< Back to Program List

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 69 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
    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 2)
    • 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 Upper Division Writing Requirement for the Biochemistry major is consistent with the University Graduation Requirements for General Education,  and successful completion will satisfy the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) learning outcomes for "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) .

    Registration: To satisfy the Upper-Division Writing requirement for the major in Biochemistry, students must co-register for the 0-credit BIO 459 course with either BIO 365 (Biochemistry lab) or an alternate approved advanced course in biological sciences or chemistry (see below). Students MUST enroll in BIO 459 at the same time they are registering for the respective advanced course. To receive WRTD credit and a satisfactory grade in BIO 459, either a BIO 365 lab report or term paper from another approved advanced biology/chemistry course must be submitted for writing evaluation prior to the end of the term and pass the review process.

    How to submit writing sample: After submitting their lab report or term paper for BIO course credit, students should submit the same document via Brightspace to BIO 459 “Assignments” for writing evaluation. It is the student’s responsibility to submit their writing sample early in the semester to allow adequate time for review and revision before end of term. Students are encouraged to submit their upper division writing requirement in their junior year or by the end of their next-to-last semester, since submission in the final semester could delay graduation clearance.

    Review process: The Program in Writing and Rhetoric will evaluate the BIO 459 submission, provide feedback, and will contact the student directly if remedial efforts are needed. Satisfactory completion of BIO 459 will fulfill the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) “Writing in the Discipline” WRTD learning objectives . If the writing assignment is initially found to be unsatisfactory, the student will be instructed by The Program in Writing and Rhetoric before resubmitting a revised version of their original paper.

    Alternate approved advanced courses: While BIO 459 co-registration with BIO 365 is highly recommended for Biochemistry majors, other upper division courses that routinely offer writing assignments which fulfill the WRTD requirement with co-registration in BIO 459 are listed below. When considering alternate courses, students should take into consideration the limited enrollment opportunities for biochemistry majors in upper division laboratory courses other than BIO 365 and verify that they have the required pre-or co-requisites. Students considering registering for an approved alternative course are strongly encouraged to discuss this option with the Biochemistry Undergraduate Program Director at or make an appointment with a Division of Undergraduate Biology Advisor using Navigate .

    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

    For more information about SBC courses that fulfill major requirements, click here.


    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 3
    BIO 459 0
    SBC  3
    SBC  3
     Total 16
    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: Wali Karzai

    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