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




Philosophy students pursue their own paths to wisdom by encountering the best that has been thought and said about basic human concerns throughout civilization. They engage some of the major philosophical, religious and moral traditions of the world, and they are encouraged to see the relevance of these ideas and practices so that they engage conceptual, social and religious concerns with greater coherence, perspective and responsibility.

Most importantly, students will see the relevance of these ideas and use the skills developed to respond to new problems and become responsible citizens who can better relate to the diversity of thought, both religious and non-religious, found in the contemporary world.

Philosophy can be characterized as the attempt to make rational sense of things. Ultimately, then, it is the attempt to discover and articulate what is truly meaningful, including what it is, if anything, that makes life itself meaningful.

Program Spotlight


Brian Smith

Brian Smith

Professor of Religion Emeritus

[email protected]
John Sisko

John Sisko

Professor of Philosophy, Vice President and Dean of Faculty

[email protected]
Paul Jeffries

Paul Jeffries

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Chair of Philosophy Department

[email protected]


Requirements for a major in Philosophy: PHL 320 and REL 442; PHL 591 and 592; one 300-level additional philosophy course; one religion course at the 200 level or above; and three other courses in philosophy for a total of 32 credits.

Requirements for a minor in Philosophy: PHL 320; at least one additional course in philosophy at the 300 level; one religion course, and other philosophy courses for a total of 20 credits.


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

An undergraduate degree in philosophy can lead to a career in teaching, law, business, ethics, mediation, government, grant writing and many other fields. Recent graduates have been accepted into graduate-level programs at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities, including: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Texas A&M University, the University of Minnesota, Marquette University and the University of Oregon.

Job titles of recent graduates include lawyer, grant writer, financial advisor, teacher and professor.

Off-Campus Study

Over the last few years, our students were accepted to the University of Colorado’s Summer Seminar in Philosophy and the University of Minnesota’s Philosophy Camp.

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

  • The philosophy program culminates in a capstone experience in which students develop their own philosophy and dialogue with others in a public presentation of part of that philosophy.
  • Students participate in regional and national conferences and seminars, where they present on their research ideas.