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Biochemistry Major Degree Requirements

Current biochemistry major requirements are published in the Stony Brook Undergraduate Bulletin.

BS in Biochemistry


The undergraduate curriculum is comprised of fundamental courses in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics as a foundation for the BS in Biochemistry. Majors then take advanced courses in genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and biochemistry laboratory and choose at least two elective courses from an approved list of about 20 electives that provide advanced understanding of this broad field. Upper division electives cover topics ranging in bioinformatics, cancer biology, chemistry, developmental biology, evolution, microbiology, neurobiology, physiology, and many others. Students who perform research in faculty laboratories will receive upper division credit. Upper division credit is also given for being a teaching assistant in our courses or for readings courses taken with a faculty member. Students may not declare a double major with biology or pharmacology. All biochemistry majors but must maintain a minimum grade of C (P is not accepted), in ALL coursework required for the Major to obtain a bachelor of science (BS) degree in Biochemistry. 

Biochemistry major degree requirements (A-D):

In addition to the University’s general education, upper-division, and total credits requirements, biochemistry majors will complete the following biochemistry major requirements.

A. Courses in related fields:

Calculus (1 yr)
General Chemistry with lab (1 yr) 
Organic Chemistry (1 yr) with lab (1 semester)
Physics with lab (1 yr)
Physical Chemistry (1 semester)

  1. CHE 131CHE 132 General Chemistry or CHE 141CHE 142 Honors Chemistry I and II or CHE 152 Molecular Science I
  2. CHE 133CHE 134 General Chemistry Laboratory or CHE 154 Molecular Science Laboratory
  3. CHE 321, CHE 322 Organic Chemistry I, II or CHE 331, 332 Molecular Science II and III (See Note 1)
  4. CHE 327 Organic Chemistry Laboratory A or CHE 383 Introductory Synthetic and Spectroscopic Laboratory Techniques
  5. CHE 301 or CHE 312 Physical Chemistry
  6. MAT 125MAT 126MAT 127 Calculus A, B, C or MAT 131MAT 132 Calculus I, II or MAT 141MAT 142 or MAT 171 or AMS 151 and AMS 161 or level 9 on mathematics placement examination.
  7. PHY 121/PHY 123PHY 122/PHY 124 Physics for the Life Sciences and Labs; or PHY 125PHY 126PHY 127PHY 133, and PHY 134 Classical Physics A, B, C with labs; or PHY 131/ 133, PHY 132/134; or PHY 141PHY 142 Classical Physics I, II with labs: Honors

    Note 1: General chemistry students should register for CHE 133 and 134 general chemistry laboratory I and II. Molecular Science series students should register for CHE 154.

B. Core Courses in Biology:

Basic Biology (3 semesters)
Basic Biology lab (1 yr)

  1. BIO 201 Fundamentals of Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems (Fall, Spring)
  2. BIO 202 Fundamentals of Biology: Molecular and Cellular Biology (Fall, Spring)
  3. BIO 203 Fundamentals of Biology: Cellular and Organ Physiology (Spring)
  4. BIO 204 Fundamentals of Scientific Inquiry in the Biological Sciences I (Fall)
  5. BIO 205 Fundamentals of Scientific Inquiry in the Biological Sciences II (Spring) or BIO 207 Fundamentals of Scientific Inquiry in the Biological Sciences IIB (Fall)

C. Advanced Courses in Biology:

  1. BIO 320 General Genetics (Spring), BIO 302 Human Genetics (Fall), or BIO 321 Ecological Genetics (Fall) (See Note 3)
  2. BIO 310 Cell Biology (Spring)
  3. BIO 361BIO 362 Biochemistry I (Fall), II (Spring) (See Note 1)
  4. One of the following laboratories: BIO 365 Biochemistry Laboratory (Fall) or BIO 311 Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology (Spring) (See Note 2)
  5. Two additional approved Upper division electives, totaling at least five credits, chosen after consultation with an advisor from the following list. It is highly recommended that students take more than the suggested minimum number of electives.

Upper division electives approved for the biochemistry major:

Other courses may be considered with prior approval of the syllabus by the Curriculum Committee –   see advisor. For up to date list of approved electives, visit the Undergraduate Bulletin:

For up to date scheduling of courses, visit the Division of Undergraduate Biology or the Registrar's Office course offerings.

  • AMS 333 Mathematical Biology (Spring)
  • BCP 401 Principles of Pharmacology (Fall)
  • BCP 402 Advanced Pharmacology (Spring)
  • BIO 302 Human Genetics (Fall)
  • BIO 311 Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology (Spring) or BIO 365 Biochemistry Laboratory (Fall) (See Note 3)
  • BIO 312 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (Fall)
  • BIO 314 Cancer Biology (Fall)
  • BIO 315 Microbiology (Spring)
  • BIO 316 Molecular Immunology (Summer)
  • BIO 317 Principles of Cellular Signaling (Fall)
  • BIO 321 Introduction to Ecological Genetics and Genomics (Fall)
  • BIO 325 Animal Development (Fall)
  • BIO 327 Developmental genetics lab (Spring)
  • BIO 328 Mammalian Physiology (Spring)
  • BIO 332 Computational Modeling (Spring)
  • BIO 334 Principles of Neurobiology (Spring)
  • BIO 335 Neurobiology Laboratory (Fall)
  • BIO 337 Neurotransmission and Neuromodulation: Implications for Brain Function (Spring)
  • BIO 338 From Synapse to Circuit: Self organization of the Brain (Fall)
  • BIO 339 Molecular Development of the Nervous System (Spring)
  • BIO 350 Darwinian Medicine (Fall)
  • BIO 354 Evolution (Fall)
  • BIO 358 Biology of Human Social and Sexual Behavior (Spring)
  • BIO 364 Laboratory Techniques in Cancer Biology (Fall)
  • BIO 367 Molecular Diversity Laboratory
  • BME 304 Genetic Engineering (XXX)
  • CHE 346 Bio-molecular Structure and Activity (Spring)

    Note 1. BIO 361 and BIO 362 must be taken in order. Students who wish to take BIO 362 before BIO 361 must get permission from the course instructor. A grade of C or higher in BIO 202 and CHE 321 & CHE 326 or CHE 322 is required to enroll in BIO 361 and BIO 362.

    Note 2. BIO 311 and BIO 365 cannot individually satisfy both the upper division laboratory and upper division elective requirements.

    Note 3. BIO 302 and BIO 321 cannot be used to satisfy both the Genetics Advanced course requirement and Upper division elective.

D. Upper division writing requirement or Stony Brook Curriculum WRTD:

To fulfill the upper-division writing requirement in Biochemistry or the new Stony Brook Curriculum WRTD category, you should co-enroll in the zero credit BIO 489 (Write effectively in Biology) when you register for either BIO 365 or BIO 311. For BIO 459 credit, you will submit a writing sample to be evaluated for use of the English language. The writing sample must contain a minimum of 750 words of text and is usually a graded lab report. The original graded writing sample and the Upper Division Writing Requirements (UDWR) form should be signed by both the student and instructor and should be submitted to the Undergraduate Biology office (110 CMM/BLL 631-632-8530). The Writing Center will evaluate the submission and contact the student directly if remediation is needed.

The deadline for submission of the writing sample is February 1 for students graduating the following May or August, and October 1 for students graduating the following December. However, students are urged to submit appropriate materials in their junior year, or by the end of their next-to-last term, in order to allow for evaluation and possible revision. Later submissions are considered, but may delay graduation.

Biochemistry Honors Program

Students wishing to graduate with Honors in Biochemistry must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in all courses required for the Biochemistry Major and prepare an acceptable thesis based on a minimum of two semesters of independent research (BIO 486, 487, or 489). A student interested in becoming a candidate for honors should submit an outline of the proposed thesis research project to the Biochemistry Honors Coordinator as early as possible, but in any case no later than the second week of classes in the last semester. (Acceptance of a project for BIO 486, 487, or 489 registration does not imply automatic acceptance of that project for honors). The honors coordinator in consultation with the student, will then appoint a thesis committee consisting of the research sponsor and two additional faculty members. Two members of the thesis committee will be members of the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Department and one will be a member of another department in a related field.

Three copies of the finished thesis approved by the research sponsor, must be presented to the honors coordinator at least 21 days before the date of graduation. The honors coordinator will then submit the thesis for final approval to the other two members of the thesis committee.

More information.

Transfer Credit

Transfer students who wish to complete the requirements for the Biochemistry major must take Biochemistry I and II (BIO 361 and 362) at Stony Brook University and must complete at least a minimum of nine (9) additional credits at Stony Brook in required upper-division Biology courses (BIO 310, 320, 311, and 365) and/or approved upper-division Biology elective courses. Students should work closely with the transfer student office to determine transfer course equivalency. Students may need to provide course information including but are not limited to text book, syllabus, lectures notes, exams, papers, etc in order to determine transfer equivalency. Biology course evaluation is determined by the Biology Undergraduate Division. Other course equivalency is determined by the respective departments. Current students considering taking courses outside of Stony Brook University or as part of a study abroad program should obtain course evaluations prior to enrolling, to ensure that they will obtain transfer credit equivalency.

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