Study the science of living things.

Life Sciences is the study of living organisms, ranging from the very tiny world of microbiology and genetics to the physiology and zoology of the world’s great mammals – with plants, botany, and more in between! At Waterloo, Life Sciences is a group of related majors.

What are the Life Sciences majors at Waterloo?


The four Life Sciences majors bring together disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, and math to help you learn how living systems work and interact. When you apply to Waterloo, you'll select one of the majors and get to do labs and experiments starting right in first year.

You'll graduate with a Bachelor of Science in your major, e.g., Honours Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, and will be well prepared for careers in science or for further education in specialized graduate programs, medicine, optometry, pharmacy or other health professions.

Choose the co-op program or the regular system of study in all majors, except Biomedical Sciences, which is regular only.

Life Sciences 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, Physics (Biology, Chemistry, and/or Physics are recommended)

Admission averages: Low 80s

We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied for you.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.





First-year courses

Most students take five courses per term, plus associated labs if applicable. Select your program of interest to see a list of first-year courses.


BreifcaseMost Life Sciences majors offered as a co-op and regular program

ClickChoose from four different majors within Life Sciences

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science in your major


Life Sciences student looks through microscope at the University of Waterloo

As a Life Sciences student, you'll be able to specialize in your major of interest in your first year. Upon graduation, you'll be prepared to tackle current issues in agriculture, medicine, technology and more.

Gain relevant work experience through co-op

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore careers in Life Sciences as your career interests evolve and earn money to help pay for school.

Co-op work/study sequences

  Fall Winter Spring
First year School School Off
Second year School Co-op School
Third year Co-op School Co-op
Fourth year School Co-op Co-op
Final year School School  

Fall = September to December, Winter = January to April, Spring = May to August
School = 4-month school term
Co-op = 4-month co-op work term
Off = You can make your own plans for that term (work, travel, vacation, etc.)

The order of school and work terms may vary, depending on the major you choose.

Ready to learn more?