• Overview
  • Faculty
  • Requirements
  • Advising
  • Career Tracks
  • Off-Campus Study
  • Unique Opportunities
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Course Schedule


Major, Minor


Ripon College history students move beyond the “timeline” approach to the past. They don’t just learn what happened — they analyze why events occurred, arrive at their own view of events, and discover the implications historical events have for understanding enduring human issues. They learn to communicate complex ideas both orally and in written form and to understand cultures and societies other than their own.

Ripon courses examine the complete scope of history and delve into every time frame and era. Students learn to analyze evidentiary material in a disciplined and methodical manner, synthesize information gained from such analyses into larger structures of knowledge, understand various interpretations and conceptualizations of historical development and fit their own synthetic structures into such interpretations, and communicate complex ideas.

Program Spotlight


Barbara McGowan

Barbara McGowan

Professor of History, Delmar D. Wensink Professor of Political Economy

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man named brian with brown hair and beard

Brian Bockelman

Associate Professor of History, Chair of History Department

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Diane Mockridge

Professor of History

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Rebecca Matzke

Rebecca Berens Matzke

Interim Vice President and Dean of Faculty, Dean of Faculty Development, Professor of History

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Sarah Frohardt-Lane

Sarah Frohardt-Lane

Assistant Professor of History, Director of Environmental Studies

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Requirements for a major in History: 32 credits in history. At least 12 credits from courses numbered in the 300s; HIS 295; and senior seminar (HIS 590). (HIS 401 does not count toward the major.) HIS 101 is strongly recommended as an introduction to the major. A sophomore or junior beginning a history major should start with any 200-level course.


Requirements for a minor in History: 22 credits in history. At least eight credits from courses numbered in the 300s. HIS 101 is strongly recommended as an introduction to the minor. A sophomore or junior beginning a history minor should start with any 200-level course.


Requirements for students majoring in history and seeking teaching licensure in history for middle childhood through early or early adolescence through adolescence level (Teaching Major in History): 32 credits in history. At least 12 credits from courses numbered in the 300s; HIS 299; and senior seminar (HIS 590) are required. Among courses counting toward the history major, the following are required: HIS 281, 282 and 590. In addition, students must take any two of the following courses: HIS 240, 241, 242, 262, 263 or 264. (Also required for licensure are ENV 120 and HIS 401; but those do not count toward the 32 credits needed for a history major.)

Requirements for students minoring in History and seeking teaching licensure in history for middle childhood through early adolescence or early adolescence through adolescence level (Teaching Minor in History): 24 credit hours including HIS 281 or 282 and any one of the following: HIS 240, 241, 242, 262, 263 or 264; at least eight credits from courses numbering in the 300s. (HIS 101 is recommended but not required.) (ENV 120 and HIS 401 also are required but do not count toward the 24 credits for the minor.)


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.

Career Tracks

Some Ripon history graduates choose careers in academia: they have entered Ph.D. programs at such universities as Princeton, Wake Forest and Penn State. Others go into library, archival or museum work: a recent graduate now works for the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. Many Ripon history majors share their love of history as high school teachers. Others have taken positions as archaeologists, lawyers and bank managers, and with insurance companies, multinational corporations, governmental agencies and small businesses.

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

  • Study a wide range of historical time periods and places, from ancient and medieval Europe to the colonial Americas to modern Mexico, Great Britain, Israel-Palestine, Germany and the United States.
  • Through the Department of Educational Studies, certification in history and broadfield social studies is available in early adolescence/adolescence (grades 6-12).
  • Students have opportunities to research subjects in-depth and make presentations to College events, such as the annual Founders’ Day, and at professional seminars and symposiums. Three recent history majors published a book about the history of the city of Ripon, which is available on Amazon.com.
  • Advanced historical research can be pursued at the Newberry Library in Chicago.
  • Ripon faculty members regularly lead Liberal Arts In Focus travel experiences.