Discover the science of human movement
Help an Olympic hopeful recover from a torn ligament. Prevent workplace injuries by improving a company’s ergonomic standards. Give a child with cerebral palsy an enhanced quality of life. Learn to prevent and treat movement-related illness and injury – and if you opt for the co-op stream, you can get 20 months of paid career experience along the way.
In addition to traditional science courses in biomechanics, neuroscience, and physiology, you’ll have four kinesiology-related minors and dozens of campus-wide minors to choose from. You can also include courses to prepare you for professional health programs such as medicine and physiotherapy.
Whatever direction you choose, Waterloo equips you with the tools you need to get there.
- More than just lectures. Over half of your required courses include a lab component. You’ll gain the practical skills to understand movement problems that occur in sports, industry, rehabilitation, and fitness.
- Study anatomy in depth. Waterloo is one of Canada’s first non-medical schools to house a School of Anatomy — giving you the chance to study anatomy on real human cadavers right in your first year.
- Available as a regular and co-op program
- Graduate with a Bachelor of Science
- Offered by the Faculty of Health
A hands-on program
What will you learn?
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 of the classes you’ll take will be Kinesiology courses.
Learn about courses you'll take for your Kinesiology degree.
Customize your degree
At the end of first year, you can choose to start one of the minors available within the program, such as
- Ergonomics and Injury Prevention
- Human Nutrition
- Medical Physiology (a great choice if you’re thinking of medical school)
- Rehabilitation Sciences (a great choice for physiotherapy, chiropractic, or other rehabilitation professional programs)
You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular choices include Psychology, Human Resources Management, French, and Management Studies.
Get tips from Waterloo students
Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future.
Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.
Questions? Ask a student!
Connect with a current student ambassador to learn about their experience in the program.
Ask them questions such as why they chose Kinesiology, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore different career areas and types of employers as your interests evolve.
Sample co-op job titles
- Student ergonomist
- Physiotherapy assistant
- Health & safety program coordinator
- Clinical research assistant
- Chiropractic assistant
- Outdoor education student
Sample co-op employers
- Hamilton Health Sciences
- Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Centre
- Humantech Inc.
- Kitchener Rangers
- Regional Municipality of Peel
- Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
What can you do with a degree in kinesiology?
Graduates often pursue careers where they can help people. Common areas include physiotherapy, chiropractic, ergonomics, health and safety, exercise management, and nutrition, often in clinical settings such as hospitals or health centres.
- Orthopaedic Surgeon – MSK Centre
- Ergonomist – General Motors of Canada
- Physiotherapist – McMaster University, Health Services
- Occupational Therapist – 1 to 1 Rehab
- Pedorthic Technician – Bioped Footcare Centres
- Respiratory Therapist – Alberta Health Services
- Chiropractor – Evolve Massage & Wellness
Learn about the future of careers in health and helping professions.
While the full range of further education depends on your personal interests and goals, graduates often choose professional and graduate programs in medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, biomechanics, anatomy, and neuroscience.
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 Kinesiology and similar programs at other universities?
Waterloo’s Kinesiology program is a Bachelor of Science (BSc), which means that you’ll study the science behind how the human body works. As a Kinesiology student, you’ll apply your classroom learning in our many state-of-the-art labs and have over 70 Kinesiology courses and labs to choose from, ranging from anatomy to sport injury to neuroscience. In addition to labs, you can pursue additional experiential learning opportunities like co-op and our EDGE certificate program, giving you a distinct advantage as you start your career or pursue further education.
Does this program meet the prerequisites for medical school and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)?
Waterloo Kinesiology 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, 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.
How does Kinesiology compare to Health Sciences programs?
Waterloo’s Kinesiology program is a Bachelor of Science degree focused on understanding how the body functions. In this program, you’ll focus on anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, nutrition, neuroscience, and social science. Health Sciences programs may have some similar foundational science courses but tend to focus more on population health and disease prevention rather than how the body functions.
If I do the Human Nutrition minor, can I become a dietitian?
The Human Nutrition minor is excellent preparation if you want advanced knowledge in cellular metabolism and physiological responses to nutrients, the impact of diet on chronic disease risk, and examinations of food choices in populations. However, this minor is not a direct pathway to becoming a Registered Dietitian in Canada.
Do I need to be physically active to enroll in this program?
Absolutely not. Waterloo’s Kinesiology program is a science-based program, so you only need to be academically strong to succeed. You’ll participate in labs where fitness assessments may be performed as part of some assessments, but students with diverse ranges of physical activity are able to participate.
What is the difference between life sciences and health sciences?
In general, a health sciences degree program, such as Waterloo Kinesiology, focuses on human health whereas a life sciences degree focuses on all living things. Learn more about our health sciences and life sciences programs.
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.
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.
Kinesiology admission requirements
Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
- Any 4U English (minimum final grade of 70%)
- Advanced Functions or Calculus and Vectors (minimum final grade of 70%)
- Any two of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics (minimum final grade of 70%)
Admission averages: Regular: low 80s, Co-op: mid-80s
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
How to apply?
Apply directly to this program on your application.
Connect with us
Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?
Contact our Faculty of Health recruitment co-ordinator, who can answer any questions you have.