You + Waterloo = great chemistry

A student in the Chemistry program at the University of Waterloo.

Fire up the Bunsen burners in one of Canada’s top five chemistry programs (Academic World Ranking of Universities 2023). You’ll study everything from organic chemistry and analytical chemistry to polymer chemistry, nanoscience, and more. 

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.

Program highlights

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, 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.


What will you learn?

First-year courses

In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Chemistry, Mathematics, English, and Physics courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, most of your classes will be Chemistry courses.

Learn more about courses you'll take for your Chemistry degree.

Customize your Chemistry degree

Add a specialization in 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.


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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

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

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 →


megaphone icon"I’ve always loved chemistry labs. Being able to run the experiments yourself and experience the chemistry in real time will always be an incredibly fulfilling experience for me."Michael, Chemistry (co-op) student
megaphone icon"We gain lots of hands-on experience, including advanced six-hour labs in upper years! In chemistry, it's so important to apply what you learn in class. I actually felt like a 'real' chemist and was prepared to take on research during co-op terms."Lilli, fourth-year Chemistry student

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

Admission averages: Low 80s

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

How to apply

Apply to Physical Sciences and choose Chemistry 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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