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.
- 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 to apply to medicine, optometry, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, and other health disciplines.
- Available as a regular program only
- Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences
- Offered through the Faculty of Science
Biomedical Sciences at Waterloo
What will you learn?
In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, most of your classes will be Chemistry and Biology courses.
Learn more about courses you'll take for your Biomedical Sciences degree.
Customize your Biomedical Sciences 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, Biophysics, and Biochemistry.
Get tips from Waterloo students
Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future.
Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.
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.
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're 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 applies 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 is the difference between Biomedical Sciences and Health Sciences?
Both Health Sciences and Biomedical Sciences are extremely flexible and can help you achieve your goals in health care and medical professions, such as obtaining a medical degree. Both offer foundational science courses in first year, such as cell biology, chemistry, and human physiology. Both offer a Bachelor of Science degree.
The difference is most noticeable after first year. Health Sciences courses combine topics like life sciences, social sciences, and research and apply those concepts to important health care subjects such as epidemiology and health informatics. Biomedical Sciences focuses on more traditional medical-based science, such as organic chemistry and molecular biology. Biomedical Sciences offers more opportunities to get into lab facilities while Health Sciences offers paid experience through our co-op program. Both will give you hands-on experience and access to award-winning instructors, so regardless of which you choose, you’ll be well prepared for your future career in health care.
What can you do with a Biomedical Sciences degree?
Graduates commonly pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, and nursing 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.
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 Biomedical Sciences as your major in first year.
Connect with us
Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?
Please contact Katelyn, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.