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Can I Get a Master's Degree in Any Field with a Bachelor's Degree in Business?

by Erica Loop

If you have a bachelor's degree in business and are considering a master's program in another field, chances are that you'll need to evaluate how well the two programs match up before applying. Although some master's-level programs don't require a specific undergraduate degree, others may only accept a bachelor's in a specific area. If this area isn't business, you may need to either start over or add on some prerequisite courses.

Bachelor's Basics

Not every bachelor's in business degree is exactly the same. Depending on the undergraduate institution, a business degree may include a general curriculum or a more specific concentration. The type of bachelor's in business that you get may affect the master's programs that you qualify for. For example, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School offers a Bachelor of Science in economics for their business students. Although this is a business degree, Wharton notes that 43 percent of the undergraduate's classes are taken outside of the school of business. Likewise, New York University's Stern School of Business has an undergraduate program that allows students to take business courses along with liberal arts and science classes.

Back to Business

The primary graduate degree that a bachelor's in business leads to is a Master of Business Administration. Although this isn't the only graduate program that business majors go into, a bachelor's in this area prepares students for application to an MBA program in ways that other degrees may not. MBA programs may only require a bachelor's degree, not specifically a bachelor's in business. For example, the University of Utah's graduate admissions department notes that MBA applicants must have a four-year bachelor's in any area, not necessarily business. That said, a bachelor's degree in business can show an admissions committee how serious you are about the field and give you a leg up in your MBA classes.

Minor Study

Although business may have been your college major, your minor can play into your graduate school decision. Completing a high percentage of coursework in another area, such as a minor, can provide you with the prerequisites you'll need for admissions to a non-business master's program. For example, Wharton's undergraduate curriculum's flexible options allow students to complete a minor in another area outside of the school of business -- such as arts and sciences, nursing, design engineering, education or communication.

Option Restrictions

Some master's programs aren't possibilities with a bachelor's in business, unless you receive a second degree or return to school to fulfill coursework requirements. While you'll find master's-level options -- such as education -- that allow any major to apply, some have a more specific focus. For example, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing's Master of Science in family primary care nurse practitioner only admits students who have a bachelor's in nursing.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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