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Physical Sciences

Want to discover how the world works? In Physical Sciences, you’ll investigate the natural laws and processes of non-living matter.

Apply to Physical Sciences and choose one of these 8 majors starting in first year.


Student preparing chemicals for an experiment

Specialize in your major of interest in your first year of studies at Waterloo, giving you a strong foundation for upper year courses and co-op work terms.

About the Physical Sciences program

BreifcaseMost majors offered as a co-op and regular program

ClickChoose from eight majors

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science degree


Admission requirements for majors within Physical Sciences

  • Ontario students: 6 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
  • An Admission Information Form is recommended

  • Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements

First-year courses

Most students take 5 courses per term, plus associated labs if applicable. Select your program of interest to see a list of first-year courses.

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.

Co-op work/study sequences

  Fall Winter Spring
First year School School Off
Second year School Co-op School
Third year Co-op School Co-op
Fourth year School Co-op Co-op
Final year School School  

Fall = September to December, Winter = January to April, Spring = May to August
School = 4-month school term
Co-op = 4-month co-op work term
Off = You can make your own plans for that term (work, travel, vacation, etc.)

The order of school and work terms may vary, depending on the major you choose.