Chemistry B.S.

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 four 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 appropriat 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 in August (for fall) or January (for spring) when open registration begins.  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 fall semester.

In CHEM 115, students who do not score well enough on the diagnostic will be dropped from the course.  If freshmen score well enough on the diagnostic 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

B3 (Laboratory Science): CHEM 234

Is there anything else I need to know about starting in this major?
To decrease the time to degree, pre-majors (and declared majors) should begin working work on the lower division requirements, especially CHEM 115 and CHEM 215 and 216, but also calculus and physics, in their freshman year. 

Even though our majors are classified as impacted, pre-majors may declare the major in the second semester of their first year as long as their overall GPA is 2.01 or greater, regardless of the courses that have been taken.

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?



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* in their first semester if eligible AND a course in the calculus pathway (see below).

Mathematics Pathway 2 students that are eligible for MATH 226* should take it in their first semester. 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 diagnostic. If the student has to take CHEM 100, he or she must earn a grade of C or better in CHEM 100 (letter grade only) and then re-take the diagnostic and score satisfactorily before continuing on to CHEM 115.

QR/Math category 1 and 2 students can enroll in CHEM 115. QR/Math category 3 and 4 students must have completed Math 197 with a grade of C or better, or have completed both parts of a co-requisite B4 course each with a C or better.

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 CHEM 115 diagnostic or CHEM 100 (these students do not have to take the CHEM 115 diagnostic 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