Our history

sepia image of professor showing anatomy models to students
Since its inception in 1967, the Faculty of Health has grown from the world's first department of kinesiology into a multidisciplinary incubator for innovative programs and educational resources dedicated to human health and well-being.

Known for advancements in both basic and applied research, our faculty members have included the pioneers of human biomechanics, experts in work-life balance, and leaders in international health policy. They continue to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries to explore creative solutions to complex health challenges.


Year Milestone
1967 First students enrolled in four-year, honours co-op program; Senate approves establishment of world's first Department of Kinesiology (formerly Department of Athletics and Physical Education within School of Physical and Health Education) effective January 1, 1968
1968 Recreation and Leisure Studies undergraduate program (granted senate approval in 1967) and Department of Recreation established; School name changed to School of Physical Education and Recreation
1970 Regular Kinesiology program approved
1972 MSc program in Kinesiology approved; Health Studies Option (program) and Dance Option (program) implemented
1974 Dance gains independent program status
1975 Master of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies approved; students admitted in 1976
1976 Kinesiology establishes PhD programs in Psychomotor Behaviour and Sociology of Sport
1978 School of Anatomy, Department of Health Studies established; BSc and MSc in Health Studies approved
1989 Waterloo launches PhD in Health Studies; first student admitted 1990
1990 Human Kinetics and Leisure Studies becomes Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
1993 Department of Health Studies merges with Gerontology program to become Department of Health Studies and Gerontology; Waterloo establishes Canada's first doctoral program in Recreation and Leisure Studies (students admitted in 1994)
1998 MSc and PhD in Health Studies receive approval to incorporate Gerontology into programs
2001 Master of Tourism, Policy, and Planning established (students admitted in 2002)
2002 Undergraduate majors in Recreation and Business, and in Therapeutic Recreation approved; Master of Health Informatics program established with Computer Science
2005 Senate approves Canada's first PhD program in Aging, Health and Wellbeing; students admitted in 2006
2006 Master of Public Health program
2007 Senate approves PhD program in Work and Health; students admitted 2008
2009 Recreation and Leisure Studies adds part-time studies in all undergraduate majors
2010 Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies renames Recreation and Business major to Recreation and Sport Business and establishes new undergraduate major in Tourism and Parks Management (effective 2011)


Department of Health Studies and Gerontology becomes School of Public Health and Health Systems; Master of Social Work program approved by Senate (delivered by Renison University College; degree granted by Applied Health Sciences)


Health Promotion program (regular and co-op) established; Propel Centre for Population Health Impact established as Senate-approved research centre


Master of Health Evaluation program established; Master of Arts in Tourism, Policy, and Planning renamed to Master of Arts in Tourism


Course-based stream of Master of Science in Kinesiology established; MSc and PhD in Health Studies and Gerontology renamed to Public Health and Health Systems; Undergraduate major in Tourism and Parks Management renamed to Tourism Development; Bachelor of Health Promotion changed to Bachelor of Public Health


Accelerated master’s plans in Public Health and Health Systems approved


Collaborative PhD in Public Health and Health Systems – Water approved; Master of Tourism inactivated

2018 Global Health Policy and Innovation Research Centre established as Senate-approved research centre

Senate approves Faculty name change to the Faculty of Health, effective January 1, 2021

2021 Senate approves unit name changes from School of Public Health and Health Systems to School of Public Health Sciences, and from Department of Kinesiology to Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, effective September 1, 2021