Major Requirements (SF State Bulletin: Degree Requirements)

Roadmap (SF State Bulletin: Roadmap)

GE Requirements (SF State Bulletin: General Education)

Advising Guide for Freshmen (.docx)

Advising Guide for Transfer Students (.docx)

Major Department Website

Your major advisor answered a few questions to assist you with your first semester courses — see below.

General Information

What are some of the highlights and features to know about this major?

Some required core courses are offered only in specific semesters so it is important to consult with an advisor regularly to ensure that the planned timing is consistent with the scheduled offering.

Students who intend to major in chemistry, biochemistry or biology should take only CHEM 100 or CHEM 115 and no other 100-level chemistry courses.  CHEM 180 is for engineers and CHEM 101 is for pre-nursing and kinesiology majors.

When should I first meet with my major department? We usually hold an advising session on the first Friday of the semester for pre-majors and new transfer students.  We usually send out an email to new transfer students and all pre-majors to encourage them to come in for one-on-one advising any time during the semester.
How will I be assigned to a major advisor and how do I contact them?

Our department doesn’t assign advisors to students. Instead, we have mandatory advising at 4 points in an academic career.  The semester when pre-majors or majors are enrolled in CHEM 115, CHEM 233, CHEM 321 and CHEM 300 or CHEM 351, a hold will be placed on registration for the next term.  To clear the hold, they must come in to see an advisor and work on their class schedule for the next two terms.

Each semester, the advisors hours and contact information (email and phone) are posted on the department’s website, by the elevators on the 8th floor of Thornton Hall and at the entrance to the department office (TH 806). Email is usually the best method to make contact.

Students may see any advisor who has advising hours that are most convenient for him or her.

Where can I find information about major advising?
Does your department have a major planning sheet for me as a guide? Yes, we have a major planning sheet
Does this major require any pre-work from me before I attend orientation or register for classes?

Please refer to the handout “Advising Guide for Freshmen" or "Advising Guide for Transfer Students Majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry" as appropriate for your situation.

What should I do if my major core and/or prequisite courses are full?

There can be a lot of movement on class lists as the semester approaches.  It is always a good idea to keep an eye on enrollment.  It is worth getting on the waitlist for a course if you can.

Students who cannot register for a course or get on a waitlist can attend class the first day to crash the course –sometimes priority is given to enroll majors in courses over other students.

See an advisor or email with any questions about classes and requirements.  Advisors can help modify plans to facilitate graduation even if classes are full in the coming semester.

In CHEM 115, after the placement exams are given the beginning of the semester, a number of students are dropped from the course.  If freshmen take and pass the placement test and show up to class the first week, their chances of getting a seat are very good, as long as the available spaces in the course fit their schedule.

Does this major have GE courses that are met in major?

[These courses are deemed “met in the major” upon completion of the courses listed (even though the courses are not approved for GE). This is true whether or not the student completes the major.]


B1 (Physical Science): CHEM 233

B2 (Life Science): BIOL 240 OR CHEM 341

B3 (Laboratory Science): CHEM 234

Is there anything else I need to know about starting in this major?

Pre-majors who wish to declare the major need to be working on the lower division requirements for the major, especially CHEM 115 and CHEM 215 and 216, but also calculus and physics.  We look for progress in these courses more than grades –we want to see that students are able to manage the workload and get grades of C's or better in these courses.

Pre-majors who want to declare a major can do so in the fall semester of their sophomore year or later.  We do not accept change of major forms when they have fewer than 30-units completed.

Transfer Student Info

What upper division courses should I take in my first semester as a transfer student for this major? Please refer to the handout “Advising Guide for Transfer Students Majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry
Are there any prerequisites to these upper division courses for the major? Not Applicable.
Are there any registration blocks or holds in the system for this major, and if so, what do I do/who do I contact to clear them?

Prerequisites are checked to enroll in CHEM 215, 233, 321, 335, 340, 349, 300.  Please see the handout called “Information for new transfer students interested in taking a chemistry course” for information about clearing prerequisites over the summer. 

This information needs to be supplied to CHEMISTRY, BIOCHEMISTRY, and BIOLOGY majors.  There may also be KINESIOLOGY and DIETETICS majors who will be taking chemistry courses.

Does this major have an approved Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) roadmap?


[Click here for ADT Roadmap]

Freshmen Student Info

Are there any courses I should take first as a Freshman to get started in this major and/or are there any lower division GE course requirements that I can take that will also count toward this major?

The B.S. Chemistry degree is designed for students who are interested in a career as a chemist. This degree will prepare students for admission to graduate programs (M.S. or Ph.D) as well as for jobs in the biotech and/or chemical industries.

Pre-Chemistry B.S. students should take CHEM 115* and a math class. Pathway 2 students that are eligible for MATH 226*  should take it in their first semester. Mathematics Pathway 2 students not eligible for MATH 226 should take MATH 199*. Pathway 3 and 4 students should take MATH 197 in their first semester and MATH 198 in their second semester.

*1-unit Supplemental Instruction courses (SCI) are offered for these classes as additional support. These courses can be found in the SFSU Class Schedule ( by searching for the SCI prefix.

Are there entry or prerequisite requirements for these Freshmen courses?

Enrollment in CHEM 115 requires that the student scores satisfactorily on the chemistry placement exam or earns a grade of C or better in CHEM 100 (letter grade only).

Also required is a score of 50 or above on ELM, OR approved exemption, OR MATH 70 with a grade of C or better OR ESM 70 with a grade of CR.

Can any of my AP or IB tests count toward requirements in this major?

A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam will be accepted as a substitute for CHEM 115 (these students may enroll in CHEM 215).

A score of 3 on the AP Chemistry exam will substitute for the placement exam or CHEM 100 (these students do not have to take the placement exam and may enroll directly into CHEM 115).



College of Science & Engineering Student Success Center

Services provided for: undergraduate students with College of Science and Engineering majors and minors

Services offered: academic planning, general education advising, graduation check (GE and graduation requirements), study abroad, connecting with communities, discovering campus resources

Phone: (415) 338-2816