespan Development and Health
BIOL 302 – Functional Histology
BIOL 303 – Introductory Development Biology and Embryology
Customize your degree
You can also include one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus include Psychology, Medical Physiology, Chemistry, Biology, Biophysics, and Biochemistry.
Common questions about the program
Will Biomedical Sciences help me get into medicine, pharmacy, optometry, or other professional schools?
This program has been designed to help students meet the academic requirements for most health-related professional schools, as well as the standardized tests that can be required for admission (such as the MCAT or OAT). As well, this major doesn’t offer co-op on purpose: to reduce the amount of time you are in your undergraduate degree so you can move onto the professional school of choice that much sooner.
Biomedical Sciences is a great program if you want to go into professional schools, but it's definitely not the only path that will get you there. Our advice is to choose a program that you'll enjoy and that has enough electives to take courses required for applying to professional programs.
Since the program doesn't offer co-op, are there ways I can get involved in research and gain other experience?
There are many ways to gain skills and build your résumé outside of the co-op program. You can pursue the EDGE certificate program which consists of online professional development courses paired with volunteer/work experiences. If you're interested in research, you can start by learning about the research that your professors are doing and contacting them about volunteer positions in their labs. Professors also have funding for full-time research in the spring (summer) term that you can apply for. There are also many volunteer and part-time work opportunities on and off-campus.
What is the difference between Biology, Biomedical Sciences, and Biochemistry?
Our Biology degree 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. The Biochemistry program studies the chemical reactions in living systems so your courses will be about 60% chemistry with some biology and physics.
What’s the difference between Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering?
Biomedical Sciences is the study of life from a medical perspective. You’ll learn about the body, disease, healing processes, genetics, physiology–the knowledge of how the body works and responds to stimuli.
Biomedical Engineering is the application of that scientific knowledge to develop medical technology. For instance, a surgeon needs to understand biomedical science to operate on a patient – and might use laser-guided surgical devices, artificial internal organs, or replacements for body parts developed by a biomedical engineer. The two work in tandem, but their approach is different.
What can you do with a Biomedical Sciences degree?
Graduates commonly pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary care working for medical research centres and hospitals as well as in the agricultural, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries. Many students also pursue further education such as medical school or specialized master's degrees.
- Physician - Mount Sinai Hospital
- Occupational Therapist - St. Mary's General Hospital
- Production Coordinator - Apotex Pharmachem Inc.
- Naturopathic Doctor & Registered Acupuncturist - Don Valley Health and Wellness
- Clinical Operations - Bayer (Canada) Inc.
- Staff Optometrist - University of Waterloo
- Research Data Management Coordinator - St. Michael's Hospital
- Tissue Donation Coordinator - Trillium Gift of Life Foundation
- Clinical Research Project Assistant - Hospital for Sick Children
Learn about the future of careers in science.
Available as a regular program only
Apply to Life Sciences and select Biomedical Sciences as your major
Offered through the Faculty of Science
Ready to learn more?
- Visit the Biomedical Sciences website
- Related programs
- How do I choose between Health Sciences and Life Sciences?
Build an awesome résumé
Our highly flexible program gives you room to pursue a variety of personal interests or even add a minor. Want to add more impressive work experience? Take advantage of our undergraduate research and teaching opportunities.
Prep for professional school
Graduate with the background you need for medicine, optometry, pharmacy, dentistry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, forensics, and other health disciplines.