How do Science programs work at Waterloo?
- Choose from 17 majors and take courses in your chosen field, beginning from day one of your first year.
- You're not required to take a general first year, but if you'd prefer to sample different types of sciences in your first year, Honours Science could be a place for you to start.
- Most majors are flexible enough that you can still switch before your second year if you change your mind. Talk to the Science Recruitment Team if you have questions about the flexibility of your chosen major.
What do the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences entry-level programs mean? How do these work?
- At Waterloo, we offer 12 majors under the entry-level programs Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.
- It's important to note that Life Sciences and Physical Sciences are entry programs. We do not offer a general first year labelled Life Sciences or Physical Sciences. Rather, you start in the major that you choose on OUAC when you apply. For instance, if you wish to apply into the Life Sciences entry program, and you select Biochemistry as your subject of major interest (SMI), you'll be starting in the Biochemistry major in the fall of your first year.
- You'll receive an offer into Life or Physical Sciences, but the subject of major interest that you select on OUAC is your major and is what will appear on your degree. For instance, if you select Physical Sciences as your program, and Chemistry as your subject of major interest, you'll receive an offer to Physical Sciences. However, when you start at Waterloo, you'll be starting in Chemistry (all of your courses will be aligned to that major) and your degree will state Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.
- For example: If you want to be in the Biomedical Sciences program, you need to choose Life Sciences as the entry-level program and then Biomedical Sciences as your SMI. You will begin courses related to Biomedical Sciences in your first year and you will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences.
How can I customize my degree?
Choose to customize your degree by adding a specialization, option, or minor(s). All end up on your diploma when you graduate and will help showcase your specific area(s) of expertise. A specialization needs to be offered under a specific major in order to be available to students. For instance, Chemistry offers two specializations (bio-based chemistry and computational chemistry), but Medicinal Chemistry doesn't offer any specializations. Typically, specializations have more course requirements than a minor or option. You can only specialize in one area, if available, but you can add as many options and minors as allowed within the flexibility of your program. This requires careful planning with your academic advisor because some minors and options can’t be combined with some majors.
- Specializations: Check your program page to see if specializations are offered. For two of our majors (Environmental Science and Earth Sciences), you must specialize. For all other majors that offer specializations, they are optional and you can remain unspecialized if you wish. In Environmental Science and Science and Business, you can select your specialization when you apply. For these cases, what you select on OUAC as your Subject of Major Interest (SMI) becomes your specialization. For all other Science majors, you don’t select a specialization when you apply, but you can work with your advisors in your first year to make a plan for the specializations you’re interested in.
- Options: An option is like a minor, but it's typically offered only to students within a specific Faculty and not to others. There are some exceptions to this. In the Faculty of Science, we offer one option - Bioinformatics.
- Minors: Add a minor to your degree from within Science or from other faculties across campus. For example, you could take Biomedical Sciences with a Psychology minor, Biology with an Entrepreneurship minor, or Physics with a Music minor. Depending on your major, you may or may not have the flexibility to work towards a minor, so it’s important to check in with your academic advisor about which minors are available to you. See the full list of Waterloo minors.
What are the admission requirements for my major?
Find your major requirements using the admissions requirements tool.
How do I apply to my major?
For information on the application process, including important dates, see applying to Waterloo.
What's it like to be a Science student at Waterloo?
Science students at University of Waterloo access state-of-the-art labs; inspiring professors and lecturers; and a variety of support resources, cafes, and study spaces. View the student life page.
How many hours of class will I have per week and what is the workload like?
It depends on your major, but you will have around 15 hours of class per week, and around 8-10 hours of labs and/or tutorials. Check your program page for a list of first year courses and labs you will take.
Where will I live?
With guaranteed residence for all first year students and 9 residences to choose from, you'll have no problem finding a spot. For information on residence and housing, see housing.
How much is tuition? What are the other fees I should expect?
For information on the different costs within the science majors, see tuition and other fees.
How can I finance my education?
Once you arrive at Waterloo, there are many ways you can gain some extra cash for spending money, and to help you pay for school. For information on financial aid, see financing your education.
How do I book a campus, residence, or Science tour?
Book a campus, residence, Science, or other Faculty tour through the Visitors Centre.
How do I order and/or read viewbooks and brochures?
Request a viewbook or brochure through the publications page.
Who can I contact for more information about Science majors?
Connect with our helpful admissions staff to get personalized answers to your questions.