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. The four Life Sciences majors (Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, and Psychology) 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 can choose the co-op program or the regular system of study in all majors, except Biomedical Sciences, which is regular only.

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

Visit our Beyond Ideas website for tips on how to choose a program within the Faculty of Science.

A student in the Life Sciences program looks through a microscope.

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.

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

ClickChoose from four different majors

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science in your major


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.


Get tips from Waterloo students

Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future. Topics include

  • tips for a successful senior year of high school,
  • how to choose a university program,
  • differences between high school and university, and more.

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.


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

  September - December January - April May - August
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  

School = Four-month school term
Co-op = Four-month co-op work term
Off = You can make your own plans for that term (work, travel, vacation, etc.)

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

Ready to learn more?