Politics and Government 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

Judith Heumann

Acclaimed disability rights expert to speak via Zoom at Ripon College Nov. 10

Internationally recognized disability advocate Judith Heumann will be a special guest Nov. 10 for Ripon College’s Center for Politics and the People. Her talk, “Judy […]

Panel for CPP redistricting event

‘Redistricting and its Impact on Voting’ focus of webinar Nov. 3

“Redistricting and its Impact on Voting” will be a ZOOM webinar presented Wednesday, Nov. 3, by the Center for Politics and the People of Ripon […]

Danny Hayes, left, and Jennifer Lawless

Connection between local news, political engagement to be discussed Oct. 13

Authors of the book News Hole: The Demise of Local Journalism and Political Engagement will speak Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Ripon College. The free talk […]


Lamont Colucci

Colucci, Lamont

Professor of Politics and Government

[email protected]

Henrik Schatzinger

Schatzinger, Henrik

Associate Professor of Politics and Government, Chair of Politics and Government Department

[email protected]

Brian Smith

Smith, Brian

Professor of Religion Emeritus

[email protected]


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

Off-Campus Study

Studying off-campus, whether internationally or domestically in the United States, is an experience bound to change your view of the world. In general, full-time students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for admission to off-campus programs.

Learn more about Off-Campus Study


Requirements for a major in Politics and Government: 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 politics and government: 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 Politics and Government: 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.