Organizational Studies

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All academic programs offered at the UM help students develop valuable transferable skills. The Organizational Studies (OS) program fosters a broad vision of organizations and their critical role in society. The program’s basis in three core disciplines (Psychology, Sociology, and Economics) equips students with multiple perspectives on leadership and organizations.

OS concentrators gain a theoretical and applied understanding of organizations. Coursework applies a wide array of social theory to particular phenomena in real-world organizations. Through a mix of theory, research, experiential learning, and co-curricular opportunities, concentrators examine organizations and the individuals and groups that comprise them.

The breadth of the program will allow you to define a specific “concentration pathway” that connects your coursework to your interests. Popular pathways include nonprofit management, sustainable enterprise development, leadership, and human relations.
Related fields include Psychology, Sociology, Economics, History, Business, Political Science, Public Policy, Public Health, Natural Resources, Urban Planning, and Social Work.


Research Skills

Framing a research question
Developing ideas and theories
Gathering information
Summarizing results

Analytical and Project Skills

Defining problems
Evaluating ideas, theories, and evidence
Developing new organizational systems
Interpreting data

Human and Interpersonal Skills

Motivating groups
Analyzing and modifying behavior
Mediating / negotiating
Understanding human relations
Needs assessment
Recognizing social processes
Fostering group dynamics

Communication Skills

Explaining ideas
Writing clearly and effectively
Synthesizing information
Preparing reports, proposals, and presentations
Conveying complex ideas
Articulating and defending a position
Reading critically
Presenting alternative explanations


Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment, including research positions with OS faculty, offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. OS students also develop their leadership skills by serving on department committees, including a curriculum working group, student/faculty recruitment committee, and the OS student advisory board. OS supports students outside the classroom as they develop initiatives on campus and further their exploration of their academic interests and prospective careers. Other options include study abroad, off-campus employment or volunteering in the community. Finally, a summer internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.


As an OS concentrator you will develop both general and technical skills applicable to a wide range of careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. For example, cross-cultural observational skills may be equally useful whether working as a foundation project manager, a corporate recruiter, a freelance journalist, or a human resource professional.

OS concentrators also complete graduate study in law, public policy and administration, social work, business, education, public health, environmental studies and more. The list below is a sample of careers undertaken by Organizational Studies graduates.

Research Skills

Business analyst
Legislative assistant
Health care manager open book icon
Development coordinator

Analytical and Project Skills

Real Estate analyst
Account manager
Project manager
Grant manager
Event coordinator
Marketing coordinator

Human and Interpersonal Skills

Human resources manager
Educational administrator open book icon
Public administrator
Industrial and organizational psychologist open book icon
Communication Skills
Public school teacher
Lawyer open book icon

open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at


There are three prerequisites for admission: one intro course each in Psychology (111, 112, 114, or 115), Sociology (100, 101, 102, or 195), and Economics (101). Given its small size and selectivity, you should apply to the program in January of your sophomore year. The concentration requires at least 37 credits, including two organizational theory courses and a senior field research course.

Although the OS program contains several OS courses, the majority of the curriculum is drawn from a broad array of disciplines, including Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, Communications, Program in the Environment, and the Business School. To navigate more clearly through the choices, you will construct a “concentration pathway” to reflect your individual academic interests. For more information about the program, please visit the OS website or contact the Student Services Coordinator at the address below.

Organizational Studies Program
Weiser Hall
500 Church Street
Suite 800

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall


To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

On-campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan