Medicinal Chemistry

A prescription for career success.

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 biobased chemistry and pharmaceutical drug design.

Meanwhile, you’ll hone essential research and laboratory 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

In this co-op only program, you'll gain valuable work experience in pharmaceutical companies and hospitals — and get paid for it.


Blue powdered chemical in a beaker

Labs, such as our Analytical Chemistry Lab, will introduce you to advanced equipment and computer-assisted techniques. Your professors will bring real-world examples of chemistry to the classroom through their research and collaboration with industry.

About the Medicinal Chemistry program

Breifcase Available as a co-op program only

ClickApply to Physical Sciences,
select Medicinal Chemistry as your major

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science in Honours Medicinal Chemistry

PersonQualify for membership in the Canadian Society of Chemistry

BeakerOffered by the Faculty of Science

Living Learning CommunityLive with other Science students in a Science Academic Cluster


Medicinal Chemistry admissions requirements 

  • Apply to Physical Sciences and select Medicinal Chemistry as your major in first year.

Careers in Medicinal Chemistry

Medicinal Chemistry graduates often pursue careers in pharmacology, drug discovery and design, industrial research and development, and experimental research. Many graduates also pursue specialized master's and PhD studies.

First-year Medicinal Chemistry courses

September to December

CHEM 100 - Introduction to Chemical Sciences
BIOL 130 - Introductory Cell Biology
CHEM 120/120L - Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter/ Chemical Reaction Laboratory 1
MATH 127 - Calculus 1 for the Sciences
ENGL 193/SPCOM 193 - Communication in the Sciences
Choose one of the following:
 • PHYS 121/121L - Mechanics/Laboratory
 • PHYS 111/111L - Physics 1/Laboratory

January to April

CHEM 123/123L - Chemical Reactions, Equilibria and Kinetics/Laboratory
CHEM 140 - Introduction to Scientific Calculations
MATH 128 - Calculus 2 for the Sciences
Choose one of the following:
 • PHYS 122/122L Waves, Electricity and Magnetism/Lab
 • PHYS 112/112L - Physics 2/Lab
Plus 1 elective


After first year

What other courses will you take? Most of the classes you’ll take will be Chemistry courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

View all the courses required for your degree.

Sample upper-year courses

CHEM 357 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 381 – Bioorganic Chemistry
CHEM 333 – Metabolism 1
CHEM 432 – Metabolism 2


Customize your degree

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor/minors as part of your degree.


Gain relevant work experience through co-op

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 (Pharmacology)
  • Research and development technician
  • Pharmaceutical R&D
  • Undergraduate reseach 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.

Learn more about Medicinal Chemistry