2023-2024 College Catalog

Biochemistry, Bachelor of Science

Program Coordinator:

Andrew J. Piefer (Chemistry)


Andrew J. Piefer






Biochemistry, the interface between chemistry and biology, is concerned with the chemistry of biological reactions, and the regulation of these reactions. This rapidly growing field of study includes the investigation of chemical changes in disease, drug action, and other aspects of medicine as well as in nutrition, genetics and agriculture. The work being done in biochemistry in terms of medical, pharmaceutical and genetic engineering research will have increasing impact on our society. It is imperative, therefore, that people involved in research and businesses in these areas not only are capable scientists, but also are educated to deal with moral and ethical questions arising from the advance of biochemical knowledge.

The study of biochemistry as part of a liberal arts and sciences education fosters the development of the broad perspective and analytical abilities necessary to deal with such questions. Biochemistry functions under the direction of the departments of biology and chemistry, and students seeking additional information should contact the chair of either department. Requirements for a major in biochemistry include courses in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry as well as auxiliary courses in mathematics and physics. A required senior research project involves laboratory and library work, interpretation of data, and oral and written reports of the results. In addition to the independent research required for their senior project, biochemistry majors often assist with faculty research or do collaborative research with a professor.

Biochemical advances in the knowledge of the action of natural hormones and antibiotics promise to aid in the further development of pharmaceuticals. In addition, discoveries resulting from biochemical research, including work being done in medical, pharmaceutical and genetic engineering, continue to open up new frontiers. Hartwick’s major in biochemistry offers excellent preparation for entry-level positions in biochemistry research or graduate work in the field. Students interested in attending medical school also obtain an exceptionally good science background through a major in biochemistry.