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OS Petition Process

OS students may petition courses to count toward their OS major. Students may petition study abroad courses, courses taken at other US institutions, or courses offered at UM but not listed on the OS curriculum sheet (including special topics courses). Courses may be petitioned at any time, including prior to enrollment, while enrolled, or retroactively after completed.

Most petitioned courses will count in Cluster C, since it is the most flexible cluster. You may request consideration for Cluster A or B by reading the definitions below and making a strong argument as to why the course is micro (A) or macro (B), and why you feel it is *broad enough in its focus* to be included in A or B rather than in the more narrowly focused Interest Cluster C.

To petition, you must send an email to Cathy Philbin which includes:

  1. The course department, number, and title
  2. The course description (full syllabi are not needed, but the more detailed the description, the better).
  3. A brief explanation indicating why you think the course is organizational *and* how it fits with your OS pathway (or with your study plans, if you have not yet written a pathway). 

When is a course “organizational”?

Not all undergraduate courses at Michigan are “organizational”, and therefore not all courses qualify as candidates for the Organizational Studies curriculum. Organizations are collections of individual efforts coordinated to achieve things that could not be achieved through individual action alone. More formally, Scott (1992) states that, “organizations are social structures created by individuals to support their collaboration in pursuit of specified goals”. So, in examining a course that is a possible candidate for your Organizational Studies curriculum, you need to provide a rationale for why the course is distinctively “organizational”. 

Cluster A: Organizations and Individuals Broad micro organizational courses

Cluster A courses are those that focus mainly on questions and topics concerning the organized behavior of individuals or the behavior of individuals in organizations. They are broader in scope than Cluster C courses below (more like survey courses) and typically are either 300 or 400 level courses in the LSA curriculum. These courses may address the relations of individuals to larger social structures such as the family or formal organizations, but their concern with these larger structures will typically remain the impact thereof on individual psychology or individual behavior. Most psychology courses concerned with organizations and organized behavior will be micro courses, as will some courses in political science, anthropology, communications, and economics. Sociology courses rarely fall in this cluster. 

Cluster B: Organizations and Society Broad macro organizational courses

Cluster B courses are those that focus mainly on questions and topics concerning the organization of social groups (e.g., ethnic groups), historical processes (e.g., the rise of capitalism), and/or medium to large social structures (e.g., corporations, national governments, or global governing bodies). They are broader in scope than Cluster C courses below (more like survey courses) and typically are either 300 or 400 level courses in the LSA curriculum. Although Cluster B courses may at times address the impact of such larger structures and processes on individual behavior or may include attention to particular individuals from U.S. or world history, the primary concern of Cluster B courses is with questions about how social groups, historical processes, and social structures emerge, remain stable, and/or change. Most sociology, political science, and history courses will be macro courses, as will some economics and anthropology courses.

Cluster C: Electives in Organizational Studies More narrowly focused organizational courses, micro or macro

Cluster C courses in the organizational Studies Curriculum are “electives” intended to allow students to pursue their curriculum pathway interests in a more specialized way. Cluster C electives should have an organizational theme and can be of either the micro or macro variety, but are almost always more narrow and focused in their content. Cluster C courses can and do often come from a variety of departments both in LSA and in various University of Michigan schools and colleges.