Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies - Professional Writing Major

Virginia Tucker Steffen, Program Coordinator and Advisor

The professional writing program produces graduates capable of moving into professional and technical writing fields. Students in the program complete a core of courses in technical writing as well as in business, communication, and human resources. The program is ideal for returning students already working who are interested in expanding their management skills and/or increasing their eligibility for promotion.

Some courses in the professional writing program are available online only.

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.

Course requirements are as follows.

Lower-Division General Education and Major Requirements

Written Communication *6
Oral Communication3
Language and Culture **0-6
Information Literacy and Research3
Human Creativity 3
Interpreting the Past3
Philosophy and Ethics ***0-3
The Nature of Science8
Impact of Technology ****
Human Behavior3
Total Hours35-44

Interdisciplinary Studies Core Courses required of all students (required grade of C or better in IDS 300W and C- or better in the remaining courses)

ENGL/IDS 307TDigital Writing (meets impact of technology requirement)3
IDS 300WInterdisciplinary Theory and Concepts *3
IDS 493IDS Electronic Portfolio Project *3
Total Hours9

Professional Writing Core Courses required of all students (required grade of C- or better)

ENGL 325Introduction to Rhetorical Studies3
ENGL 327WAdvanced Composition3
ENGL 334WTechnical Writing3
Total Hours9

Organizational Foundations (required grade of C- or better; meets upper-division general education)

Select three from the following:9
Introduction to Strategic Communications
Advanced Public Speaking
Professional Communication
Strategic Communications Writing
Interpersonal Communication in Organizations
Organizational Communication
Intercultural Communication
Computers in Society
Contemporary Organizations and Management
Business Communication
Organizational Behavior
Human Resources Management
Marketing Principles and Problems
Consumer Behavior
Multi-National Marketing
Business Ethics
Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Personnel Psychology
Human Factors
Organizational Psychology
Leadership Ethics
Digital Leadership
Total Hours9

Additional Hours in Professional Writing (required grade of C- or better)

Select three from the following: 9
Editing and Document Design
Aspects of the English Language
Client-Based Research Writing
Writing Internship
English Linguistics
Communication Across Cultures
Reporting and News Writing I
Public Relations
Topics in English
Writing in the Disciplines
Management Writing
Writing in Digital Spaces
Advanced Writing Internship
Language, Gender and Power
Advanced Public Relations
Editorial and Persuasive Writing
Media Law and Ethics
Topics in English
Total Hours9


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 with no grade less than C- in major courses, 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.

Four-Year Plan - IDS - Professional Writing - 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.