Academics | Anthropology

Anthropology Department

Ripon College offers a major and minor in Anthropology.

As a student of Anthropology at Ripon College you will work closely with faculty and fellow students pursuing a variety of research, scholarship and service interests. You will be challenged to seek the essence of what it is to be human by examining our similarities and differences with other primates, our buried archaeological past, our current ways of doing things, and the human predilection to use symbols in talking, writing and the arts.

The department introduces students to the discipline through

ethnographic material, the use of interpretive theory, and individual and collaborative research pursuits. Students are encouraged to construct individual programs in such areas as archaeology; human evolution; and biological, cultural, linguistic, and psychological anthropology.

Classes promote independent thinking and discussion, and students often work alongside faculty members on research projects both here and abroad. Upcoming travel opportunities with faculty members include an In Focus trip to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, and a semester in Tanzania focused on Ecology and Human Origins.



Emily Stovel

Emily Margaretten




Ripon College encourages all students to embrace a Four-Year Career Development Plan. This plan is based on the premise that career planning is a development process that involves learning and decision-making over an extended period of time.

First Year

  • Incoming students are assigned a Faculty Mentor based on their interest area(s). Please see the FACULTY tab under your major area;
  • All Freshman are required to enroll in a First-Year Seminar, which is designed as a transition from high school to college learning, providing an interdisciplinary introduction to the liberal arts and the pursuit of in-depth study;
  • Freshman are encouraged to meet the career development staff early on and complete interest and skills inventories, and self-assessment tools; and,
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks.

Third Year

  • Assume leadership positions in on-campus clubs and organizations;
  • Participate in mock interviews with the Career Development Office;
  • Attend the Wisconsin Foundation of Independent Colleges Job Fair in February and other relevant career fairs;
  • If relevant, begin to research potential graduate school programs and take the appropriate entrance exam(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Continue to build a solid network and a list of work references, and build your resume;
  • Consider off-campus study: Semester and/or alternative Spring Breaks;
  • Continue to job shadow; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Second Year

  • Get involved with on-campus clubs and organizations, athletic teams and/or intramural sports;
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks;
  • Declare a major;
  • Meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor or match your interests with a faculty member in your major department. Determine which professors have areas of expertise most similar to your interests. Talk to people in the academic department to find out about faculty research, scholarly, and creative interests;
  • Attend on-campus career workshops;
  • Work with the Career Development Office to create an approved resume;
  • Job shadow people involved in various careers and professions of interest; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Fourth Year

  • Complete a Senior Capstone/Thesis in your major area(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Perfect your interviewing skills;
  • Expand your existing network of contacts;
  • Finalize your resume and prepare cover letter;
  • Build a credential file in the Career Development Office;
  • Interview with on-campus recruiters;
  • Set-up informational interviews with target companies;
  • If relevant, apply to graduate school programs, and if necessary, re-take entrance exams; and,
  • Practice career goal-setting.


What can I do with an Anthropology major?

Anthropology can lead to careers in research and teaching in university and museum settings. More often it provides a background for further work in other disciplines of the social sciences, humanities, and biological sciences, as well as for professional careers in government, business, law, medicine, social services, and other fields.

Recent graduates have taken many paths, including graduate school programs in archaeology, cultural anthropology, public policy, public health, Native American studies, and museum studies; and careers as museum curators, social workers, university professors, and public school teachers.

Recent graduates of our program work for…

  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety
  • AmeriCorps
  • Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare
  • Fox Valley Autism Treatment Program
  • Minnesota Autism Center
  • The Nielsen Company
  • Wisconsin Historical Society
  • Illinois Judicial System
  • St. Norbert College

Job titles of recent graduates include…

  • Archaeologist
  • Case Manager
  • Legislative Analyst
  • Marketing Analyst
  • Police Officer
  • Supervisor
  • Adjunct Faculty
  • Corps Team Member
  • Grant Manager

Off-Campus Study

Ripon College’s anthropology faculty encourage their students to acquire experience in other cultures through participation in off-campus study. The College offers study abroad semesters in countries around the world, Maymester study-and-travel experiences to such destinations as Peru and Chile, and an upcoming semester in Tanzania led by Ripon anthropology professor Molly Margaretten.

Ripon is one of the nation’s rare colleges to offer continuing archaeological field work opportunities as part of regularly held classes. Locally, faculty members and students carry out excavations at prehistoric and historic sites. Fieldwork opportunities abroad also are available through our Maymester program and off-campus study programs.

During Maymester in 2010, anthropology major Betsy Fontaine traveled with Professor William Whitehead and fellow students to the Moquegua region in southern Peru, where she worked in a museum organizing plant materials from the pre-Inca Tiwanaku and Wari cultures. Betsy also had the opportunity to spend a semester in London, England, and in Florence, Italy.