This interdisciplinary program is designed for students interested in the health sciences, molecular and cell biology, environmental disciplines such as toxicology, and any other field in which a good preparation in both chemistry and biology is needed.

Majors take a basic core of courses in science and math, and a course of study that emphasizes either a molecular-biochemical or an environmental concentration.

Latest News

Abbigail Grieger ’22, Sierra Thein ’22, Patrick Willoughby

Patrick Willoughby, two alumni contribute to published paper

Associate Professor of Chemistry Patrick Willoughby has a paper published by ACS Publications. Two of the student co-authors are Ripon College alumnae: Sierra Thein ’22 […]

Roger Gertenrich ’56 noted for his work to preserve Portland’s maritime history

Volunteer work by Roger Gertenrich ’56 of Portland, Oregon, was highlighted Wednesday, Nov. 10, in the Portland Tribune in advance of Veterans Day. “Korean vet […]

Two students earn TriBeta Research Grant awards

Stephanie Boahen ’21 of Accra, Ghana, and Brianna Bembenek ’22 of Campbellsport, Wisconsin, each earned a 2020-2021 TriBeta Research Grant from Beta, Beta, Beta, the […]


Colleen Byron

Byron, Colleen

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

Mark Kainz

Kainz, Mark

Professor of Biology, Associate Dean for the Catalyst Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator, Patricia and Philip McCullough Class of 1969 Professor in Biology

Barbara Sisson

Sisson, Barbara

Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of Health Professions Advising Committee

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. Our collaboration with Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Likewise, Mentors in the Franzen Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon


Core requirements for a major in chemistry-biology: The basic core of required courses includes BIO 121; CHM 111, 112 and 211; PHY 171 and 172; MTH 201 or higher level calculus; and BIO 501 and 502 or CHM 501 and 502. A senior thesis is required. For students electing to take BIO 501 and 502, MTH 120 or PSC 211 and BIO 200 or PSC 211-212 are prerequisites. For students electing to take CHM 501 and 502, one writing prerequisite course is required from among the following BIO 200, PSC 212, CHM 333, 334, 342, or 414, or another course approved by the instructor.

Molecular-biochemical emphasis: BIO 219 and three courses in biology selected from the following: BIO 211, 216, 226, 312, 314, 327, 328 and 329. Two of the following courses: CHM 214, 321, and 333 or 334. Students who plan to attend graduate school in biochemistry are advised to take both CHM 333 and 334, and CHM 422.

Environmental emphasis: ENV 120; BIO 247 and two additional courses in
biology including one of the following: BIO 314, 337, 338, 339 and 450. Two of the
following courses: CHM 214, 321, and 333 or 334.

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.