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 two nanoscience programs in Canada (Academic World Ranking of Universities 2020), this program has lots to offer, including 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.

You’ll graduate ready for a career at the forefront of innovation, helping create environmentally friendly, efficient, and cost-effective solutions in fields ranging from aerospace to biomedicine.

trophyWaterloo ranks top two in Canada for nanosciences

Briefcase Available as a co-op and regular program

nanotechnologyRecognized as a leading nanotechnology program


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 (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 Materials and Nanosciences as your major.

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?

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

  • Advanced chemical/physical research and development applications
  • Fundamentals laboratory techniques including synthetic methods and use of modern analytical instrumentation
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Oral and written communication

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

24% materials and nanosciences, 19% chemistry, 10% math, 21% physics, 17% program electives, 7% free, 2% communications

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


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ClickApply via Physical Sciences and select Materials and Nanosciences as your major

BeakerOffered through the Faculty of Science

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Materials and Nanosciences


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 say 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.


Ready to learn more?

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.