Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus
SFSU Chem/Biochem Department

Department Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is to educate SFSU students in the essential principles and practices of chemistry and biochemistry, and to inspire our students to reach their personal and professional goals as they become the next generation of scientists, scientific professionals and scientifically-literate individuals.

We are committed to providing access to scientific careers to students from all backgrounds.   Instructors in our Department use a variety of classroom, guided inquiry and hands-on laboratory experiences to create a comprehensive approach to science education, supporting students as they gain the knowledge, proficiency, skills and confidence to be productive in a variety of chemistry, biochemistry and related careers.  The faculty in our department are research-active and engage in the discovery of new knowledge.  Our students have the opportunity to work alongside faculty on independent research projects to contribute to the discovery and communication of that knowledge. 

We strive in all interactions between faculty, lecturers, students and staff to promote our core values:  scholarship, critical thinking, open-mindedness, independence, scientific curiosity, ethics, collaboration, and diversity.  Recognizing that our students are driven by a desire to help solve the many problems facing the world and to give back to their communities, we empower our students to engage as successful citizens in ethical applications of scientific skills and knowledge for the benefit of society.

Department Overview

Welcome to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SFSU!
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers an outstanding educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students.  Our mission is to educate and train the next generation of chemists and biochemists.  The department offers three undergraduate degrees and two Master's degrees.  We have approximately 400 majors in our BA Chemistry, BS Chemistry and BS Biochemistry programs, and 40 students in our MS Chemistry and MS Chemistry concentration in Biochemistry programs.  We also have approximately 200 pre-major students working towards meeting the lower division requirements to declare the major.  Students from our programs get jobs as research scientists at local biotech companies, go to graduate school to get MS and PhD degrees, and go to medical, pharmacy and other health professional schools.
The department has nineteen tenured/tenure-track faculty who are dedicated to engaging our students in both the teaching and research environment.  Department faculty are active in a variety of research areas including biochemistry and biophysical chemistry, bioorganic chemistry and drug discovery, environmental chemistry, materials chemistry, molecular modeling and computational chemistry.  Both undergraduate and graduate students participate in research projects under the mentorship of faculty.  These research projects have resulted in twenty-five publications with SFSU student co-authors in high impact journals from 2012-2014.  Students interested in becoming involved in research should review faculty research interests and contact faculty to discuss opportunities.  The department and college have a number of state of the art instruments and facilities that are available for both research and teaching projects.
The department hosts a weekly seminar series with speakers from universities, national labs and industry to talk about current and cutting edge research.  Our students present their own research at national and international scientific conferences including those of the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Geophysical Union, the Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native American Scientists, the Materials Research Society and the Biophysical Society.   Students also present their research at local and regional scientific meetings, such as the annual College of Science and Engineering Student Project Showcase.   Students are active in student chapters of the ACS, the ASBMB and SACNAS, and participate in local science education outreach programs such as the ACS Family Science Night and the Bay Area Science Festival.