Political Science students are inducted into the timeless debates of politics while also becoming conversant with the actual functioning of the political systems of the United States and countries around the world. The program focuses on all aspects of political life, ranging from how nations deal with each other in crisis situations to how the daily decisions made by legislators affect ordinary people in their everyday lives.

Both American and non-American political systems are studied, with the aim of preparing students to be citizens in an increasingly global society.

Ripon is unique in the emphasis on experiential learning, particularly in allowing students to be involved in panel discussions to debate current events and to engage with many political speakers on campus throughout the school year. The Center for Politics and the People, International Relations Club and several student-led political organizations host an exceptional number of engaging speakers and panelists each year. Courses emphasize hands-on learning such as a congressional and presidential simulation, international crisis simulation, and role-playing exercises.

Latest News

Katherine Cramer

Wisconsin-based political researcher to discuss ‘politics of resentment’ Feb. 9

“The Politics of Resentment: Seven Years Later,” a discussion with University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Katherine Cramer, will be presented Thursday, Feb. 9, at […]

John P. Harden

John P. Harden featured in two published articles

John P. Harden, assistant professor of political science, was quoted in two recent articles. “How Can We Predict a Nuclear War?” ran in Newsweek. He […]

Clockwise from top left: Emilee Fannon, Jessie Opoien, Charlie Sykes

Election results, outlook for 2023 to be discussed by panel Nov. 17

“After the Election: Now What?”, a panel discussion, will be presented Nov. 17 at Ripon College. The presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Kresge […]


John P. Harden

Harden, John P.

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Henrik Schatzinger

Schatzinger, Henrik

Professor of Political Science, Chair of Political Science Department


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


Requirements for a major in Political Science: POL 110, 220; one of the following: POL 111, 112 or 280; four elective courses (up to two of the electives may be pre-approved courses in other departments or in off-campus programs such as the Washington Semester program); POL 501 and 502.

Requirements for a minor in Political Science: POL 110 and 220; 12 additional credits of which 4 credits must be 300-level or higher. Students considering American Government and Politics for graduate school also should take a social sciences statistics course. Students considering a career in international relations should take POL 280.

Requirements for a teaching major in Political Science: POL 110, 220, 280, 231 or 324, 335, 381, 501-502; and HIS 401. Requirements for a teaching minor in politics and government: POL 110, 220, 280, 335 or 341; HIS 401; and other courses agreed upon by student and advisor to total 22 hours, excluding HIS 401

Career Tracks

Graduates enter graduate school programs in international affairs, law, national security, public administration, political science, business and communication.

Others obtain employment in government, international relations, business and legal fields, such as youth market coordinator, director of marketing, ecommerce strategist, pricing analyst, campaign staff member, grants and development coordinator, national director, attorney, political researcher, development associate for major and planned giving, legislative analyst, chief of staff, policy advisor, U.S. sales manager, television producer and branch operations assistant.

Unique Opportunities

  • Connections to legislative staff, administration, lobbyists and judges, which are helpful for internships
  • An unusual number of students who present their own research at regional and national conferences
  • A newly established fellowship program by the Center for Politics and the People awards scholarships to some students who accept unpaid internships in local, state and national government agencies, in political offices and campaigns, and in nonprofit organizations dealing with public policy issues
  • Through the Department of Educational Studies, certification in political science is available in early adolescence/adolescence (grades 6-12).
  • We strongly stress research and writing throughout our curriculum, and we are unique in the emphasis we give to integrating the study of methodology (how information about politics is gathered and analyzed) with the study of specific areas of politics.