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

Environmental Studies


Environmental studies at Ripon crosses over traditional disciplinary boundaries. To meet the demands of their varying interests, students customize their majors by selecting courses in art, anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, history, mathematics, philosophy, politics and government and sociology.

Many Ripon graduates who majored in environmental studies, biology or a related field have gone on to careers in environmental fields. Among them are the CEO of an environmental consulting firm, an industrial hygiene manager, an environmental lawyer, a professional with the Environmental Protection Agency, and several who are making their careers in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Many environmental studies graduates pursue master’s and Ph.D. degrees.


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. Staff in the Office of Constituent Engagement and Career Services help to match your interests to concrete goals and construct a plan for success, offering support through three stages of career development – planning, exploration and search. 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. 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.


Colleen Byron

Colleen Byron

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

Skip Wittler

George “Skip” Wittler

Professor of Biology, William Harley Barber Distinguished Professor, Chair of Biology Department, Director of Ceresco Conservancy

Paul Jeffries

Paul Jeffries

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Chair of Philosophy Department, Coordinator of First-Year Studies Program

Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace

Professor of Biology, The Patricia and Philip McCullough 1969 Professor in Biology

Soren Hauge

Soren Hauge

John Barlow Murray ’37 and Nellie Weiss Murray ’37 Professor in Economics, Assessment and Accreditation Coordinator


Career Tracks

What can I do with an environmental studies major?

Environmental studies can lead to careers in research, conservation, sustainability and education. It also 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 biology, business, law, and education; and careers as biologists, teachers, park rangers and naturalists.

Recent graduates of our program work for:

  • AmeriCorps
  • Brandon Public Library
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Encap Inc.
  • Hawks Nursery Company Inc.
  • J.R. Thompson Co.
  • Kohler Co.
  • Organizing for America
  • San Joquin County Outdoor Education Program
  • South Central Public Health District
  • Student Conservation Association
  • Ubermind Inc.
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Job titles of recent graduates include:

  • Conservation biologist
  • Habitat restoration manager
  • Environmental/ecology consultant
  • Chemical technician
  • Grants & Development doordinator
  • Field organizer
  • Teacher
  • Naturalist
  • Environmental health specialist
  • Marketing communication specialist
  • Safety manager
  • Park ranger


Off-Campus Study

ACM Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences, & Humanities. Students conduct field studies in Costa Rica during the spring semester. One recent Ripon graduate studied scarlet macaws and has continued her work with these colorful birds after her graduation.

ACM Tanzania: Ecology & Human Origins. Student divide their time between the University of Dar es Salaam and important anthropological and ecological sites in northern Tanzania. From tent camps, students study in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro areas.

Wilderness Field Station Program. Environmentalists gain first-hand experience in one of the United States’ foremost wilderness areas, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The students in this program share their time between the Wilderness Biological Station and study sites in the BWCAW and Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada.

The Washington Semester Program. Administered by American University, this program focuses on environmental policy and environmental law.

Ripon students often participate in the Semester in Environmental Science at the Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Others spend a semester on an open-ocean research cruise with the SEA Semester program in marine and environmental studies.

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