Prerequisites for business education programs vary from school to school, but often include solid academic achievement, preparatory coursework and, in the case of postgraduate programs, documented work experience. Many business programs demand evidence of an individual’s ability to handle strenuous business coursework by insisting that they complete lower-level coursework, pass examinations or earn preliminary degrees in specific subject areas. Postgraduate schools likewise establish prerequisites for business programs that help to ensure that students are not only capable of completing the program but also benefitting from it. Applicants to master’s and doctoral programs may be required to demonstrate a connection between their academic interests and their current careers.
Many undergraduate degree programs in business do not have open admissions policies and do not permit students to declare a business major prior to meeting certain requirements. Instead, students who are interested in earning an undergraduate degree in a business-related major may be required to declare themselves as “pre-business” majors and then formally apply to the business programs after a year or two of education. Prerequisites for business degrees at the undergraduate level may include a specific level of academic performance: in the United States, this may mean that a business department establishes a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) for students who wish to enter the program. In the United Kingdom, students may need to hold a diploma or foundation degree before admission to a business bachelor’s degree program.
In addition to establishing academic achievement standards, prerequisites for a business degree may also include the completion of a specific series of courses. Schools may require students to complete courses in mathematics, economics and communications prior to permitting them to enter an undergraduate degree program. Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs may likewise require applicants to have completed math and economics courses prior to matriculation, especially if the applicant did not major in business as an undergraduate.
Those who wish to earn a postgraduate degree in business may find that admission policies can be very specific, particularly if the applicant applies to a program in leadership, entrepreneurship or executive studies. Prerequisites for business school applicants at the postgraduate level may include an evaluation of an applicant’s career history. He or she may be required to have several years of experience in the business world and, in the case of some programs that are designed to train executives, may need to show that he or she has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his or her career.