Materials and Nanosciences

Tiny subject matter. Huge opportunities.

Materials and Nanosciences students working in a classroom

Discover how to manipulate individual atoms and molecules in Materials and Nanosciences at Waterloo. As one of the top nanoscience programs in Canada (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023), this program has lots to offer, including paid co-op opportunities.

You’ll learn the ins and outs of designing composite materials, ceramics, semiconductor materials, fuel cells, energy storage devices, solar cells, and more. And thanks to small classes, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to connect with other students and professors.

Materials and Nanoscience is a mix of chemistry, physics, and math. You’ll also take materials science courses where you learn about what makes a substance unique. For example, if you arrange atoms in a certain way, why does the material have stability and strength rather than flexibility? In upper years, you can choose to take more chemistry or physics. It all depends on what aspects of materials science you enjoy.

Program highlights

Build an awesome résumé. Conduct research in our world-leading Quantum-Nano Centre, or join Waterloo's Nanorobotics Group. If you opt for co-op, you’ll gain valuable skills during your five work terms.

Meet other nano-geeks. The student-run Materials and Nanoscience (MNS) Society hosts lab events, social outings, and professional development workshops to equip you with the tools for success.


Material science degree student in lab coat working in lab

Develop a deeper understanding of materials, biomaterials, and nanomaterials as well as learn about their use and implications for society.

What will you learn?

First-year courses

In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Materials and Nanosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, most of your classes will be Materials and Nanoscience courses.

Learn more about courses you'll take for your Materials and Nanosciences degree.

Customize your degree

You can include one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students.


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Questions? Ask a student!

Contact a Science student ambassador to learn about their experience.

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


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

Waterloo's co-op program, the largest in North America, is an amazing way to explore potential careers, learn to interview for jobs, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!

Sample co-op job titles

  • Materials lab associate
  • Nanoscale optics and photonics research assistant
  • Software developer
  • Science & math peer tutor
  • Undergraduate research assistant
  • Quality assurance technician
  • Product development assistant

Co-op work-study sequence

Starting in second year, you'll normally alternate between school and work every four months, integrating your classroom learning with real-world experience. You can return to the same employer for a couple of work terms to gain greater knowledge and responsibility or work for different employers to get a broad range of experience.

Year September to December (Fall) January to April (Winter) May to August (Spring)
First Study Study Off
Second Study Co-op Study
Third Co-op Study Co-op
Fourth Study Co-op Co-op
Fifth Study Study -

Your first work term will be halfway through second year (January to April 2026).

Learn more about co-op →


Admissions 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

Admission averages: Low 80s

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

How to apply?

Apply to Physical Sciences and select Materials and Nanosciences as your major.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact Alisia, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.

Alisia Mar


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