You + Waterloo = great chemistry

Fire up the Bunsen burners in one of Canada’s top 10 chemistry programs. You’ll study everything from biochemistry and inorganic chemistry to polymer chemistry, nanoscience, and more. 

Specialize in bio-based chemistry and learn how to synthesize chemicals from renewable resources such as ethanol, corn, or cellulose. You'll focus on designing chemical products that are biodegradable. Or you can specialize in computational chemistry to study the fundamental properties of atoms, molecules, and reactions using quantum mechanics and thermodynamics. You'll learn to solve chemical problems using computer modeling and simulations.

Meanwhile, you can gain 20 months of paid work experience through Waterloo's co-op program, allowing you to explore possible career paths while earning money to help pay for your education. If you’re eyeing a career in teaching or academia, hone your instruction skills as a teaching assistant.

Grab your lab goggles

With 20+ laboratory courses to choose from, you’ll log more than 200 hours at the bench by the end of your second year. In your final year, you can delve into the world of research with your own year-long project.

Get professional credentials

When you graduate with your Chemistry degree, you’ll be eligible for a professional chemist membership from the Chemical Institute of Canada — and be ready to create the future of fuels, plastics, drugs, foods, and other consumer products.


Blue powder in a container in a chemistry lab.

A Chemistry degree balances theory and practical work. Follow your interests by choosing to focus on areas such as analytical, organic, and polymer chemistry.

Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

PersonQualify for membership in the Chemical Institute of Canada

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Chemistry


Chemistry 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, or Physics (Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, and/or Physics are recommended)

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 Physical Sciences and choose Chemistry as your major.

Get tips from Waterloo students

Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future. Topics include

  • tips for a successful senior year of high school,
  • how to choose a university program,
  • differences between high school and university, and more.

First-year courses

September to December

January to April

  • CHEM 125/125L - Chemical Reactions, Equilibria and Kinetics/Laboratory
  • CHEM 140 - Introduction to Scientific Calculations
  • MATH 128 - Calculus 2 for the Sciences
  • Choose one of:
  • Plus one elective

After first year

Most of the classes you’ll take will be Chemistry 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.

Sample upper-year courses

CHEM 381 – Bioorganic Chemistry
CHEM 357 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 340 – Introductory Computational Chemistry
CHEM 356 – Introductory Quantum Mechanics


Customize your degree

Add a specialization in Bio-based Chemistry or Computational Chemistry to focus your studies or choose one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students to include additional areas of interest.

ClickApply to Physical Sciences and select Chemistry as your major

BeakerOffered through the Faculty of Science

book iconAvailable as a major and minor


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your Chemistry degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your interests evolve.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Brewing analytical technician
  • Chemical technologist
  • Science tutor
  • Discovery analyst (pharmacology)
  • Quality assurance technician
  • Pharmacist assistant
  • Product developer

Sample co-op employers

  • Colgate Palmolive Canada
  • Labatt Ontario Breweries
  • Agriculture & Agri-foods Canada
  • Apotex Inc.
  • Grand River Foods Ltd.
  • Ontario Ministry of Environment & Climate Change
  • University of British Columbia

What can you do with a Chemistry degree?

Graduates with a Chemistry degree typically pursue careers in industrial research and development, bio-based materials, the food industry, pharmaceutical or agricultural companies, energy and the environment, or with universities and research institutions.

Recent graduates

  • Analytical Chemist - Apotex Pharmachem Inc.
  • Chemist - GlaxoSmithKline Healthcare Inc.
  • Contact Lens Integration Lead - Medella Health
  • Organic Chemist - NeurAxon Inc.
  • Senior Technician - Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
  • Instrumentation Analyst - ALS Environmental
  • Product Developer - JD Sweid Foods

Learn about the future of careers in science.

Ready to learn more?