Modern biochemistry explores life processes at the molecular level and connects experimental data to the bioinformatics space. The biochemistry major presents the theory, concepts and laboratory experiences of biochemistry in an intimate environment that allows for the personal professional development of students through both individual and team-based approaches. The department’s program is framed within the liberal arts model where we consider multiple perspectives to enhance our understanding of phenomena. Throughout the biochemistry curriculum, students advance in their problem-solving, critical thinking, laboratory safety, communication, and ethical skills and become prepared for careers as productive scientists and for lives as responsible citizens.

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Colleen Byron

Byron, Colleen

Professor of Chemistry, L. Leone Oyster 1919 Chair in Chemistry

Mark Kainz

Kainz, Mark

Professor of Biology, Patricia and Philip McCullough Class of 1969 Professor in Biology

Barbara Sisson

Sisson, Barbara

Associate Professor of Biology

Patrick Willoughby

Willoughby, Patrick

Associate Professor of Chemistry


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers.

Advising at Ripon


Requirements for a Major in Biochemistry
Core Courses
  • CHM 111 Organic Chemistry I, 112 Structure and Reactivity, 211 Analytical Chemistry: Equilibrium and Quantitative Analysis, 214 Organic Chemistry II, 321 Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry, 334 Physical Chemistry: Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics, 422 Biochemistry; and BIO 266 Cell and Molecular Biology;
  • Three semesters of BIO 501 and one semester of 502 Senior Studies;
  • Two courses from the following: BIO 219 Genetics, BIO 314 Microbiology, BIO 329 Developmental Biology, or CHM 414 Chemical Instrumentation; and
  • Two semesters of physics (PHY 131 General Physics: Mechanics and 151 Introductory to Physics: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves or 172 General Physics II: Modern Physics, Optics and Thermodynamics)
  • One semester of MTH 201 Calculus I or a higher calculus course are prerequisites for CHM 334 Physical Chemistry: Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics.
  • BIO 123 Molecules, Cells and Genes is a prerequisite for BIO 266 Cell and Molecular Biology, and BIO 122 Ecology, Evolution and Diversity is a pre- or corequisite for BIO 219 Genetics.
  • CHM 111 Organic Chemistry I, 112 Structure and Reactivity, 211 Analytical Chemistry: Equilibrium and Quantitative Analysis and 214 Organic Chemistry II constitute an introductory core and should be taken in sequence.
Additional Criteria Students majoring in Biochemistry cannot also earn a major or a minor in Biology, Chemistry, or Biomedical Science.

Majors must complete a research project which culminates in a substantial written thesis. Except in unusual circumstances, an experimental project is required. This thesis project can be initiated after the student’s exposure to the introductory core, but must be essentially complete at the end of the fall semester of the senior year. A directed summer research project, either at Ripon, on another campus, or in an industrial laboratory, also could provide the basis for an acceptable thesis. It is expected that the project will be the equivalent of a minimum of four semester hours of credit.

Students planning to pursue graduate work should select advanced courses and independent study based on their post-graduation interests and also should seriously consider the potential value of advanced mathematics, advanced physics, and additional advanced biology courses. Students should discuss the possibilities with members of the department before registration.

Career Tracks

An undergraduate degree in chemistry-biology can lead to careers in medicine, chemistry, veterinary science, nursing, pharmacology, business, teaching and environmental protection.

Many chemistry-biology graduates become doctors, nurses, pharmacists, environmental scientists, college and university professors, elementary or secondary teachers, corporate or academic researchers, and lawyers.

Alumni of our program are enrolled in a variety of graduate-level programs at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities, including the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, the Wisconsin School of Medicine, Duke University, Yale University and Georgetown University.

Unique Opportunities

  • Prerequisites for most medical professional programs are included as basic requirements for the chemistry-biology major
  • Essential, sophisticated instrumentation is available to carry out experiments and research across organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry and in genetics, developmental biology, environmental biology, zoology and molecular biology.
  • The Oak Ridge Science Semester enables students to join ongoing investigations at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee in research areas as diverse as astrophysics, cell biology, DNA sequencing, genetic mutagenesis, parallel computing, robotics, toxicology and more.