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 modelling 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.
Qualify for membership in the Chemical Institute of Canada
Available as a major and minor
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.
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
- Technical laboratory skills, including designing experiments and manipulating DNA
- Critical thinking
- Data analysis
- Time management
This isn't an exhaustive list – rather a glimpse into the skills a Chemistry 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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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 the 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
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
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.
What sort of labs do you do?
Starting in first year, you'll begin with experiments that focus on your chemical techniques: studying redox reactions, making electrochemical cells, performing titrations, and even creating acetaminophen.
After first year, you'll be responsible for the organic synthesis of pharmaceuticals as well as experiments with inorganic semi-conductors and nanoparticles, computational models, and instruments used to analyse samples (mass spectrometry, chromatography). By graduation, our students say they feel like a real chemist and have gained solid confidence in the lab!
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?
Many students choose to continue their education (such as a specialized Master's degree) to pursue careers in research or teaching. There are also many chemist positions if you plan to start your career upon graduation. You can work as quality control and analytical chemists in research and development, bio-based materials, the food industry, pharmaceutical or agricultural companies, energy and the environment, universities and research institutions, craft breweries, water treatment facilities, and other manufacturing factories. These are jobs you can also try out as a co-op student!
- 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.
Apply to Physical Sciences and select Chemistry as your major
Offered through the Faculty of Science
Earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Chemistry
Ready to learn more?
- Visit the Department of Chemistry website
- Related programs
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.