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



The psychobiology major is an interdisciplinary program of study in the behavioral and biological sciences. It is designed for those students who are interested in such fields as animal behavior, behavior genetics, cognitive neuroscience, physiological psychology, psychopharmacogy, neurobiology and developmental psychobiology.

A basic core of required courses will expose the student to the fundamental knowledge and methodological skills peculiar to this broad area of study. Beyond these general requirements, the student may select a course of study which emphasizes either a behavioral or physiological concentration.


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.



J. Timothy Petersik

Professor of Psychology

Kristine Kovack-Lesh

Kristine Kovack-Lesh

Associate Professor of Psychology, Chair of Psychology Department

Mark Kainz

Mark Kainz

Associate Professor of Biology

Memuna Khan

Memuna Khan

Associate Professor of Biology


Career Tracks

What can I do with a psychobiology major?

Psychobiology can lead to careers in medicine, psychology, biology, animal care-taking, research and teaching in university and clinical settings.

Recent graduates have taken many paths, including graduate school programs in physical therapy, neurobiology and clinical psychology; and careers as doctors, counselors, researchers and teachers.

Recent graduates of our program work for:

  • Dolphin Research Center
  • Emory University
  • Facchiano and Associates Optometry
  • IIT Research Institute
  • Minnesota Autism Center
  • Northglenn Optometric Center
  • Rush University
  • San Jose State University
  • San Juan Outfitters
  • St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center
  • The Elephant Sanctuary
  • University Of Chicago
  • University of Minnesota Physicians
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Villard Primary and SpecialtyCare Clinic
  • Yellow Horse LLC

Job titles of recent graduates include:

  • Optometrist
  • Preschool teacher
  • Gymnastics coach
  • Health manager
  • Behavioral therapist/mental health practitioner
  • Counselor, clinical psychiatry
  • Grant and contract administrator for research service department
  • Psychiatric associate
  • Physician assistant
  • Professional horse trainer


Off-Campus Study

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.

Unique Opportunities

Infant Cognition Lab

The Infant Cognition Lab (ICL), which has been in operation under the direction of Dr. Kristine Kovack-Lesh, associate professor of psychology, since 2008, provides significant applied opportunities for students in Ripon's psychology department. Research focuses on mental developmental stages in young infants. Students work in the lab year-round, where they gain valuable hands-on-training in the field of psychology and learn how to effectively communicate a research question to an outside community member. Click here to learn more.

Field Study

Student-faculty field studies on bird behavior, domestic mammal behavior, killer whale behavior and the impact of humans on killer whale activities have been done mainly during the summer for many years.