Study the biological and social factors that impact health

A Health Studies student at the University of Waterloo.

Focus on preventing illness, not simply treating people once they get sick. At Waterloo, you’ll learn how to promote health, improve health care systems, and bring together the science and the social aspects of health. By the time you graduate, you'll have a well-rounded understanding of the different factors that impact human health – beyond just biology.

Whether you opt for the regular or co-op stream, Health Sciences gives you the skills for improving human health, along with lots of room for electives. And with lots of minors and specializations such as pre-clinical, neuroscience, and health informatics to choose from, you can tailor your studies to your specific areas of interest.

You’ll graduate with the skills to tackle global health pandemics such as COVID-19, transform public health policy, and pave the way for new medical breakthroughs.

Program highlights

Accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. This rigorous external review of our program's quality and graduate career success recognizes our commitment to ensuring what you learn in class is relevant and up to date.

Lots of career options. This program can prepare you for medical school – and it can also open many other career pathways like policy analysis, occupational therapy, genetic counselling, research, and more!


Discover if Health Sciences is right for you.


What will you learn?

First-year courses

You'll take a mix of courses from the Faculty of Health and the Faculty of Science to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes.

After first year, about half your classes will be Health courses.

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

Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one or more of these areas of focus.

  • Addictions, Mental Health, and Policy
  • Aging Studies option
  • Gerontology
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Research
  • Pre-Clinical Specialization

You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus include Gerontology, Psychology, Human Nutrition, Pre-clinical, Neuroscience, and Health Research.


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Connect with a current student ambassador to learn about their experience in the program.

Ask them questions such as why they chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.


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

  • Genetic counselling assistant
  • Healthy women project coordinator
  • Health promotion assistant
  • Patient flow facilitator
  • Clinical research assistant
  • Health and safety specialist

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 - April 2026).

Learn more about co-op →



megaphone icon"This program taught me how to look beyond the individual and examine the broader forces and structures in our society that impact human health. It's a perspective that helps me to be more understanding of my patients and has made me a better doctor."Brendan, Health Sciences graduate
megaphone icon"My favourite part of the program is the variety of disciplines and subject areas. I've learned about health from a biological, social science, ecological, and public health lens, really opening my eyes to the opportunities available in this field!"Christina, fourth-year student (minor in Gerontology)
megaphone icon"Being in co-op, I've learned so much about careers in health and what I value when looking for a job. But most important, my confidence in interviewing for a job and performing well in the workplace has increased so much over my work terms."Anna, third-year student
megaphone icon"The best part about being a Waterloo student is having diverse opportunities to customize my degree. Through countless clubs and student societies, you can find your niche and community, which is incredibly supportive and open to helping other students!"Xenia, fourth-year student (minor in Psychology)

Admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Any Grade 12 U Mathematics (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Biology (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Chemistry (minimum final grade of 70% is required)

Admission averages: Regular:  Mid-80s | Co-op: High 80s

Advanced Functions and Physics are recommended if you're interested in the Pre-Clinical specialization.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

How to apply

Apply directly to this program on your application.

Want to be considered for both the co-op and regular systems of study?

We recommend that you apply to both streams. With the number of applications we receive for the regular system of study, we can't guarantee that if you're not admitted to the co-op program that you'll be considered for the regular option.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact Clare Stevens, our Faculty of Health recruitment co-ordinator who can answer any questions you have.

Headshot of Clare Stevens


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