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Revised Cell & Molecular Biology Degree Description (Academic Year 2011-2012)

The B.S. in Biology:  Concentration in Cell & Molecular Biology degree description has been revised beginning the Fall 2011 – Spring 2012 academic year.

SFSU Bulletin:

Some significant changes with the REVISED CMB degree description


Chem 233 (Organic Chemistry I), formerly Chem 333, is now listed as a lower division course requirement.

The revised CMB degree description retains the two-semester Math requirement.  Math 124 (Elementary Statistics) is no longer an option for meeting one of the two semesters of Math required in the lower division course requirements. 

Options for 2nd semester of Math  

  Previous degree description

  Revised degree description

  MATH 124 Elementary Statistics

  MATH 227 Calculus II

  MATH 228 Calculus III

  CSC 210 Intro to Computer Programming

  BIOL 458 Biometry


  MATH 227 Calculus II


  CSC 210 Intro to Computer Programming

  BIOL 458 Biometry










The upper division requirements consist of 6 REQUIRED courses  (19 units) and 11 units of elective courses (one elective course must include an upper division lab component).  It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you meet with your CMB major advisor to discuss your course plan and have your electives approved PRIOR to enrolling in the courses.  The Group A and B electives no longer apply to the revised CMB major.

The 6 required courses are:

  • BIOL 350        Cell Biology
  • BIOL 351        Experiments in Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 355        Genetics
  • BIOL 357        Molecular Genetics
  • CHEM 335     Organic Chemistry II
  • CHEM 349*   General Biochemistry

*Chem 340 & Chem 341 may be taken in lieu of Chem 349 (depending on your post-graduation plans and career goals.  The Chem 341 units may be used to meet your CMB upper division degree requirements.  Check with your CMB advisor).

The listed upper division electives are (the courses that have a lab component are indicated with a double dagger )

  • BIOL 337 Evolution
  • BIOL 356 Honors Genetics
  • BIOL 380 Comparative Embryology
  • BIOL 382 Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 401 General Microbiology
  • BIOL 420 General Virology
  • BIOL 425 Emerging Diseases
  • BIOL 435 Immunology
  • BIOL 446 Microbial Genomics
  • BIOL 525 Plant Physiology
  • BIOL 630 Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 638 Bioinformatics & Genome Annotation
  • BIOL 640 Cellular Neuroscience
  • BIOL 699 Special Study (not more than 3 units, approved by Major Advisor)
  • CHEM 343 Biochemistry I Laboratory

With Major Advisor approval, you may substitute other upper division Biology courses to meet your elective requirements.  In addition, with Major Advisor approval, you may use other upper division Biology or Chemistry laboratory courses to meet your upper division lab component elective requirement.  You must obtain approval of elective substitutions PRIOR to enrolling in your classes – these substitutions will not be approved retroactively.

You should meet with your Cell & Molecular Biology Advisor to have your electives approved PRIOR to enrolling in the courses if they are not listed here.

Some frequently asked questions:

Which CMB degree description do I use for graduation?

If you have been an undergraduate maintaining continuous attendance at SFSU, your “bulletin rights” for graduation allow you to use your original bulletin (in effect when you first arrived at SFSU or changed your major to the B.S. in Biology, Concentration in Cell & Molecular Biology degree), or to use the bulletin in effect when you graduate.

SFSU Bulletin on “Bulletin Rights”

If you have not maintained continuous attendance, then you must use the degree description in effect during the semester when you graduate. The SFSU Bulletin defines “continuous attendance” as:

“matriculated attendance in at least one semester or two quarters each calendar year.”


The “old” CMB degree description allows Math 124 to be used to meet the 2nd Math requirement, and requires both Chem 340 & 341 for Biochemistry.  The revised CMB degree description does not allow Math 124 and requires the use of Chem 349, General Biochemistry, instead of Chem 340 & 341. 

Can I take Math 124 for my 2nd semester of Math but take Chem 349 to meet the Biochemistry requirement?

No, you cannot “mix & match” the two degree descriptions. As stated in the revised degree description, the student may use the Chem 341 units to meet CMB upper division elective requirements.  It is highly recommended that you meet with your CMB advisor to discuss your options and develop your final course plan to complete your degree.


The revised CMB degree description allows Biol 699 Special Study in Biology to be used to meet the upper division lab elective requirement.  How many units can I use for my major?

There is a limit of 3 units of Biol 699 for meeting the elective requirement.  In addition, both the Biol 699 research supervisor and the CMB Major Advisor must approve the use of the Biol 699 research experience for the elective requirement, before the student enrolls in Biol 699.