Rocket science, meet medical science

A student in the Life Physics program at the University of Waterloo.

If you enjoy biology and physics and want a career in medical technology or health research, Life Physics at Waterloo is for you.

Run by the Department of Physics and Astronomy — one of the largest and most innovative physics departments in Canada — this flexible and interdisciplinary program is based on a solid foundation of physics, chemistry, and biology. Not to mention that students have the opportunity to gain paid work experience through their co-op streams.

You’ll enjoy small classes, hands-on labs, and the opportunity to get involved in research and teaching.

Join a program that fosters curious minds to question the smallest particles, the largest forces, and everything in between. Be part of a community that includes Nobel Prize in Physics laureate professor Dr. Donna Strickland and professor Avery Broderick, part of the team to take the first image of a black hole.

trophyWaterloo is ranked top 100 in the world for Physics and Astronomy

Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

2Specializations: Biophysics or Medical Physics


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 select Life Physics as your major in first year.

Person taking a pulse reading.

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

  • Quantitative and analytical thinking in biology and health-related professions
  • Statistical and analytical problem solving in life sciences
  • Modeling clinical procedures with scientific methods
  • Integrated laboratory methodologies in biology, chemistry, and physics
  • Technical skills to implement experiments in life and medical physics

This isn't an exhaustive list – rather a glimpse into the skills a Life Physics 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

28% physics, 8% biology, 11% chemistry, 6% math, 11% program electives, 33% free electives, 3% communications

This is a general guideline. The ratio of courses may change slightly from year to year


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Questions? Ask a student!

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


megaphone icon"Co-op completely changed my career goals, and I'm so thankful. It taught me that I do have the ability to do research – and that I could be happy working in industry. Without co-op, I wouldn't have known which field to pursue after graduation."Amber, fourth-year Life Physics student (specialization in Medical Physics)

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science degree

BeakerOffered through the Faculty of Science

ClickApply to Physical Sciences, select Life Physics as your major



Ready to learn more?

Learn from top researchers

Get the scoop on the latest research in the physics seminar, which brings together all Waterloo physics students for talks from top scientists.

Make friends for life

Plan to live in residence? Join a Science Academic Cluster to connect with students who share your passion (and get study support).