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Undergraduate: Biochemistry

  • Program Overview

    Departments of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

    The Biochemistry Program

    The Biochemistry Undergraduate Major Program provides a challenging and exciting introduction to the chemical basis of biological phenomena.

    The major is designed to prepare students who intend to pursue graduate study, attend health-related professional schools, pursue secondary school teaching careers, and fill entry-level positions in private, state, and federal laboratories or in pharmaceutical and biotechnical industries.

    The undergraduate curriculum provides a fundamental background in biology, chemistry, genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry, with courses in mathematics and physics necessary for advanced understanding of this broad field. Students may not declare a double major among biochemistry, biology, and pharmacology majors.

  • Degrees and Requirements

    Requirements for the Major in Biochemistry (BCH)

    All courses offered for the major must be taken for a letter grade. A minimum grade of C must be obtained in all courses in requirements A, B, and C below. Completion of the major requires approx­imately 70 to 74 credits.

    Transfer students who wish to complete the requirements for the Biochemistry major must take Biochemistry I and II (BIO 361and  BIO 362) and must complete at least a minimum of nine additional credits at Stony Brook in required upper-division Biology courses (BIO 310,  BIO 320, or  BIO 365) and/or approved upper-division Biology elective courses. 

    A. Courses in Related Fields

    1. CHE 129 / CHE 130 CHE 132 General Chemistry IA, II or  CHE 131,  CHE 132 General Chemistry IB, II or  CHE 152 Molecular Science I 
    2. CHE 133CHE 134 General Chemistry Laboratory or CHE 154 Molecular Science Laboratory I
    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. If students do not place into MAT 125 or 131 on the basis of the math placement examination, MAT 123 (or MAT 119/MAT 123) is a required course for the major.
    7. PHY 121PHY 122 Physics for the Life Sciences and Labs or PHY 125, PHY 126/PHY 133, PHY 127/PHY 134 Classical Physics A, B, C and labs or or  PHY 131 / PHY 133,  PHY 132/PHY 134 Classical Physics I, II and labs or PHY 141/PHY 133, PHY 142/PHY 134 Classical Physics I, II: Honors and labs

    B. Core Courses in Biology

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

    C. Advanced Courses in Biology

    1. EBH 302  Human Genetics or  BIO 320    General Genetics or  BIO 321    Ecological Genetics (see Note 2)
    2. BIO 310  Cell Biology
    3. BIO 361,  BIO 362  Biochemistry I,II (see Note 1)
    4. BIO 365  Biochemistry Laboratory (fall only) 
    5. Two additional courses, 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
    • AMS 333  Mathematical Biology
    • BIO 312  Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
    • BIO 314  Cancer Biology
    • BIO 315  Microbiology
    • BIO 316  Molecular Immunology
    • BIO 317  Principles of Cellular Signaling
    • BIO 321  Introduction to Ecological Genetics and Genomics (see Note 3)
    • BIO 325  Animal Development
    • BIO 327  Developmental genetics lab
    • BIO 328  Mammalian Physiology
    • BIO 332  Computational Modeling
    • BIO 334  Principles of Neurobiology
    • BIO 335  Neurobiology Laboratory
    • BIO 337  Neurotransmission and Neuromodulation: Implications for Brain Function
    • BIO 338  From Synapse to Circuit: Self organization of the Brain
    • BIO 339  Molecular Development of the Nervous System
    • BIO 350  Darwinian Medicine
    • BIO 354  Evolution
    • BIO 358  Biology of Human Social and Sexual Behavior
    • BIO 364  Laboratory Techniques in Cancer Biology
    • BIO 367  Molecular Diversity Laboratory
    • BME 304  Genetic Engineering
    • CHE 346  Bio-molecular Structure and Activity
    • EBH 302   Human Genetics (formerly offered as BIO 302 Human Genetics)
    • EBH 380 Genomics (formerly offered as BIO 304 Genomics)

    Note 1.  BIO 361  and  BIO 362  must be taken in order. A grade of C or higher in  BIO 202  and  CHE 321  &  CHE 326  or  CHE 322is required to enroll in  BIO 361  and  BIO 362.

    Note 2.  BIO 321 or EBH 302 can be used to satisfy EITHER the upper division BIO elective or the Genetics requirement (not both).

    D. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

    The advanced writing component of the major in Biochemistry requires registration in the 0-credit BIO 459 and approval of either a BIO 365 laboratory report, or a manuscript written for a readings or research course in biology or chemistry at Stony Brook. To obtain approval, the original graded writing sample and the writing requirement registration form, signed by both the student and instructor, should be submitted to the Undergraduate Biology office. The Writing Center will evaluate the submission and contact the student directly if remedial efforts are needed. 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. If material is rejected, the student will be instructed by the Writing Center before resubmitting the writing sample. 

    Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with   university graduation requirements for General Education.  Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate.  The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.

    Honors Program in Biochemistry

    Graduation with Honors in Biochemistry requires the following:
    1. A cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.50 in all courses required for the major.
    2. Presentation of an acceptable thesis based on laboratory research project. Students interested in graduation with Honors must contact the Biochemistry Honors Coordinator for more detailed information no later that the second week of classes during their last semester.

    Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry/Master of Science Degree in Chemistry Program

    A student interested in this research intensive graduate program, intended to prepare students for professional employment in the chemical or pharmaceutical industries, may apply for admission at the end of the junior year. The program leads to a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry at the end of the fourth year, followed by a Master of Science in Chemistry at the end of the fifth year. During the senior year the student is expected to take two 500-level CHE courses and begin research. In the fifth year, the student works full-time on research, earning 24 credits in CHE 599. The two 500-level CHE courses taken during the senior year may be counted toward the two electives required by the Biochemistry major. Please visit the Chemistry website  for further information on the Chemistry graduate degree.





  • Sequence

    Sample Course Sequence for the Major in Biochemistry

    A course planning guide for this major may be found  hereThe major course planning guides are not part of the official Undergraduate Bulletin, and are only updated periodically for use as an advising tool. The Undergraduate Bulletin supersedes any errors or omissions in the major course planning guides.  


    FALL Credits
    First Year Seminar 101 1
    WRT 101 3
    CHE 131/CHE 133 5
    MAT 125 or MAT 131 3-4
    SBC 3
    Total 15-16
    SPRING Credits
    First Year Seminar 102 1
    WRT 102  3
    BIO 201 or BIO 202 3
    CHE 132/CHE 134 5
    MAT 126 or MAT 132 3-4
     Total  15-16

    FALL Credits
    BIO 203 3
    CHE 321 4
    MAT 127 (if MAT 125, MAT 126, MAT 127 sequence taken) 3
    BIO 204 2
    BIO 458 0
    SBC 3
     Total  15
    SPRING Credits
    BIO 201 or BIO 202  3
    CHE 322  4
    CHE 327 2
    BIO 205 or BIO 207 2
    SBC  3
     Total  14

    FALL Credits
    BIO 361*  3
    PHY 121 4
    BIO 365 2
    BIO 459 0
    SBC  3
    SBC  3
     Total 15
    SPRING Credits
    BIO 362*  3 
    BIO 320  3
    PHY 122 4
    SBC  3
    SBC 3
     Total  16

    FALL Credits
    BIO elective*** 3
    SBC or BIO elective***
    SBC 3
    SBC 3
     Total 15
    SPRING Credits
    BIO 310 3
    CHE 312** 3
    BIO elective*** 3
    SBC  3 
    SBC  3
     Total 15 

     *BIO 361 and 362 should be taken in sequence.

    **Physical Chemistry I (CHE 301) or Physical Chemistry (short course) (CHE 312) may be taken to fulfill the one semester Biochemistry Major physical chemistry requirement. CHE 301 is offered only in the fall but has very limited enrollment capacity; CHE 312 is offered only in the spring.

    ***Two BIO electives are required for the major and must be chosen from the approved list.
    Electives not on the list must be approved by a Biochemistry major.


  • Contact

    Biochemistry (BCH)

    Major in Biochemistry

    Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology; College of Arts and Sciences

    Chair: Aaron Neiman

    Director of Undergraduate Studies:  Bernadette Holdener


    Assistant to the Chair: Carol Juliano

    Office: 450 Life Sciences Building 

    Phone: (631) 632-8550 


    Minors of particular interest to students majoring in Biochemistry: Biomaterials (BES), Bioengineering (BNG), Chemistry (CHE)


  • Courses