steve martin

Academics | Communication


Ripon College offers a major and minor in communication, and a unique minor in communication and civic advocacy.

The study of communication at Ripon is a thoughtful balance of theory and practice, designed to deepen your understanding of the field and also to refine your ability to apply theories of communication to real-world situations.

You will likely enter the department in skills-development courses such as public speaking or debate. As a sophomore, you will begin your three-year exploration of advanced theory and history of communication.

Junior year, you will pursue advanced applications of communication via actual community-based projects and formal internships.

During your senior year, you will move into leadership roles in practical experiences. For example, you might serve as project leader for younger students or work alongside a professor as a teaching mentor in a 100- or 200-level class.



Adam Jacobi

Steve Martin



Unique Opportunities


Conferences and Conventions

Ripon College Communication majors regularly present their own original research at state, regional and national conventions in the field of communication. These conferences provide you with tangible, professional public speaking experience and networking opportunities.

Alumni Seminar Series

Communication alumni regularly return to campus to discuss career options and offer advice to current students. These events are more than just informative — they provide you with entry into the network of Ripon Communication alumni who want to help you succeed in meeting your goals.

Applied Communication

Because we believe theory and practice must go hand-in-hand for students to learn, we cultivate a variety of opportunities, both on- and off-campus, for you to gain practical experience. Through community action project-learning, any communication major in good standing in the department has multiple opportunities during the junior and senior years to learn at an advanced level by working in the field of communication on behalf of non-profit organizations.


Communication majors are strongly encouraged to arrange an internship during the junior or senior year. In recent years, Ripon communication majors have interned with major advertising firms such as Bozell-Salvati, with television networks (NBC and CBS), with the U.S. government and with a variety of corporations in the Midwest.


Our Graduates

On average, communication majors complete three internships. More than 80 percent of graduates from Ripon’s Communication Department are placed in their career of choice before graduation (90 percent within six months of graduation), and 100 percent of our alumni pursuing graduate education in communication have received full-ride scholarships.



Career Tracks

Communication is a broad degree that can lead to job opportunities in many different fields, including but not limited to: government, business, public relations, advertising, media and entertainment, nonprofit, law, and higher education.

Communication is good preparation for graduate school in many disciplines including communication, law, education, business, and public administration, among others. Recent alumni are enrolled in graduate-level programs at Marquette University, Colorado State University, Pennsylvania State University, Newcastle University, Texas A&M University, University of Georgia, University of Utah, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Recent graduates of our program work for…

  • U.S. Presidential Campaigns
  • Bravo Media
  • Hilton Hotels Corp.
  • Boelter & Lincoln Advertising
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Public Radio
  • Organizing for America
  • University of Maine
  • United Nations
  • Visonex
  • Colorado State University
  • University of Georgia

Job titles of recent graduates include…

  • Associate Producer
  • Consulting Analyst
  • Press Secretary
  • Communication Director
  • Psychotherapist
  • Project Manager
  • Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies
  • Instructor of Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communication
  • Academic Advisor
  • Client Services Coordinator
  • Deployment Specialist
  • Director of Ticket Sales
  • Development Assistant, Major Gifts
  • Management, Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo



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.