Health co-op programs

Waterloo co-op students at work


Public Health

The Public Health program is designed to fill the growing need for expansion in the public health workforce. Students will participate in integrated studies that examine the role of social, cultural, political, geographical, and biological conditions and how they determine individual  and population health. 

Public Health aims to equip students with the skills to improve conditions affecting health and health inequities.  Students are prepared for health-focused careers in public health units and health centres, as well as with disease-fighting organizations. Students are also ready for jobs that address social justice and individual rights issues, like working with anti-poverty groups or social service and planning agencies. 

Students in this program bring a broad and innovative perspective to health and related fields.

Students have specific skills and knowledge in the  following areas:

  • policy creation
  • advocacy and human engagement
  • mediation and communication
  • community development and mobilization
  • program planning and evaluation
  • analytics and research
  • social and environmental awareness

Back to top

Health Studies

The School of Public Health Sciences has been a pioneer in developing an interdisciplinary approach to health and health care. It is at the forefront of challenging the incidence of disease in our society through contribution to the development of effective intervention and prevention strategies.

Waterloo’s Health Studies program emphasizes health promotion, the relationship between lifestyle and health and the importance of disease prevention. Students develop an understanding of the nature of diseases, their causes, behavioural factors that contribute to disease and ways in which health behaviour can be changed.

This program grants students the opportunity to focus on specific areas. Students can complete a minor in gerontology, or complete an option or specialization in one of the following areas:

  • health informatics (option)
  • aging studies (option)
  • pre-health professions (specialization)
  • health research (specialization) 

Students have specific skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • analytical and research skills (SAS after 3A)
  • program planning and evaluation
  • the Canadian health system
  • environmental health
  • epidemiology

Back to top


Waterloo’s Kinesiology program encompasses the scientific study of human movement with the goal of optimizing health and preventing illness and injury. The plan provides a foundation in anatomy, biomechanics, physiology and psychomotor behaviour, complemented by biology and chemistry courses from the Faculty of Science.

In keeping with an emphasis on applied and experiential learning, competence is developed through various laboratory courses, facilities and assignments as well as advanced practicum courses in sports injury assessment, cardiac rehabilitation and movement assessment.

As one of the largest Kinesiology departments in North America, students benefit from the unique opportunity to take specialized electives and distinguish themselves with expertise in areas such as gait analysis, altitude and aerospace physiology, motor learning or low back disorders.

The program offers four other specializations in the areas of:

  • ergonomics and injury prevention
  • rehabilitation sciences
  • pre-health professions
  • human nutrition

Students in this program are characterized by a variety of transferable skills and attributes including:

  • problem-solving skills
  • analytical skills
  • social and environmental awareness
  • teamwork and leadership
  • self-management skills
  • computer literacy
  • well-developed communication skills
  • high level of motivation

Back to top

Recreation and Leisure Studies

Waterloo’s internationally renowned Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies is concerned with the ways in which health and well-being are enhanced through the effective use of leisure and the provision of leisure services – the world’s largest and fastest growing industry.

Students learn how individuals, groups and societies plan, organize and use resources for leisure as well as examine current issues and future trends. Research and teaching focuses on social, psychological, economic and environmental aspects, thus contributing to the advancement of recreation and leisure services as well as the enhancement of the quality of individual and community life.

In their second year, students choose one of four program paths:

  • recreation and leisure studies
  • recreations and sport business
  • therapeutic recreation
  • tourism and parks management

Students in Waterloo’s Recreation and Leisure Studies program offer a broad range of intellectual, practical and social abilities, characterized by a variety of transferable skills and attributes including:

  • problem-solving skills

  • analytical skills

  • social and environmental awareness

  • teamwork and leadership abilities

  • administrative skills

  • computer literacy

  • well-developed communication skills

  • mentoring skills

Back to top