• Overview
  • Faculty
  • Requirements
  • Advising
  • Career Tracks
  • Off-Campus Study



Ripon College offers an American Chemical Society approved program that is distinctive in that Organic Chemistry is the initial course. In addition to a Chemistry major, Ripon College also offers a Chemistry-Biology major and a Physical Science major, both interdisciplinary tracts serving broad interests. Chemistry courses at Ripon College also serve as substantial preparation for a variety of pre-professional programs including medical school, dental school, veterinary school, optometry, nursing and a variety of other allied health fields and law school.

Chemistry majors at Ripon College typically enter Ph.D. programs after graduation where tuition fees are waived and a substantial stipend is provided. Chemistry graduates are exceptionally prepared for graduate school, professional school or immediate employment after four years at Ripon College because of our emphasis on laboratory rich experiences that include both individual and team responsibilities. Faculty work individually with each student to develop laboratory and theoretical skills as well as recommend individual career enhancing experiences and advise individual career plans. Communication skills are developed throughout the Ripon College Chemistry curriculum using oral and written presentation frameworks that provide immediate feedback and demand increasing sophistication.

A variety of state-of-the-art instrumentation (including a liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer (LC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)) is housed in the Chemistry Department and is for student use at all levels. Students have ready access to essential, sophisticated instrumentation to carry out experiments and research across the gamut of organic, inorganic, analytic and physical chemistry.

The Ripon College Chemistry Department offers a one credit seminar course open to everyone that includes visits from world renowned researchers, visits from alumni from across the career spectrum, student research seminars, science outreach experiences and student-faculty field trips.

Many of our chemistry graduates become doctors, dentists, college and university professors, or elementary or secondary teachers. Some go into corporate or government research. Our graduates include top-level executives, plant managers, sales managers and lawyers.

Program Spotlight


Colleen Byron

Colleen Byron

Professor of Chemistry, Chair of Chemistry Department, L. Leone Oyster '19 Chair in Chemistry

[email protected]
Dean Katahira

Dean Katahira

Professor of Chemistry

[email protected]
Joseph Scanlon

Joseph Scanlon

Associate Professor of Chemistry

[email protected]
Patrick Willoughby

Patrick Willoughby

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

[email protected]


Requirements for a major in chemistry: CHM 111, 112, 211, 214, 321, 333, 334, 342, three semesters of 501 and one semester of 502, two semesters of physics (171 and 172), plus two semesters of calculus (MTH 201 and 202) or a higher calculus course. CHM 111, 112, 211 and 214 constitute an introductory core and should be taken in sequence.Majors must complete a research project which culminates in a substantial written thesis. Except in unusual circumstances, an experimental project is required. This thesis project can be initiated after the student’s exposure to the introductory core, but must be essentially complete at the end of the fall semester of the senior year. A directed summer research project, either at Ripon, on another campus, or in an industrial laboratory, also could provide the basis for an acceptable thesis. It is expected that the project will be the equivalent of a minimum of four semester hours of credit.

The major described above, with the addition of CHM 422 and two of the following: 310, 413, 414, 415 or a 3-4 credit 500-level Departmental Studies course, satisfies the minimum standard for a professional degree in chemistry certified by the American Chemical Society. Students planning on obtaining an American Chemical Society degree need to register 400 laboratory hours in courses at the 200-level and higher. Thesis research can be included in this requirement. Students planning to pursue graduate work should select advanced courses and independent study based on their post-graduation interests and also should consider seriously the potential value of linear algebra, differential equations, and advanced calculus. Students should discuss the possibilities with members of the department before registration.Laboratory periods for CHM 100 are two hours per week. All other laboratories are three to four hours, unless otherwise noted.

Requirements for a minor in chemistry: CHM 111, 112, 211, 214, and one course from CHM 321, 333, 334, 414 or 422.

Requirements for a teaching major in chemistry: CHM 111, 112, 211, 214, 321, 333, 334, 342, 401, 501 (two credits); PHY 171 and 172; MTH 201 and 202; and ENV 120.

Requirements for a teaching minor in chemistry: CHM 111, 112, 211, 214, and 401; either CHM 321, 333, or 334; and MTH 201 and 202.


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 Collaborative Learning 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.

Career Tracks

An undergraduate degree in chemistry can lead to a career in agricultural chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, geochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, materials science, physical chemistry, education, polymer chemistry, healthcare and other sales and communication fields.

Alumni of our program are enrolled in a variety of graduate-level programs at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities, including: Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Northwestern University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Irvine, University of Oregon, Purdue University, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

Recent graduates of our program work for:

  • 3M
  • Kimberly Clark
  • Dow Chemical
  • AkzoNobel Global
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Seattle Genetics
  • Sigma-Aldrich
  • AstraZeneca
  • Nature’s Path Food Company
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Villanova University
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • Ernst & Young

Job titles of recent graduates include:

  • Principal Research Investigator
  • Wheat Geneticist
  • Physical Chemistry Professor
  • Experience Manager
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Environmental Health Specialist
  • Radiation Oncologist
  • Project Manager
  • Senior Scientist
  • Vaccine Researcher
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Pharmacist
  • Analytical Chemist
  • Post-doctoral Researcher
  • Research Assistant

Chemistry Alumni Spotlight

Matt Paquette ’12 says, “Starting in sophomore-level chemistry at Ripon, you are doing independent research, handling all the instrumentation, and actually learning to be a chemist.” That experience led to two significant research projects while he was still a Ripon undergrad. He spent one summer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State, working on algae biofuels research. He spent another summer at the University of Massachusetts working on nano-wires for solar voltaic cells. These projects were funded by Boeing and by the National Science Foundation. He also spent a semester in Alicante, Spain, where he took classes in chemistry and politics in Spanish. In his “spare time,” he played saxophone and piano with the Ripon College Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

He plans on earning a Ph.D. at Northwestern University on his way to a career as a researcher in alternative and renewable energy.

Off-Campus Study

A substantial number of Ripon College chemistry students participate in study and research programs at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee; the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; and the University of Swansea, Wales.

Oak Ridge National Labratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Whether you choose a program that is international or domestic, it is an experience bound to change your view of the world. Click to learn more about Off- Campus Study and Liberal Arts In Focus at Ripon College.

Financial aid continues for students who choose to participate in an approved study-abroad program, minimizing additional expenses.