Information presented from the 2023 - 2024 Academic Catalog.

Program Guidelines

The Organizational Studies program is multidisciplinary in intent and grounded in the liberal arts. Developing a theoretical base for organizational participation and leadership requires moving beyond a single area of specialization. Through a multidisciplinary approach, students will begin to develop:

  1. an understanding of the human condition as it is experienced in organizational life;
  2. an understanding of the complex nature of systems and institutions, and;
  3. the capacity for analysis that moves beyond simplistic solutions to explore the interplay of values, responsibility, and the achievement of social goals.

The goals of this theoretical base are to be supplemented by, and integrally related to, both a practical summer session and a significant internship experience in an appropriate organization.

Organizational Studies Certificate

General Requirements for the Certificate

In order to fulfill the requirements for certification in Organizational Studies, a student must accomplish the following:

  • complete PSYC 230 - Research in Organizational Psychology, which is offered each spring semester
  • complete three additional core courses: one from the two major content areas and a third from either content area (some courses are listed below)
  • participate successfully in the multi-week OS Summer Ssession
  • complete an appropriate internship following the OS Summer Session
  • write an integrative paper on these experiences in the senior year

To further the integration and thoughtful choices, the program director shall advise and have final authority over each student's particular program selections. Course selections are to be made from the approved course list. Exceptions are by petition only. Petitions must include a complete course syllabus and a detailed rationale for the exception.

Core Courses

The three courses — one from Area A, one from Area B, and an additional one from either area — must be taken from at least two different departments. By petition, a relevant  Directed Study, Senior Research Project, or Off-Campus Study course may be approved to count as the third core course (see the Alternative Options section below).

  1. Area A: The Individual Within the Organization. Courses that meet this requirement are designed to focus on the role and development of the individual in organizational settings. Students will examine some combination of the following issues:
    1. how individuals acquire, develop, and use knowledge in organizational settings;
    2. how individuals communicate in the process of social interaction;
    3. how individuals gain an overview of the nature and foundations of sociocultural behavior. Examples of courses that satisfy this requirement:
      ANSO 210Sex and Gender in Society
      or WGST 210 Sex and Gender in Society
      ANSO 212Race and Ethnicity
      or BLST 212 Race and Ethnicity
      COMM 101Public Address
      COMM 221Theories of Group Communication
      COMM 224Theories of Interpersonal Communication
      COMM 244Theories of Intercultural Communication
      PSYC 220Social Psychology
      PSYC 240Theories of Personality
      PSYC 330Cognitive Psychology
      THTR 210Scenic Design
  2. Area B:  Organizational Processes and Social Organizing. Courses that meet this requirement are designed to focus on interdependent relationships within organizations. Students will develop an understanding of organizational life that reflects either the broad nature of social organizing or a specific aspect of organizational life. Examples of courses that satisfy this requirement:
    ANSO 339Culture, Identity and Politics in Caribbean Society
    or BLST 339 Culture, Identity and Politics in Caribbean Society
    BLST 265Black Women and Organizational Leadership
    or WGST 265 Black Women and Organizational Leadership
    BLST 340
    COMM 306Organizational Culture
    ECON 422Industrial Organization and Antitrust Economics
    ECON 423International Trade
    ECON 425Race and Ethnicity and the U.S. Economy
    ECON 464Labor Economics
    EDUC 213The U.S. Education System
    ENVS 240Environmental Politics and Decision Making
    ENVS 284Environmental Planning and Design
    ENVS 301Environmental Practicum
    GC 101Commerce and Society
    HESS 401Organization and Administration of Athletics and Physical Education
    PPA 101Selected Topics in American Politics
    PPA 307The Politics of Congress
    PPA 319Topics in the Study of American Politics
    REL 217Sects and Cults
  3. Additional Electives or Alternative Options. Students may petition to have other courses and/or academic projects fulfill their 3rd core course.  Courses and projects that meet this option must be designed to focus on an aspect of organizational studies that is particularly appropriate to the student's vocational aspirations and/or major as well as the integrity of the OS certification program. Students may petition (including rationale, syllabus, etc.) for one of the following options to count:
    1. A directed study or independent study focusing on organizational behavior (or)
    2. A senior research project in the major that integrates aspects of organizational studies  into a new research project (or)
    3. An elective course (e.g., off-campus study or a special topics course) approved by the director.

Additional Points of Interest

Summer Session

The premise guiding the OS Summer Session is that organizations need persons capable of examining problems with a critical and imaginative eye and of responding in an ever-changing environment with policies, actions, and decisions derived from a broad knowledge base. A major strength of Denison's liberal arts program is that it fosters the development of this broad knowledge base, as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. This multi-week, immersive summer session focuses on the application of those skills and deepens their knowledge about how organizations are structured and function and how individuals interact in those settings. The session includes workshops and seminars focused on developing practical understanding of organizational behavior, culture, and management as well as providing students with insights and opportunities to hone their personal communication skills and workplace leadership style. During the session, students travel to major U.S. cities (e.g., Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Columbus) to learn first-hand the nature of these operations in a wide range of organizations across various industries (e.g., sales & marketing, human resources, finance, nonprofit, technology, sports, retail, healthcare, and manufacturing). Working primarily with Denison alumni, students are introduced to the language and fundamental principles of organizational development, company culture, decision-making, project management, design thinking, marketing, entrepreneurship, and more. Equipped with this knowledge, students serve as consultants for local companies, taking on the tasks of researching and analyzing problems, formulating solutions, and presenting findings to clients. These applied experiences, together with the program’s coursework, are designed to help students build a foundation for understanding the value of a liberal arts education for organizations and their leadership.

Internship and Integrative Paper

All students seeking certification in Organizational Studies must complete an appropriate internship.  The internship should take place following the summer session. The internship will become the venue where coursework and  lessons from the summer session are brought into play to master practical skills and build knowledge beyond the regular curriculum. 

In the senior year, OS students will prepare a major, integrative paper incorporating the knowledge base and skills developed through the significant OS certification experiences (i.e., coursework, summer session, and internship) and reflecting on the value of a liberal arts education to understanding organizations.