No business degree? No problem.

It happens all the time. You earn a bachelor's degree in one area, and find your calling in another. So how do you fill in the gaps?

There's a lot of pride involved in working your way up in an area where you don't have formal education. Maybe you earned an anthropology degree, but numbers pique your interest more than bones. Or perhaps your English Lit degree landed you by accident in a marketing job, and you can't imagine doing anything else. It's time to layer solid business fundamentals on top of your non-business background.

The Business Fundamentals Certificate is a five-course program designed to give you a broad introduction to the core principles of business. You'll have a chance to dive into the disciplines: marketing, management, finance, and accounting. You choose your fifth and final course; either business analytics or strategy.

Credits you earn can count toward an MBA through the Iowa MBA Program, which has a separate application process.

At a glance

Most courses are fully online. Some in-person courses are available in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

Complete five courses (four required courses + one elective)

Primarily 8- and 11-week courses, meeting one night a week, no Fridays or weekends.

Time to complete
As little as 1 year

$10,500 (Five courses at $2,100 each) for the 2020-2021 academic year

No entrance exam required. See details.

Business Fundamentals Certificate courses

Required course

  • Marketing Management—MBA:8110
  • Management in Organizations—MBA:8120
  • Corporate Financial Reporting—MBA:8140 
  • Managerial Finance—MBA:8180

Elective courses (select one)

  • Business Analytics—MBA:8150 or BAIS:9100
  • Foundations in Strategy—MBA:8300

Note: If you waive any of the required courses based on already-completed coursework, you’ll need to take an additional elective in its place to earn the certificate.


You can start the Business Fundamentals Certificate in any semester. No business prerequisites are needed, and there's no entrance exam. See application deadlines and minimum requirements on the Admission page.

Go to Admission