Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Undergraduate Advising

Congratulations on choosing a career path in Chemistry or Biochemistry at SFSU! We would like to welcome you to a great future in the sciences and let you know of some requirements and resources for undergraduates. All new transfer students and freshmen pre-majors are encouraged to meet with an advisor during the first semester of attendance.  At these meetings, advisors will help you plan out a semester-by-semester schedule of classes to meet graduation requirements.  Transfer students should bring their unofficial transcript from their transfer institutions so that course equivalencies can be verified. 

Degree Plans

Please consult one of the following documents for information about the courses required for your degree and the suggested sequence of courses over four years. 

Drop-In Undergraduate Advising

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor to discuss any questions related to their major, planned schedule, upper division electives, undergraduate research, graduation requirements, and career opportunities. One-on-one advising is mandatory for new and transfer students, probationary students, and students enrolled in specific "trigger" courses (see info below). Walk-in advising is available but an appointment is recommended if your situation is complicated or will require significant time for discussion. Contact information for the faculty advisors and their office hours are listed below. For advising during the winter and summer intersessions, please contact the Department Office (TH 808, 415-338-1288,

Advisor Contact Information

Advisor Office Phone Email Office Hours
Dr. Simonis TH 111A 415-338-1656


Mon 4:45-6pm
Tues: 5-6:15pm
Dr. Gassner TH 731 415-338-1366


Weds 12-2pm
Dr. Palmer TH 730 415-338-7717


Mon 8-11am
Dr. Runquist SCI 214
Email Preferred


Mon 12:30-2pm

Mandatory Advising -  Check in and tune up your path to graduation

All chemistry and biochemistry majors and pre-majors will be required to meet with an advisor when they are enrolled in CHEM 115, CHEM 335, CHEM 321 and CHEM 300 or CHEM 351.  Majors and premajors enrolled in these courses will have department advising holds placed on registration for the following semester.  To clear this hold, students must meet with a department advisor to check their progress towards graduation.  The goal of the mandatory progress check is to make sure you are on the right path to graduation. Be sure to bring a copy of your unofficial transcript, your degree progress report and your plan for the classes you want to take for the next two semester.

Advising Guide for New Transfer Students -  Planning for the Fall Semester

Use the Advising Guide for New Transfer Students (see here) to check off the courses you have completed at your transfer institute and determine which courses you should plan to take in the Fall semester.  Check the transfer credit report in your student center.  If you do not see courses from your transfer institution listed there, you may be blocked from registering for some courses.  Use the Course Equivalency for New Transfer Students Guide (see here) and follow the instructions to get cleared to register for courses.  During the summer, contact with any questions about classes to take in the Fall.  During the academic year, see one of the four department advisors.

Advising Guide for Freshman Premajors - Planning for the Fall Semester

Use the Advising Guide for Freshman Premajors Guide (see  here) guide for general information about our degrees, recommended majors courses to take during the fall semester, and information about being a premajor.  Contact during the summer with any questions about the Fall semester.   See an advisor during your first semester to plan your courses going forward and learn how to declare the major.

Applying for Graduation

Congratulations on getting to your final semester and being close to finishing your degree! We have provided some information below which details the steps you need to complete to get your graduation application.
The process described below pertains to requirements for your major. If you have questions or still have not met the requirements for General Education (GE) coursework, please contact an advisor at the Undergraduate Advising Center (here) in ADM room 211.
  1. The deadline for submitting a graduation application is typically the last Friday in September for graduating at the end of the Fall semester and the third Friday in February for graduating at the end of the Spring semester. Graduation applications can be turned in after these deadlines but a $5 late fee will be applied. Note that a graduation application requires review and approval from both a Department Advisor and the Chair, so please plan accordingly.
  2. General instructions on graduation are provided on the SFSU Registrar Website (here). Click on the "Graduation/Diplomas" link to review information on deadlines, fees, and participating in commencement.
  3. A graduation application can be obtained through the SFSU Student Center. Click on the "Academics" tab then select the "Apply for Graduation" link. You must first complete an exit survey before you can access this form.
  4. Carefully review and follow the instructions on the graduation application form and fill in the required information as neatly as possible to expedite the review and approval process. To complete the application, you will need hardcopies of degree progress report (DPR), your unofficial SFSU transcript, and other documents that show the grades you received in classes you are using for the major (i.e., unofficial transcripts from community colleges, your transfer credit report, course equivalency forms).
  5. At the top of the DPR, you will see your current major and the requirement (catalog) term. This is your bulletin year for your declared major. If the major listed is correct, go to the SFSU Bulletin for your bulletin year and look up the requirements for your major. If the major listed is not the major you are applying for, go to the SFSU Bulletin for the current year and look up the requirements for your major. You are allowed to graduate either by meeting the requirements for your declared major in your bulletin year or the current year. If you are graduating with a major you have not declared, you must use the current bulletin year.
  6. Once you have the SFSU Bulletin's degree requirements for your major, list the courses required for the major on your graduation application in the same order as listed in the Bulletin.
    1. List AP exams in place of required courses as appropriate.
    2. If you took the course at SFSU, list the SFSU course number, title, term you took the course, and your grade.
    3. If you took the course at a community college, list the community college course number, title, where you took the course, term you took the course, and your grade. Include courses required for the major in which you are currently enrolled and denoted these as IP ("in progress").
    4. If you are submitting your graduation application in the spring and intending to graduate in the summer, list any courses you plan to take in summer to complete the degree.
    5. Do not include courses that you had to repeat or additional courses above and beyond those required for the major, as this can either delay verification or result in possible denial of your graduation application.
  7. Take your graduation application and hard copies of your supporting documents to a Department Advisor (contact info here or call 415-338-1288) for the first stage of review and approval.
  8. Complete the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry exit survey (here).  This will help us learn more about your path to the degree, what we are doing well, where we can improve, and what your plans are after graduation. When you have completed this survey, print out the certificate of completion, and attach it to your graduation application package.
  9. Drop off your graduation application package at the Department office (Thornton Hall room 806) for the second stage of review and approval by the Chair. You can usually pick up your signed graduation application within 1-2 business days.
  10. Turn in your graduation application package to the Bursar's Office (located in first floor lobby of the Administration Building) and pay the graduation application fee.