How do Science programs work at Waterloo?
- Choose from 18 majors and take courses in your chosen field, beginning from day 1 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. Ask 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 several majors under the entry-level programs Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.
- It's important to note that Life Sciences and Physical Sciences are not majors, they are simply a category of majors of a similar discipline that you must select on OUAC when you are applying to Waterloo.
- On your OUAC application you will need to select Life Sciences or Physical Sciences as entry-level programs first to access the majors underneath them. What you choose as your Subject of Major Interest (SMI) on your application (e.g., Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Physics, Materials and Nanosciences, etc.) on OUAC will become your major when you begin your first year. So the SMI on OUAC is the same thing as your major and is what will appear on your degree.
- 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 degree in Biomedical Sciences.
How can I customize my degree?
Choose to customize your degree by adding a specialization or a minor. Both end up on your diploma when you graduate and will help showcase your specific area(s) of expertise. The difference between a specialization and a minor is that a specialization typically has more course requirements. Some students work towards both a specialization and a minor, but this requires careful planning with your academic advisor because some minors can’t be combined with some majors.
- Specializations: Check your program page to see if specializations are offered. In Environmental Science and Science and Business, you choose your specialization when you apply — for these, 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.
- 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.