Certificate program replaces business minor

Even the most liberal of
liberal arts majors would
benefit from knowing a little about accounting when tax season comes.

This coming semester, the university will offer a 15-credit-hour general business certificate program.

Jacqueline Nelson, senior director of Undergraduate Affairs in the Muma College of Business, said the certificate program is aimed at non-business majors.

“By the end of it, students should have a good context of what business is,” she said. “It really should give them a leg up in the (employment) process.”

The general business program replaces the business administration minor, which the university stopped offering this fall. 

“Students who took the business minor were sitting in classes with all business majors,” she said. “We didn’t find this to be very successful.”

Before, business minors fell behind when taking classes such as Principles of Finance, which was meant for business majors who had already taken two economic classes and two accounting classes, Nelson said.

So instead, Nelson said the classes taken for the certificate are focused on general ideas of business that are amicable with all majors. 

“It wasn’t designed to be in-depth,” she said. “It’s designed to give students that little bit of knowledge when going out into the workforce.”

While the minor included 24 credit hours, students who get the certificate will only be required take 15 credits hours worth of classes. 

“Twenty-four credits was a lot,” she said. “We rather have something that more people will take that is still meaningful.”

Classes in the certificate program include Computers in Business, Basic Marketing, Principles of Management, Accounting for non-Business Majors and Finance for non-Business Majors.

“I’m confident that whoever teaches those classes will have a focus on their true audience,” Nelson said. “The instructors are going to deliver the course at an eye level instead of down in the weeds.”

While the program can be completed in two semesters, Nelson said she recommended taking it one semester at a time. 

All classes will be online and none of the program’s classes have prerequisites except the capstone course, Finance for non-Business Majors. Nelson said interested students may register online without having to speak to an adviser.

“For interview purposes, we wanted students to speak intelligently, relative to what may come up in a conversation with an employer,” she said. 

Nelson said the classes will teach just enough for anyone to thrive in a corporate world by empathizing with management and having mandatory computer skills.

“In almost any job, you need some business background even if you have to learn it on the job,” she said. “This shows a student is intuitive enough to recognize it’s a good thing to have in their pocket.”

The skills learned can apply outside of the workforce too, Nelson said.

“I cannot imagine not having a deep knowledge of everything that goes on my life,” she said. “Your finances, your banking and all of those daily things are so essential.”

Nelson said she hoped those who go through the program could even come back to school to pursue a master’s degree in business, with the certificate on their transcript when applying.

“Taking one finance or one accounting course is not going to make you proficient in those areas, but it’s a start and you will be ahead of the game,” she said.