About the Joint Program

The Departments of Chemistry (and Biochemistry) of the University of Guelph and of the University of Waterloo jointly offer programs leading to MSc and PhD degrees. The Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry, GWC2, consists of members drawn from both university departments and is responsible directly to the two graduate schools. It is responsible for admissions, for the program of instruction, and overseeing the constitution of students’ advisory committees. Students in the Centre are registered either at Guelph or at Waterloo, study under the general regulations of the university in which they are registered, and their degree is granted by that university. The Centre follows the most stringent admission requirements of the two Universities. However, some flexibility is applied so that students who may not meet Centre requirements but do meet the admission requirements of the University of Guelph may be admitted in the Guelph graduate program. As members of GWC2, graduate students have access to all graduate courses offered at both universities. By having mixed membership on their advisory committees, PhD students are encouraged to seek expertise from the partner campus and most are also eligible to receive one of the many awards given by the Centre during the Annual General Meeting.


The Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry, or GWC2, was established in 1974, when the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Guelph and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Waterloo merged their graduate operations to form a single graduate program offering both Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in all six traditional areas of graduate work in Chemistry and Biochemistry. This initiative was instigated by pressure by the Government of Ontario on its universities to downsize their relatively expensive and rapidly expanding graduate degree programs. The Ministry of Universities, as it was then called, introduced an academic planning committee that assigned site-visit committees that were to recommend which departments in each university in Ontario would be permitted to offer PhD degrees and, more specifically, in which academic areas or sub-disciplines these degrees could be offered. The University of Waterloo was, as a result of this exercise, to be allowed to offer the PhD degree only in physical chemistry, the University of Guelph only in organic chemistry. The Departments at Guelph and Waterloo recognized that they had complementary expertise that would allow a combined venture that would permit the operation of a full PhD graduate program: as a consequence, in a daring move, the two Departments merged their graduate operations to form the Centre that still operates today.

The Centre’s name was changed to the Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1997 in order that the biochemistry component of graduate training in the Centre be more fully recognized, reflected, and represented. However, despite this formal name change, the acronym GWC2 was retained. The membership of the Centre consists of those Chemistry Department faculty members who hold appointments in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Guelph or who have approved PhD supervisory (ADDS) status at the University of Waterloo. There are also faculty members who are external to the two Chemistry Departments, but who hold cross or adjunct appointments in one of the two Departments. Current membership of the Centre [Spring 2016] consists of 73 faculty members including adjunct, cross-appointed and Emeritus Professors.

The Centre covers all major sub-disciplines of Chemistry:

  • Analytical
  • Biochemistry/Biological Chemistry
  • Inorganic
  • Nanoscience
  • Organic
  • Physical
  • Polymer
  • Theoretical

The Centre administers students recruited by chemistry faculty involved in three inter-departmental collaborative programs:

  • Nanotechnology Collaborative program (Waterloo)
  • Quantum Computing Collaborative program (Waterloo)
  • Toxicology Collaborative program (Guelph)

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Connect with GWC2

Main Address:
Guelph-Waterloo Centre
Department of Chemistry, University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1 Canada

519-824-4120, ext. 53848 (Guelph)
519-888-4567, ext.38111 (Waterloo)
email: [email protected] or [email protected]