Materials and Nanosciences

Tiny subject matter. Huge opportunities.

Students in the Materials and Nanoscience program at they University of Waterloo.

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 2021), 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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What is the difference between Materials and Nanosciences and Nanotechnology Engineering?

As a material scientist, you might research how to create a new nanomaterial based on the chemistry and physics of atoms and bonding. As an engineer, you might then take that material and find uses for it. The scientist is more focused on the research while engineers tend to be more applied. That being said, many times both roles overlap.

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 Katelyn, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.

Katelyn Doerbecker


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