Take a different approach to fighting disease
Focus on preventing illness, not simply treating people once they get sick. At Waterloo, you’ll learn how to promote healthy lifestyles, improve health care systems, and bring together the science and the social aspects of health.
Whether you opt for the regular or co-op stream, Health Studies – similar to a Health Science degree at other universities – gives you the skills for improving human health, along with lots of room for electives. And with five specializations and dozens of campus-wide minors, 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.
Offered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
Specializations and options to customize your degree
Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
- Any 4U English (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
- Any 4U 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: Low 80s | Co-op: Mid-80s
Advanced Functions and Physics are recommended if you're interested in the Pre-Clinical specialization.
We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
Health Studies at Waterloo
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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 student ambassador to learn about their experience in the program. Ask them questions such as why they chose the program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.
September to December
January to April
After first year
About half of the classes you’ll take will be Health courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.
View all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.
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
Sample co-op employers
- Cancer Care Ontario
- University Health Network
- Trillium Health Centre
- Heart and Stroke Foundation
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
- Regional Municipality of Peel
Customize your Bachelor of Science in Health Studies degree
You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one or more of the areas of focus in the program.
- Aging Studies
- Health Informatics
- Pre-Clinical Specialization
- Health Research
You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus include Gerontology, Psychology, Human Nutrition, Pre-clinical, and Health Research.
What can you do with a degree in Health Studies?
Your degree lays the foundation for a career in health professions such as medicine, clinical research, epidemiology, and occupational health. Or, go on to pursue an accelerated master’s degree in our School of Public Health and Health Systems.
- Family Physician - London Lambeth Medical Clinic
- Health Promotion Specialist - Region of Peel
- Tobacco Cessation Specialist - Canadian Cancer Society
- Epidemiologist - University Health Network
- Clinical Research Coordinator - The Centre for Dermatology
- Policy Analyst - Employment & Social Development Canada
- Speech Language Pathologist - Peel District School Board
Learn about the future of careers in health and helping professions.
While the full range of further education depends on your individual interests, these are common areas where graduates pursued a master's, PhD, or other professional program.
- Speech language pathology
- Public health
- Health informatics
Considering med school? Learn how you can get into medical school on our Beyond Ideas website.
Common questions about the program
What’s the difference between Health Studies and a Health Sciences degree?
While there are subtle differences between similar programs at different universities, Waterloo’s Health Studies is comparable to programs called Health Sciences at other universities. Our Health Studies program is science based and leads to a Bachelor of Science degree.
How is Waterloo’s Health Studies program different from similar programs at other universities?
In addition to learning how to treat disease, Waterloo’s Health Studies program also focuses on disease prevention, enabling you to develop effective approaches that keep people healthy. You’ll learn to take a systems approach to disease prevention and treatment, so you can understand how to influence the many factors that affect health. As a graduate, you’ll be well-prepared for the healthcare careers of the future because you’ll be exposed to subjects that will grow increasingly important over the next decade, such as leveraging information technology, understanding the aging population, mental health, and more.
With many small class opportunities like labs and tutorials, over 40 health-related courses to choose from, and experiential learning opportunities like co-op and our EDGE certificate program, you’ll have a distinct advantage when entering the workforce or applying to further studies.
Does this program meet the prerequisites for medical school and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)?
This is a popular option if you plan to pursue medicine. If you’re interested in a future clinical health profession, you should consult the requirements of the schools you want to attend. Between your required and elective courses in the program, you’ll be able to meet the requirements for most medical schools in Canada and around the world. Visit our Beyond Ideas website for tips on how to get into medical school.
What is the difference between life sciences and health sciences?
In general, a health sciences degree program, such as Health Studies, focuses on human health whereas a life sciences degree focuses on all living things. Learn more about our health sciences and life sciences programs.
Is this program available online?
No. While you may be able to take some courses online, most courses required for the degree are available through in-person classes only.
How long does it take to complete this program?
It takes four years to complete this program as a full-time student through the regular system of study in which you’ll take courses between September and April each year and have your summers off. You can also choose the co-op system of study where you’ll alternate between full-time studies and full-time jobs relating to your program. A co-op program takes five years to complete – and you’ll graduate with nearly two years of paid work experience.
Join the Health Studies Living-Learning Community and live with students in your program
Apply directly to this program on your application
On average, 57% of Health Studies grads are in professional or graduate school within one year of graduating
Ready to learn more?
- Visit the Health Studies website
- Email our Applied Health Sciences recruitment co-ordinator who can answer any questions about the program
- Subscribe to our newsletter to get tips and advice from current students
Visit our Beyond Ideas website to learn about the program, the student experience, branching into your future career, and more.
Be more than a number
With small tutorial sizes right from first year, you’ll really get to know your classmates — and your world-renowned professors.
Friends for life
Make lasting bonds through the Health Living-Learning Community, mentorship programs, and health-related student clubs.