Finding career success in drug discovery and design
Want to create the life-saving drugs of tomorrow? Earn a chemistry degree with a difference.
As well as covering all the basics of physical, analytical, and organic chemistry, you’ll also take specialized courses like bio-based chemistry and pharmaceutical drug design. Meanwhile, you’ll hone advanced research and lab skills through your choice of 20+ chemistry lab courses and an independent research project in fourth year.
As a Medicinal Chemistry graduate, you’ll be equipped to design, create, and evaluate potential medications, setting the stage for a career with real impact. You'll also qualify for membership in the Canadian Society of Chemistry and the Chemical Institute of Canada.
- Get insights from industry. Because our professors collaborate closely with industry, they’ll bring plenty of practical examples to your labs and lecture halls.
- Build an awesome résumé. Gain 20 months of valuable co-op work experience in pharmaceutical companies and hospitals — and get paid for it.
- Offered as a co-op program only
- Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Medicinal Chemistry
- Offered by the Faculty of Science
What will you learn?
In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Physics courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, most of your classes will be Chemistry courses.
Learn more about courses you'll take for your Medicinal Chemistry degree.
Customize your degree
You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one 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 they chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.
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
- Discovery analyst
- Research and development technician
- Pharmaceutical R&D
- Undergraduate research assistant
- Quality control assistant analyst
- Science tutor
- Pharmacist assistant
Sample co-op employers
- Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.
- Sanofi Aventis Group
- University of Victoria
- Pfizer Inc
- Aegera Therapeutics Inc.
- NPS Pharmaceuticals
- Apotex Inc.
What can you do with a degree in Medicinal Chemistry?
The program focuses on preparing you for drug research-based positions such as working in universities, pharmaceutical companies, and government research labs. One of the great aspects of the program is that it gives you such a broad background in chemistry. You'll be able to work in more general chemistry fields, such as quality control and the oil and gas industry, if you decided that’s a route you wanted to take.
Our graduates often pursue careers in drug discovery and design, organic chemistry, industrial research and development, and experimental research. Many graduates also pursue specialized master's and PhD degrees.
What is the difference between a medicinal chemist and a pharmacist?
Medicinal chemistry is about creating and studying new drug candidates. You'll learn how drugs are made in the lab and how they impact people or animals. A pharmacist prescribes drugs and ensures patient safety.
If you’re interested in pharmacy, we recommend programs such as Biology, Biomedical Sciences, or Honours Science to pursue your goals.
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 Medicinal Chemistry as your major for first year.
Connect with us
Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?
Please contact Katelyn, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.