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 dive into business analytics or explore business strategy.

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

At a glance


All courses are offered both online and in-person in Cedar Rapids or Des Moines annually. 


Complete five courses (four required courses + one elective)


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

Time to complete

As little as 1 year


$11,250 (Five courses at $2,250 each) 


No entrance exam required.

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)

  • Data and Decisions—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 both elective courses listed above in its place to earn the certificate. Students admitted to the Business Fundamental Certificate may enroll in the courses listed above and do not have access to other courses offered through the MBA Program. If you are waived from two courses, you should take the other four courses listed above and choose between MBA:8160 Managerial Econ or MBA:8240 Operations and Supply Chain.

Take the next step

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 admissions