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2023-2024 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies Adult Degree Completion

Students who choose the integrative studies major may custom-design an individualized plan of study in consultation with their advisor or choose an existing emphasis. The flexibility of this degree program also allows students to earn additional credentials as part of their degree program. Examples include certificates in business fundamentals, leadership, intercultural communications, project management, applied data analytics, and a badge in intercultural competence. Study plan forms and sample areas of focus are located on the integrative studies program website under Student Resources.

Integrative studies is housed in the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies Department (IRIS), which is a unit committed to supporting access to higher education for all learners. Courses are offered in multiple formats including traditional face-to-face, hybrid, and online classes. The department also serves as the academic home for the LEADS (Lifelong Educational Attainment for Diverse Students) program, an accelerated, primarily online degree completion program. For more information on LEADS, visit

Students who choose the integrative studies major must each individually design their own study plan and area of focus. Study plan forms and sample areas of focus are located on the departmental website under Student Resources. The Bachelor of Science degree in integrative studies consists of 56 credits; the Bachelor of Arts degree consists of up to 59 credits. Credits are distributed as follows:

  • Core courses (18 credits)
  • B.S. or B.A. requirements (9 credits)
  • Area of focus (18 credits), of which 15 need to be at the 300-level or above and may include:
    • one of four certificates and/or badge listed previously
    • OR may be custom-designed to suit individual student interests/needs
    • OR Emphasis
  • Contextual electives (9 credits)
  • Application and Synthesis (5 credits)
    • Internship (minimum of 2 credits)
      OR practicum (minimum of 2 credits)
    • Senior seminar (3 credits)

Requirements for a Major in Integrative Studies

Core Courses

There are 18 credits required. All majors are required to take six core courses that introduce them to the basic principles of liberal education.

AND at least one ethics course from the following:

B.S. or B.A. Degree

There are six credits required.

B.A. Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts degree requires the completion of a third semester of language proficiency.

B.S. Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Science degree requires the completion of the following (6 credits):

AND one of the following, relevant to area of focus or emphasis (3 credits)


Applied Data Analysis Emphasis

The applied data analytics certificate focuses on understanding how to interpret, use, and apply data and statistics in the workplace. Students learn foundational computing and statistical skills like visualization, predictive analytics tools, and computer coding in Python and R. Certificates demonstrate the skills necessary to pursue a career path. Earning this undergraduate certificate in applied data analytics will enhance student's career skills by using data to

  • improve decision-making;
  • enhance productivity; and
  • predict and define emerging trends.

Requirements Courses (18 credits)

Intercultural Communications Emphasis

Required courses (14 credits)

Electives (6 credits)

Students are required to select one course from each category as follows.

Media, Modes, and Methods (choose one)

Theory Into Practice (choose one)

Leadership Emphasis

Core Courses (6 credits)

Electives (6 credits)

Students are required to select two courses:

Project Management Emphasis

There are 18 credits required for the emphasis in leadership. Integrative studies majors may elect to complete their emphasis in leadership by taking 18 credits in coursework that develops leadership competencies. It provides the basis for long-term personal and professional growth through studying the principles and practices of engaged leadership.

Required courses:

The following courses can count toward the leadership emphasis:

The project management emphasis integrates the essential Project Management Body of Knowledge skills, principles, and practices; with cutting edge methodology, team-building skills, and best practices. Students work in teams to effectively initiate, plan, execute, control, and bring closure to real-world project(s) using MS Project and/or other enterprise project management software.

Required Courses (12 Credits)

Business Fundamentals Emphasis

Requirements Courses (15 credits)

Self-designed Emphasis

Students have the option of working in consultation with their advisor to develop an individualized area of focus comprised of six or more courses drawn from the whole Grand Valley curriculum. At least 15 of the 18 credits in the area of focus must be at the 300-level or above. Typically, areas of focus are organized around either a major issue in human life or an interdisciplinary area of study. For example, a student may consider concentrating study within an upper-level issues area to complete an area of focus in globalization, human rights, health, innovation, information and technology, sustainability, or identity. Other recent areas of focus include, social relations, gender justice, American studies, business and society, peace studies, oppression and human rights, scientific culture and the humanities, cultural studies, business and economics, humanities, technical and scientific communication, political economy, childhood development and literature, and management and society.

The flexibility of the area of focus also allows students to earn one of several certificates or a badge while completing their degree requirements. Courses completed as part of these certificates or badges are counted toward the area of focus requirements. Options include: leadership certificate, global communications certificate, project management certificate, business fundamentals certificate, applied data analytics certificate, and/or a digital badge in intercultural competence.

Contextual Electives

There are nine contextual elective credits required. The program also emphasizes the importance of integration in education, of seeing how things fit together, including the integration of liberal and career studies. To these ends, all majors are required to select a body of at least three elective courses. Students may select their electives from across the entire Grand Valley curriculum. Students could consider structuring their elective as a career component to their study plan, including areas such as business, computer science, and international study.

Senior Seminar and Internship/Practicum

Five or more credits are required. The required internship/practicum and senior seminar provide opportunities for students to apply theoretical knowledge to life issues outside the classroom and to synthesize the components of their major. INT 490 or INT 491, the internship or practicum, allows students to put into practice their ideas and explore the applications of their focus of study. Guidelines for an internship or practicum are on the department website under Advising Resources for Students. INT 495 - Senior Seminar, or Capstone, asks students to prepare/share their senior theses in which they reconsider the central issues they have engaged in the major.

Admission to the Integrative Studies Major and Submission of the Study Plan

To be admitted to the major, students must consult with an advisor and prepare an approved study plan that lists the courses included in the emphasis or focus area and the electives or be enrolled through the LEADS program. See departmental website for sample study plans and areas of focus as well as information about LEADS. Study plans are submitted to the chair for review and approval. Changes in study plans must be made in consultation with advisors and approved by the chair.

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.