Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies - Leadership Major

Brian Payne, Program Coordinator (
Michele Mitchell, Program Advisor (

The interdisciplinary studies degree programs at Old Dominion University are for students who are interested in two or more fields of study that do not fit easily into a traditional college department.  The major in Leadership is a flexible, interdisciplinary academic degree that focuses on characteristics and skills necessary to lead in organizational and social contexts, and will emphasize ethical leadership, legal issues, and written and oral communication skills.  A goal of this new program is to facilitate adult students to complete their degree and as such, there is inherent flexibility in transferring existing credit.  A hybrid of on-line and traditional on-campus classes results in a very flexible curriculum.  Seventy five percent of courses in this major are offered on-line. 

Graduates of this undergraduate degree will possess the core liberal arts skills and knowledge such as reasoning, communications and analysis that are crucial to the challenges employers, organizations and governments face.  The academic and critical thinking skills taught through the Leadership curriculum are valuable on the job as well as navigating modern changes and challenges. 

This Leadership major is offered through the College of Arts & Letters and coordinated with the School of Continuing Education. The program provides opportunities for students to integrate education and training with the application of problem-solving skills through a senior interdisciplinary project. Courses are drawn from the disciplines of communication, criminal justice, engineering management, environmental health, finance, human services, management, public administration, and philosophy to examine the multi-faceted nature of leadership. Students admitted to the program have a variety of credit options including portfolio review, CLEP, DANTES, and departmental exams.

Topics courses, such as ENGL 395/ENGL 495, COMM 395/COMM 396, etc., must be approved by the student's advisor to ensure that the topic is appropriate for the major.  No more than two classes, or six credits, may be counted for both the major and a minor.

Lower-Division General Education
Written Communication *6
Oral Communication3
Language and Culture0-6
Information Literacy and Research3
Human Creativity3
Interpreting the Past3
Philosophy and Ethics **0-3
The Nature of Science8
Impact of Technology ***0-3
Human Behavior3
Interdisciplinary Studies Core9
Interdisciplinary Theory and Concepts (grade of C or higher required) ****
Select two of the following:
Digital Writing
Internship in Interdisciplinary Studies
Entrepreneurship in Interdisciplinary Studies
IDS Electronic Portfolio Project ****
Ethical Leadership 6
Select two of the following:
Leadership Ethics ****
Ethics and Philosophy in Engineering Applications
Ethics and Social Issues in Administration
Ethics, Governance and Accountability in Public Service ****
Business Ethics
Philosophy of Work
Communication Skills and Leadership6
Select two of the following:
Interpersonal Communication in Organizations
Organizational Communication
Communication and Conflict Management
Design Thinking for Leaders ****
Digital Leadership ****
Technical Writing ****
Management Writing
Organizational Behavior
Negotiations and Change Management
Legal Issues6
Select two of the following:
White-Collar Crime
Cyber Law
Cyber Law ****
Women, Sex Discrimination and the Law
Leadership and Law ****
Environmental and Occupational Health Administration and Law
Occupational Safety and Health Program Management
Legal Environment of Business
Management of Information Security
Employment Law
Workplace Law and Society
Workplace Law and Society
Leadership Electives9
Select three classes from at least two different diciplines:
Foundations of Leadership ****
Global Leadership ****
Women in Leadership ****
Trends and Issues in Leadership ****
Introduction to Engineering Management
Project Management
Leadership and Management for Health Professionals
Sustainability Leadership
Principles of Information Technology
Contemporary Organizations and Management
Human Resources Management
Employee Relations Problems and Practices
Entrepreneurship: New Ventures Creation
Operations Management
Leadership and Cultural Competence
Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Institutionalization of Human-Centered Computing
Organizational Psychology
Total Hours71-83


Elective courses may be taken for the remainder of the minimum 120 credits required for the degree.

Upper-Division General Education

Met in the major.

Requirements for Graduation

Requirements for graduation include a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 overall and in the major, 120 credit hours, which must include both a minimum of 30 credit hours overall and 12 credit hours of upper-level courses in the major program from Old Dominion University, completion of ENGL 110C, ENGL 211C or ENGL 221C or ENGL 231C, and the writing intensive (W) course in the major with a grade of C or better, and completion of Senior Assessment.

Honors Program in Interdisciplinary Studies

Qualified students in the interdisciplinary studies majors may earn honors by fulfilling all degree requirements and meeting the honors requirements listed below.

  1. Attain an overall grade point average of 3.25.
  2. Attain a grade point average in the major of 3.5.
  3. Complete two upper-division courses designated as honors courses: IDS 300W and IDS 493.
  4. Complete at least 60 credits at Old Dominion University, 54 of which must be in grade-point graded courses.

An application for departmental honors must be provided by the student for approval by the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs.

Four-Year Plan - IDS - Leadership Major - BS

This is a suggested curriculum plan to complete this degree program in four years.  Please consult information in this Catalog, Degree Works, and your academic advisor for more specific information on course requirements for this degree.


IDS 300W. Interdisciplinary Theory and Concepts. 3 Credits.

An examination of the history, concepts and application of interdisciplinary study. This course includes an analysis of similarities and differences in academic disciplines and the application of interdisciplinary approaches to a specific topic of study. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisites: a grade of C or better in ENGL 211C, ENGL 221C or ENGL 231C.

IDS 307T. Digital Writing. 3 Credits.

This course introduces students to issues of writing in various digital environments like web pages, email, blogs, wikis, and discussion boards. It also introduces fundamentals of hypertext authoring, digital and visual rhetoric, and image manipulation. Prerequisites: ENGL 110C and ENGL 211C or ENGL 221C or ENGL 231C.

IDS 368. Internship in Interdisciplinary Studies. 1-6 Credits.

An opportunity to integrate service and applied learning experience with interdisciplinary perspectives. Prerequisite: junior standing and permission of individualized interdisciplinary studies program coordinator.

IDS 369. Internship in Sustainability and Conservation Leadership. 3-6 Credits.

As part of the Sustainability and Conservation Leadership minor, this graded internship will provide an opportunity to integrate service and applied learning experience with interdisciplinary perspectives. 300 hours are required for the 3-credit option, and 600 hours are required for the 6-credit option. Prerequisites: BIOL 466W/OEAS 466W/IDS 466W and BIOL 467/OEAS 467/IDS 467.

IDS 397. Independent Study. 1-6 Credits.

IDS 398. Independent Study. 1-6 Credits.

IDS 400/500. Study Abroad. 0 Credits.

IDS 466W. Introduction to Mitigation and Adaptation Studies. 3 Credits.

Students will be introduced to the science underpinning mitigation of human-induced changes in the Earth system, including but not limited to climate change and sea level rise, and adaptation to the impacts of these changes. The course will cover the environmental hazards and the opportunities and limitations for conservation, mitigation and adaptation. This is a writing intensive course. Cross listed with BIOL 466W and OEAS 466W. Prerequisites: BIOL 291 or permission of instructor.

IDS 467. Sustainability Leadership. 3 Credits.

In this class, students will discover what makes a leader for sustainability. They will consider a range of global and local crises from a leadership point of view in the context of sustainability science, which addresses the development of communities in a rapidly changing social, economic, and environmental system-of-systems environment. The course will be based on taking a problem-motivated and solution-focused approach to the challenges considered. The course includes a service learning project focusing on a leadership experience in solving a real-world environmental problem. Prerequisite: BIOL 466W or OEAS 466W or IDS 466W.

IDS 493. IDS Electronic Portfolio Project. 3 Credits.

The preparation of an electronic portfolio integrating the student's academic study, work experiences, skill identification and work products. Alternative formats are used for varying uses of the portfolio. Prerequisites: IDS 300W or permission of the instructor and senior standing.

IDS 494. Entrepreneurship in Interdisciplinary Studies. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to help students enhance their personal and professional development through innovation guided by faculty members and professionals. It offers students an opportunity to integrate disciplinary theory and knowledge through developing a nonprofit program, product, business, or other initiative. The real-world experiences that entrepreneurships provide will help students understand how academic knowledge leads to transformations, innovations, and solutions to different types of problems. Prerequisite: IDS 300W and approval of the program coordinator.

IDS 495. Topics in Integrative Studies. 3 Credits.

Focused study of selected topics linking perspectives, research and applications from a variety of disciplines. Emphasis is on disciplinary synthesis. Prerequisite: IDS 300W.

IDS 497. IDS Individualized Senior Project. 3 Credits.

This course is a vehicle for the execution of the senior project requirement of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. The project will be negotiated between the student, faculty sponsors, and the program. Open only to individualized integrative studies majors. Prerequisites: IDS 300W, permission of the instructor and an approved individualized integrative studies curriculum plan.