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Curriculum Information for Prospective Students

What courses do OS students take?

OS is an interdisciplinary program, drawing courses from many different departments to create our curriculum. OS gives you a great deal of freedom in choosing which courses will be included in your specific plan of study. We call this your “OS Pathway,” and it allows you to tailor the OS major to your interests and goals.

The OS curriculum contains core and elective courses offered by the OS Program, but the majority of the curriculum is made up of classes drawn from departments across the university. Courses included in the OS curriculum can cover a very broad range of academic fields and topics, but must be in some sense “organizational” in their content or approach.

It is important to note that the OS Program is designed to be a two year academic program. The curriculum is intended to be progressive, with core courses being taken in the first fall term in the program, and research courses taken in the second fall term in the program.  Study abroad and off-campus domestic programs are encouraged, but work best in the winter terms.

  • First fall term in the program: Both core courses (OS 305 and OS 310, 6 credits)
  • Second fall term in the program: Senior Research Capstone (OS 410 or OS 497)
  • Second winter term in the program: OS 498 if completing honors research sequence

Due to this sequencing, the OS program cannot be completed in one academic year.

OS Pathway

As an OS student, you are in the driver’s seat. Because the curriculum is so rich and diverse, Organizational Studies has created a planning tool called the OS Pathway. You develop your own map of the curriculum, choosing from a broad array of courses to develop and pursue your educational goals. OS provides additional guidance and works with you to create and adjust your pathway as you move through the program.

Applying to the Program and Requirements

Students must apply for and be accepted into the major. Only students admitted to the program can be declared majors. Before joining the OS Program, students must complete prerequisites that prepare them for the program in several vital disciplines. Following the prerequisites, the OS major requires a minimum of 34 credits distributed across several broad areas:

  • Core Requirements provide the foundational knowledge for the major.
  • Cluster Requirements (A, B, and C) are designed to provide disciplinary variety in the study of organizations, drawing on courses in a number of fields, and ranging across multiple levels of organizational analysis.
  • Quantitative Skills and Senior Research Capstone requirements give students the tools necessary to engage in various types of research in organizations, and provide the opportunity for real-world experience in organizational research.

Details and course lists for each requirement area are below, and an OS Curriculum Worksheet is also available for your reference.

Prerequisities to the major

Prerequisites to the major:  Students must complete an introductory course in microeconomics, psychology, and sociology. Courses required as prerequisites are:

  • Economics 101
  • Psychology 111, 112, 114 ,or 115
  • Sociology 100, 102, 195, or 300 

AP/IB credit is acceptable to fulfill the Psychology and/or the Economics prerequisites. Transfer credit may also be used to fulfill prerequisites, with the exception of online Economics courses, which are not accepted for credit at UM.

Students should be aware that additional prerequisites are required for many of the upper-level courses in the OS curriculum. Depending on their particular area of interest, students may wish to complete Econ 102 and/or entry level courses in Political Science, Communication Studies, or other areas of interest as they prepare to apply to the OS program.

Organizational Studies Core Requirements

Core requirements:  Two courses are required, both in the first fall term after joining the program: 

  • ORGSTUDY 305 Inside Organizations
  • ORGSTUDY 310 Formal Organizations and Environments (fulfills ULWR)

See the Organizational Studies Courses for OS Majors for course descriptions of ORGSTUDY 305 and ORGSTUDY 310.

Quantitative Skills Requirements

Quantitative Skills (choose one): 

  • Soc 210 Elementary Statistics
  • Stats 250 Intro to Stats and Data Analysis or Stats 280 Honors Intro Stats
  • Econ 251 Intro to Statistics and Econometrics II

All courses listed above also fulfill the LSA Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Senior Research Capstone Requirement

Senior Research Capstone (choose one option):

  • Orgstudy 410 Advanced Research Methods in Organizational Studies (OS senior cohort only) OR
  • Orgstudy 497 & 498 OS Honors Research I & II (OS Honors students only)

OS 410 is offered in the Fall term only.  For honors students, please note that two research courses are required (typically OS 497 in fall and OS 498 in winter).

Cluster Requirement

Cluster courses must be chosen according to the following guidelines:

  • 2 courses in Cluster A
  • 2 courses in Cluster B
  • 3 courses in any Cluster (A, B or C)

AND

  • 2 of the 7 cluster courses must be ORGSTUDY 300/400-level courses
  • Limit of 2 200-level courses in the Cluster requirement
  • Limit of 2 cluster courses taken off the AA campus

Definitions of each cluster, along with lists of courses that fall in Clusters A, B and C are indicated here.

TWO CLUSTER A COURSES - Orgs and Individuals (6 Credits min)

Cluster A (micro) courses are those that focus mainly on questions and topics concerning the organized behavior of individuals or the behavior of individuals in organizations. Cluster A classes are broader in scope than Cluster C courses below, and are typically upper level offerings 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 fall in this cluster, as will some courses in political science, anthropology, communications, and economics. Sociology courses rarely fall in this cluster.


ALA 228/Psy 312/Soc 375 Intrgrp Conflict & Coexistence
ALA/Soc 320/Psych 310 Proc of Intergroup Dialogues Facilitation
Amclut/Psych 319 Empowering Families and Communities
Anthrcul 330 Culture, Thought, and Meaning
Anthrcul/Ling 370 Lang & Discr: Lang as Soc Stmnt
Anthrcul/Ling 374 Language and Culture
Cmplxsys 270 Agent-Based Modeling
Econ 401 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
Environ 360/Psych 384 Behavior and Environment
Environ/Orgstudy 418 Ldrshp & Env Stwrdshp Orgs (A or B, stdt choice)
Ling/Anthrcul 370 Lang & Discr: Lang as Soc Stmnt
Ling/Anthrcul 374 Language and Culture
Mkt 313 Consumer Behavior
Orgstudy 201 Leadership and Collaboration
Orgstudy 205 Psych of Inequality (no credit for OS 495 same topic)
Orgstudy 405 Negotiations
Orgstudy/Environ 418 Ldrshp & Env Stwrdshp Orgs (A or B, stdt choice)
Orgstudy 490 Adv Resrch Tm (will be designated A or B based on topic)
Orgstudy 495 Spec Tpcs OS (will be designated A or B based on topic)
Polsci 330/Psych 393 Political Psychology
Psych 280 Social Psychology
Psych 310/ALA/Soc 320 Proc of Intergroup Dialogues Facilitation
Psych 312/ALA 228/Soc 375 Intrgrp Conflict & Coexistence
Psych/Amclut 319 Empowering Families and Communities
Psych 353 Social Development
Psych 380 Topics in Soc Psych: Stereotyping and Implicit Bias*
Psych 384/Environ 360 Behavior and Environment
Psych 389 Psychology and Law
Psych 393/Polsci 330 Political Psychology
Psych 395 Organizational Psychology
Psych 401 Spec Prblms Psy Soc Sci: Hegemony, Ideology, Pol Beh*
Psych 449 DecisionProcesses
Psych 467 Current Topics in Organizational Psych (all topics)
SI 310 Information Environments and Work
Soc/ALA 320/Psych 310 Proc of Intergroup Dialogues Facilitation
Soc 375/ALA 228/Psy 312 Intrgrp Conflict & Coexistence

TWO CLUSTER B COURSES - Orgs and Society (6 Credits min)

Cluster B (macro) 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, and are typically upper level offerings 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 fall in this cluster, as will some economics and anthropology courses.

AAS 268 Community Collaborations: Race, Soc Just, Engaged Lrning
AAS/Soc 303 Race and Ethnic Relations
AAS 458/Intl 401/PS 497 Intl Stds Adv Sem: Bus and Pol in Dev Cnt*
Amcult/Soc 221 Social Inequality
Amcult 303 Race and Mixed Race
Amcult 345 American Politics & Society
Amcult 399 Race, Racism and Ethnicity
Anthrcul/Ling 272 Language in Society
Anthrcul 331 Kinship, Soc Org, and Society
Anthrcul 356 Topics in Sociocult Anthr: The Modern Corporation*
Cmplxsys/Soc 260 Social Dynamics
Cmplxsys/Polsci 391 Modeling Pol Processes
Comm 251/SAC 324 Media Industries
Comm 371 Media, Culture and Society
Comm 421 Media Law and Policy
Econ 320 Survey of Labor Econ
Econ 330 American Industries
Econ 402 Macroeconomics
Econ 421 Labor Economics
Econ 422 The Structure of Labor Mkts
Econ 431 Industrial Org and Performance
Econ 432 Gov Regulation of Industry
Econ 444 European Economy
Environ/Orgstudy 208 Business and the Natural Environment
Environ/PubPol 312/Polsci 380 Environmental Politics and Policy
Environ/Orgstudy 418 Ldrshp & Env Stwrdshp Orgs (A or B, stdt choice)
History 235/Polsci 316 History of Law and Social Justice
Intlstd 401/AAS 458/PS 497 Intl Stds Adv Sem: Bus and Pol in Dev Cnt*
Ling/Anthrcul 272 Language in Society
Orgstudy 204 Nonprofits (no credit for OS 420 Non-profit Orgs)
Orgstudy/Environ 208 Business and the Natural Environment
Orgstudy 415 Networking
Orgstudy/Environ 418 Ldrshp & Environ Stwrdshp in Orgs (A or B)
Orgstudy 420 Non-profit Organizations (No credit for OS 204)
Orgstudy 490 Adv Resrch Tm (will be designated A or B based on topic)
Orgstudy 495 Spec Tpcs OS (will be designated A or B based on topic)
Polsci 301 Development of Political Thought
Polsci 311 American Political Process
Polsci 314 American Political Parties
Polsci 316/History 235 History of Law and Social Justice
Polsci 363 International Organization & Integration
Polsci 380/Environ/PubPol 312 Environmental Politics and Policy
Polsci/Cmplxsys 391 Modeling Pol Processes
Polsci 432 Law and Public Policy
Polsci 497/ALA 458/Intl 401 Intl Stds Adv Sem: Bus and Pol in Dev Cnt*
PPE 300 Intro to Political Economy
PubPol/Environ 312/Polsci 380 Environmental Politics and Policy
PubPol 320 Politics, Pol Instit and Pub Polciy
Religion/Soc 455 Religion and Society
SAC 324/Comm 251 Media Industries
Soc/Amcult 221 Social Inequality
Soc 250 Politics, Power, and Society
Soc/Cmplxsys 260 Social Dynamics
Soc/AAS 303 Race and Ethnic Relations
Soc 305 Intro to Sociological Theory
Soc 315 Economic Sociology
Soc/Womenstd 451 Women and Work
Soc/Religion 455 Religion and Society
Soc 461 Social Movements
Strategy 411 Corporation in Society
Womenstd/Soc 451 Women and Work 

CLUSTER C – Interest Cluster (up to 3 courses (9 cr) may count for major)

Cluster C (interest) courses in the Organizational Studies curriculum are intended to allow majors to pursue their curriculum pathway interests in a more specialized way. Cluster C courses should have an organizational theme and can be of either the macro or micro 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.


AAS 418/Polsci 324 Black Americans & Pol System
AAS 450 Law, Race, and Hist Process I
AAS 451 Law, Race, and Hist Process II
Acc 301 Principles of Accounting II
Acc 471 Accounting Principles
Amcult 341/History 343 Rise of the Corporation
Anthrcul 439 Econ Anthro and Development
BA 453 Capstone Multidisc Action Projects
BA/History 476 American Business History
BL 305 Legal Environment of Business
BL 306 Legal Aspects of Management and Finance
Busabrd 320 Global Immersion Study Abroad
Comm/Polsci 329 Media and Political Behvr
Comm 380 Persuasion, Commun, and Campaigns
Econ 310 Money and Banking
Econ 323 Econ and Gender
Econ 340 International Economics
Econ 370/Environ 375 Envir & Resource Economics
Educ 471 Dev and Advancement in Higher Educ
Environ 361/Psych 362 Psych of Env Stewardship
Environ 367 Global Enterprise & Sustainable Devlpmnt
Environ 370/URP 423 Intro to Urban & Environ Planning
Environ 375/Econ 370 Envir & Resource Economics
Environ 391 Sustainability and the Campus
Environ 449 Org Theory & Change
Environ 475 Environmental Law
ES 395 Entrepreneurial Management
Fin 302 Making Financial Decisions
History 343/Amcult 341 Rise of the Corporation
History 411/Polsci 319 Politics of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
History/BA 476 American Business History
Mkt 302 Marketing Management
MO 302 Leading People & Organizations
MO 321 Leadership in Organizations
MO 324 Managing Professional Relationships
MO 414 Managing Change
MO 415 Intro to Managing Human Capital
MO 455 Foundations in Positive Org Scholarship
MO 463 Creativity at Work
Orgstudy 395 Current Issues in Org Studies (cluster may vary)
Polsci 319/History 411 Politics of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Polsci 324/AAS 418 Black Americans & Pol System
Polsci/Comm 329 Media and Political Behvr
Polsci 369 Politics of Internatl Econ Relations
Psych 314 Positive Psychology
Psych 356 Educational Psychology
Psych 362/Environ 361 Psych of Env Stewardship
Psych 488/Soc/WS 465 Soc Analysis of Deviant Behavior
PubHlth 200/PubPol 210 Health & Society – Intro Pub Health
PubHlth 300 Behvrl & Soc Sci Foundtn for Hlth Professions
PubHlth 350 Global Public Health
PubHlth 381 Pub Hlth Systems; Achvmnts & Challenges
PubPol 201 Systematic Thinking
PublPol 210/PubHlth 200 Health & Society – Intro Pub Health
PubPol 423 Political Campaign Strategy
RCSSCI 315 International Grassroots Development
RCSSCI 365 Excellence, Equity, and Politics of Educ
RCSSCI 461/Soc 489 Organizing: People, Power & Change
SI 301 Models of Social Information Processing
SI 335 Social Media in Organizations
SM 332 Organizational Behavior in Sports Orgs
Soc 350 Human Rights in the United Nations
Soc 354 Law and Society
Soc/Womenstd 447 Sociology of Gender
Soc 458 Sociology of Education
Soc/WS 465/Psych 488 Soc Analysis of Deviant Behavior
Soc 475 Health, Medicine and Society
Soc 489/RCSSCI 461 Organizing: People, Power & Change
Strategy 302 Business Strategy
Strategy 310 Global Competitive Business Environment
Strategy 361 International Management
Strategy 492 Dynmc Capabilities through Corp Devlpmnt
SW 305 Theories and Practices for Comm Actn & Soc Chng
Thtremus 385 Perform Arts Mgmt
TO 302 Managing Business Operations
URP 423/Environ 370 Intro to Urban & Environ Planning
Womenstd 350 Non-Profit Mgmt, Comm Engmnt, Feminist Prac
Womenstd/Soc 447 Sociology of Gender
Womenstd/Soc 465/Psych 488 Soc Analysis of Devnt Bhvr

Organizational Studies (ORGSTUDY) Courses for OS Majors

ORGSTUDY 299 Undergraduate Internship
(1 credit; Credit/No Credit)
Does NOT count as credit toward OS Major Requirements.  ALA 225 can also be used by OS students to receive internship credit, and has a lower number of required hours (visit the Opportunity Hub website for ALA 225 information).

Students who are required or wish to receive credit for an internship experience, can register for this course. Students must complete at least 320 hours during the course of the internship. Upon completion of the internship, the internship supervisor must send an official email to the major advisor. Students typically register for the ORGSTUDY 299 during the fall term after their summer internship. OS students interested in registering for this course should email the OS Advisor prior to the summer internship.

ORGSTUDY 305 Inside Organizations
(3 credits; Fall term only)
Required Core course
for all OS juniors in fall term

This course offers an overview of the psychology of people in organizations, broadly defined. Topics will focus on social dynamics in organizations, including employee motivation, influencing others, decision-making, cooperation, culture, leadership, and teams, to name a few. The format of the course will comprise lectures, general discussions, and smaller seminar discussions. To complement the standard reading material, case studies will also be read as a common touchstone for analyzing and discussing psychological phenomena in a real world organizational context.

ORGSTUDY 310 Formal Organizations and Environments
(3 credits; Fall term only)
Required Core course
for all OS juniors in fall term

This course provides OS students with a survey of theory and research on formal organizations from sociological and economic perspectives. The course emphasizes multiple levels of analysis in organizational theory from internal structure and practice to organization-environment relationships. Students apply theories to existing case studies and develop original case research over the course of the term.

ORGSTUDY 405 Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
(3 credits; offering terms vary)
Fulfill Cluster A requirement

Based on psychological research on negotiation, conflict resolution, and social influence, this course aims to provide students with the theory-driven skills they need to become effective negotiators. Students will participate in in-class negotiation exercises, mini-lectures, and discussions on a weekly basis.  By the end of the term, students will have learned the fundamentals of distributive and integrative bargaining as well as an array of social influence strategies – all through the lens of theory – in order to succeed as a negotiator.  They will also become adept at analyzing every negotiation experience from the perspective of various psychological concepts and theories.

ORGSTUDY 410 Advanced Research Methods in Organizational Studies
(4 credits; typically offered in the fall term only)
OS Seniors only - Senior Research Capstone Credit

This course is an advanced exploration of the methods used in conducting organizational studies research. Students expand their abilities to conceptualize, design, implement, report, present, and critique research. Students learn through review and discussion of research methods, as well as their direct application in short assignments and a semester-long, team-based research project. Methods examined in the course include, but are not limited to, surveys, interviews, participant observation/ethnography, archival research, social network analysis, and experiments. Students build skills in presenting research and discuss research ethics.

ORGSTUDY 415 Networking
(3 credits; offering terms vary)
Fulfills Cluster B requirement

This course explores the relationship between formal and informal social networks and the dynamics of organizational processes. Networks may be based on friendship, technical expertise, family, authority, sexual relations, common interest, political alliances, electronic communication, or many other factors. We consider a variety of theories of networks (e.g., small worlds, the strength of weak ties, structural holes) and apply them to topics such as Facebook friendships, social movement activism, the choice of sexual partners, and advancement within a corporation. We will give special attention to the question of how to "use" networks to attain organizational objectives. Computer applications will be emphasized, though no specialized computing knowledge is prerequisite.

ORGSTUDY/ENVIRON 418 Leadership and Environmental Stewardship
(3 credits; offering terms vary)
Fulfills either Cluster A or B requirement (student choice).

This course focuses on the skills and strategies that can help you become a more effective leader for the environment. Students will learn about the importance of decision-making, influence, and teamwork for implementing organization change and innovation towards greater environmental stewardship. We will focus on the different roles that leaders take in addressing environmental strategies within and across for-profit, not-for-profit, and governmental organizations. Students will also analyze and reflect upon their own personal goals and challenges as environmental leaders.

ORGSTUDY 420 Nonprofit Organizations
(3 credits; offering terms vary)
Fulfills Cluster B requirement.  Students cannot receive credit for both OS 204 and OS 420.

In the first half of the course, we will pose and answer questions about the nonprofit sector’s emergence in the United States; its changing relations with government and with the for-profit sector; the current state of the nonprofit sector; and its likely future. Attention to the nature of civil society abroad will shed light on the unique role of nonprofits in the U.S., while comparative analyses of different domains of U.S. nonprofit activity (the arts, education, healthcare, etc.) will provide an in-depth understanding of the processes and issues that divide and structure the nonprofit sector internally. In the second half of the course, drawing on readings in law, public policy, and business, we will develop practical knowledge of the special challenges that come with managing and working for a nonprofit organization. Among the topics we will take up in this half of the class is the formulation of nonprofit mission and strategy; the management of relations with boards, committees, volunteers, and employees; and marketing and fundraising for nonprofits.

ORGSTUDY 490 Advanced Research Team
(3-4 credits; offering terms vary)
This course may vary clusters by term and section, depending on the topic offered.

Students participate in small research teams with OS faculty on their current research. Students in the research teams will conduct experiments and surveys, analyze data, and discuss findings with OS faculty. Research areas have included Psychology of Competitive Advantage, Social Movements and Political Parties, US Knowledge Economy, Leadership and Organizational Identity, and various other areas.

ORGSTUDY 495 Special Topics in Organizational Studies
(3-4 credits; offering terms vary)
This course may vary clusters by term and section, depending on the topic offered. 

This course investigates topics relating to structure and function of organizations. Topics vary by section and term.

ORGSTUDY 497 OS Honors Research I 
(3-4 credits; typically offered in the fall term, but can vary based on individual student circumstances) 

This class, in combination with OS 498, fulfills the Senior Research Capstone Experience Students admitted to the OS Honors option will enroll in the OS Honors Research sequence in the senior year (OS 497+OS 498). These are independent study courses in which the student will work on research and thesis with a faculty mentor. Students will also meet twice per term with the OS Honors Coordinator for ongoing assistance and support throughout the project. Students typically enroll in OS 497 during the fall term of the senior year, during which the student will conduct research. The student will be graded by their faculty mentor on data analysis and an outline of the thesis (full paper to be completed the following term in OS 498). 

ORGSTUDY 498 OS Honors Research II
(3-4 credits; typically offered in the winter term, but can vary based on individual student circumstances)

This class, in combination with OS 497, fulfills the Senior Research Capstone Experience OS 498 is typically taken during the winter term of the senior year, during which the honors student will complete the research and thesis begun in OS 497. The thesis will be evaluated by a panel of 3 readers, who will indicate the Honors designation to appear on the student’s transcript and diploma. OS 498 will be graded by the faculty mentor.

ORGSTUDY 499 Independent Study 
(1-4 credits)
Does NOT count as credit toward OS Major Requirements unless approved by individual petition

The course used for individual independent study projects with a faculty supervisor. Due to credit variations, it does not count toward OS major requirements unless approved by individual petition.

Please refer to OS Waitlist Policy regarding overrides to any of these courses.

Organizational Studies (ORGSTUDY) Courses for ALL Students

Please note: These 200-level ORGSTUDY courses are not prerequisites for the OS major. They are intended to give freshmen and sophomore students an introduction to the field of organizational studies from various disciplinary perspectives, but can also be counted toward OS major requirements.

ORGSTUDY 201 Leadership and Collaboration
(3 credits; Fall term).  Fulfills Cluster A requirement.

This is a project-based class that uses organizational sociology, psychology, economics, and political science to ask what good leadership is and how people can be effective leaders when they lack formal authority.  

This course satisfies the LSA Social Science Distribution requirement.

ORGSTUDY 204 Nonprofits
(3 credits; offering terms vary). Fulfills Cluster B requirement.  Students cannot receive credit for both OS 204 and OS 420.

This course is an introduction to the nonprofit sector. It focuses primarily on the history and structure of the nonprofit sector in the United States; contemporary debates concerning the function and impact of the nonprofit sector; and key differences between the U.S. nonprofit sector and those in other countries.

ORGSTUDY 205 Psychology of Inequality
(3 credits; offering term varies). Fulfills Cluster A requirement.

This course examines psychological theories about why intergroup prejudice, discrimination, and inequality are so ubiquitous, both in organizations and beyond. We consider the possibility that human evolution predisposes us to be biased in favor of the groups we belong to over other groups, and explore how human motivation and social context work in conjunction to produce behavior that either increases or decreases social inequality.  

ORGSTUDY 208 Business and the Natural Environment 
(3 credits; offering terms vary). Fulfills Cluster B requirement.

This course offers a broad introduction to the study of business and the natural environment, integrating insights from sociology, psychology, and economics. It begins with an overview of the triple bottom line framework, in which corporations take into account social and environmental performance in addition to financial performance. Then it focuses on contemporary business activities that address the natural environment.

Please refer to OS Waitlist Policy regarding overrides to any of these courses.