Physical Sciences

Discover how the world works by investigating the natural laws and processes of non-living matter.

Apply to Physical Sciences and choose one of these eight majors starting in first year, most of which offer co-op as well as regular streams.


Visit our Beyond Ideas website for tips on how to choose a program within the Faculty of Science.

A student in one of Waterloo's Physical Sciences programs works with a pipette in a lab

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.

BriefcaseMost majors offered as a co-op and regular program

ClickChoose from eight majors

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science degree


Admission requirements for Physical Sciences majors

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.


Get tips from Waterloo students

Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future. Topics include

  • tips for a successful senior year of high school,
  • how to choose a university program,
  • differences between high school and university, and more.

First-year Physical Sciences courses

Most students take five 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 = four-month school term
Co-op = four-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.

Ready to learn more?