Tiny subject matter. Huge opportunities.
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.
Waterloo ranks top two in Canada for nanosciences
Recognized as a leading nanotechnology program
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.
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
This is a general guideline. The ratio of courses may change slightly from year to year.
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Ask them questions such as why the chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.
First-year courses and beyond
September to December
January to April
- MNS 10 - Materials and Nanosciences Seminar
- MNS 102 - Techniques for Materials and Nanosciences
- CHEM 125/125L - Chemical Reactions, Equilibria and Kinetics/Laboratory
- PHYS 122/PHYS 132L - Waves, Electricity and Magnetism/Laboratory
- MATH 128 - Calculus 2 for the Sciences
- ENGL 193/SPCOM 193 - Communication in the Sciences
After first year
About half of the classes you’ll take will be Materials and Nanosciences courses with about the other half being Chemistry, Math and Physics courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.
View a list of all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
Customize your Bachelor of Science degree
You can add additional areas of expertise by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students.
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.
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
Sample co-op employers
- Xerox Research Centre of Canada
- Harvard University
- CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research
- TRIUMF particle accelerator centre
- SNOLAB neutrino and dark matter physics lab
- Industrial Research Technology Institute (Taiwan)
What can you do with a degree in Materials and Nanosciences?
Materials and Nanosciences graduates often pursue careers in the energy sector, materials research and development, or go on to conduct their own research in graduate school.
- Specialty Coatings Technician - Vive Nano
- Decontamination Scientist - RTI International
- Materials Scientist - Agilent Technologies
Learn about the future of careers in science.
Apply via Physical Sciences and select Materials and Nanosciences as your major
Offered through the Faculty of Science
Earn 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?
- Visit the Materials and Nanosciences website
- Read about why Jocelyn's chose Materials and Nanosciences on our Beyond Ideas website
- Related programs
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.