Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

High school preparation for the chemistry and biochemistry degree programs should include two years of algebra, one year of geometry, one-half year of trigonometry, one year of chemistry, and one year of physics. Calculus is highly recommended.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and an ability to solve problems in the five chemistry sub-disciplines: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry.

  2. Perform basic chemistry laboratory procedures, including the use of modern instrumentation, for the synthesis, separation, isolation, analysis, and characterization of molecules.

  3. Effectively communicate the results of scientific experiments in oral reports, technical graphics, and written reports.

  4. Demonstrate the retention and synthesis of prior learning in advanced classes.

  5. Search the chemical literature for published work relevant to a project of interest, read and understand technical literature related to the discipline.

  6. Draw on classroom knowledge to contribute to solutions to problems encountered in a laboratory.

  7. Articulate an understanding of the relationship between chemistry and related disciplines such as biological science, materials science, and environmental science.

  8. Contribute to solving problems encountered in chemistry as part of a team.

  9. Understand the key experiments that led to the development of chemical theories and models.

Biochemistry (B.S.) — 70 units

  • All courses used in the major must be completed with letter grades (CR/NC not allowed) and a minimum GPA of 2.0 (SF State Major GPA).
  • Grades of C or better are required in chemistry prerequisite courses.

General Education Requirements Met in the Major

The requirements below are deemed “met in the major” upon completion of the courses listed (even though the courses and their prerequisites are not approved for GE). This is true whether or not the student completes the major.

  • Area B2 (Life Science) is satisfied upon completion of either BIOL 240 or CHEM 341.

Lower-Division Requirements (34 units)

BIOL 230Introductory Biology I5
CHEM 115General Chemistry I4
CHEM 215General Chemistry II4
CHEM 233
CHEM 234
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Laboratory
MATH 226Calculus I4
MATH 227Calculus II4
Select one of the following:8
General Physics I
and General Physics I Laboratory
and General Physics II
and General Physics II Laboratory
General Physics with Calculus I
and General Physics with Calculus I Laboratory
and General Physics with Calculus II
and General Physics with Calculus II Laboratory
General Physics with Calculus I
and General Physics with Calculus I Laboratory
and General Physics with Calculus III
and General Physics with Calculus III Laboratory

Upper-Division Requirements (21 units)

Select One:6
Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences I
and Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences II
Physical Chemistry I: Thermodynamics and Kinetics
and Physical Chemistry II: Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy
CHEM 321Quantitative Chemical Analysis3
CHEM 335Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 340Biochemistry I3
CHEM 341Biochemistry II3
CHEM 343Biochemistry I Laboratory3

Upper-Division Electives (15 units)

  • Students must complete at least 15 units of upper-division chemistry and biology electives selected from the lists below. Courses from community colleges cannot be substituted for the courses on the list below.
  • Electives must include at least:
    1. one course with a CHEM prefix,
    2. one GWAR (GW) course, and
    3. three laboratory courses.
  • Note that many biology electives have a BIOL 240 prerequisite.
  • Students wishing to enroll in BIOL 350, BIOL 355, and BIOL 612 without completing the BIOL 240 prerequisite should contact the instructor of record before registration.
  • Students should consult an advisor regarding the selection of elective courses and check course co- and pre-requisites before enrolling.
  • Graduate-level courses in chemistry or appropriate courses in biology, physics, geosciences, and computer science may be substituted upon prior approval of an advisor.

Upper-Division Electives in Chemistry

Students should keep in mind that non-Biochemistry courses may require additional prerequisites that are not met in the Biochemistry degree or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 322Quantitative Chemical Analysis Laboratory 1,22
CHEM 325Inorganic Chemistry 13
CHEM 336Organic Chemistry II Laboratory 1,22
CHEM 370Computer Applications in Chemistry and Biochemistry 23
CHEM 390GWContemporary Chemistry and Biochemistry Research - GWAR 33
CHEM 420Environmental Analysis 23
CHEM 422Instrumental Analysis 24
CHEM 426Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory 22
CHEM 433Advanced Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 443Biophysical Chemistry Laboratory 24
CHEM 451Experimental Physical Chemistry Laboratory 22
CHEM 645GWResearch Trends in Chemistry and Biochemistry - GWAR3
CHEM 667Optical Engineering for the Biological Sciences3
CHEM 680Chemical Oceanography3
CHEM 685Projects in the Teaching of Chemistry and Biochemistry1
CHEM 686Experiences in Teaching Chemistry and Biochemistry 41
CHEM 699Independent Study 2,52-3

Upper-Division Electives in Biology and Computer Science

BIOL 350Cell Biology3
BIOL 351GWExperiments in Cell and Molecular Biology - GWAR 24
BIOL 355Genetics3
BIOL 357Molecular Genetics3
BIOL 358Forensic Genetics: Math Matters 24
BIOL 401General Microbiology3
BIOL 402GWGeneral Microbiology Laboratory - GWAR 23
BIOL 420General Virology3
BIOL 435Immunology3
BIOL 436Immunology Laboratory 22
BIOL 612Human Physiology3
BIOL 613GWHuman Physiology Laboratory - GWAR 23
BIOL 638Bioinformatics and Sequence Analysis 24
BIOL 640Cellular Neurosciences3
Select One3
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Computer Programming
Machine Learning and Data Science for Personalized Medicine
Data Science and Machine Learning for Medical Image Analysis

For students who pursue a double major in the BA Chemistry and BS Biochemistry programs, CHEM 322, CHEM 325, and CHEM 336 cannot be used as electives for the BS Biochemistry program. Students must choose other approved courses to satisfy the elective requirements.


Can be used to fulfill the laboratory requirement.


Cannot be used to fulfill the laboratory requirement.


May be repeated and up to 2 units used towards Elective requirement.


By petition only. Units must be taken in the same semester to be used as an upper-division elective.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

SF State Scholars

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

SF State Scholar Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 year)

For students with an AS-T in Chemistry.
CHEM ADT Roadmap

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Chemistry

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.