Have you ever wanted to work in government? The diplomatic corps? The private security industry? America’s intelligence agencies? Ripon College is one of the only liberal arts and sciences colleges in the United States to offer a minor in what is arguably the topic most relevant to those students interested in any of those possibilities.

National security is far more than simply being aware of foreign threats to America’s security. The National Securities Minor provides a focused study of national security issues such as security policy, intelligence, energy security policy, economic-trade security issues, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and politico-military affairs.

The minor demands a serious, intellectual look at difficult, profound issues. It reflects the need for experts from all persuasions and all schools of thought. Each student is allowed the opportunity to build his or her own path, regardless of department or major.

The minor is an ideal starting point for a student is interested in a career in the State Department, CIA or any other branch of the government. For those interested in a career in public office, the minor can provide a background and resource for information while campaigning. For those who are just aware of the fact that international affairs, national security, and foreign policy are vitally important for any global citizen and wishes to be informed, the minor supplies an excellent amount of information which can be used to further a student’s lifelong passion for learning and understanding.

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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


22 credits chosen from courses listed below (12 credits required, two credits of capstone thesis and eight credits elective). The two credits of capstone thesis will be in a topic concerning contemporary national security conducted in an appropriate department such as politics and government, philosophy, religion, history or economics. This project normally will consist of a 20- to 25-page paper and a 20-minute oral presentation approved by the national security studies advisor. Students electing a major in politics and government may count no more than eight credits hours from the Department of Politics and Government toward a national security studies minor. Politics majors must take Religion 321.

Career Tracks

An undergraduate focus on National Security Studies rapidly paves the way for graduate programs and careers in law, political science, and international affairs. Alumni of our program are enrolled in a variety of graduate-level programs at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, Institute for World Politics, and Texas A&M University and the London School of Economics.

Unique Opportunities

  • In an independent study about contemporary issues, students are expected to produce a professional-level research presentation and briefing by the end of their study in the minor.
  • Off-campus study opportunities include the Washington Semester at American University in Washington, D.C., which can include interning at prestigious organizations in Washington, D.C., meeting top decision-makers and renowned guest speakers, choosing from a number of different academic specializations, attending classes with students from around the world, and conducting research.


Ripon College students involved with the program have interned with a variety of organizations such as the Department of State, Homeland Security, the Heritage Foundation and the Henry Jackson Society.

Their post-graduate focus areas have included: political management, security studies, law school, international affairs, and communication.