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A business administration degree provides students with a comprehensive understanding of business processes that contribute to the success of an organization. It covers a wide range of subjects, including marketing, human resources, mathematics, law, finance, and ethics. Graduates work as marketing managers, financial analysts, operations managers, business consultants, and human resources specialists.

Students who graduate with a business administration degree have a greater chance of earning a higher salary than the average worker. However, wages will vary depending on the position, applicant’s work experience, and location. The annual median pay for a financial analyst is $96,220, whereas the yearly median salary for a human resources specialist is $64,240.

Business administration programs require between 60 and 180 credits to graduate. Associate degree programs require two years of full-time study, while bachelor’s programs take four years. Students can expect to pay $16,618 annually for tuition and fees. If room and board are required, an average of $12,415 will be added annually.

How to Choose a Business Administration Program

Choose your area of study

There are three types of business administration degrees: associate, bachelor’s, and master’s. The degrees differ in their length, curriculum, and career outlooks.

An associate degree is an entry-level program covering the basics of business administration. It generally takes two years of full-time study to complete, allowing students to enter the workforce faster. Students with associate degrees pursue positions such as marketing associate and human resources assistant.

A bachelor’s degree in business administration typically requires four years of full-time study and is available as a Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Science. It covers the foundations of business administration and prepares students for managerial or administrative positions. Students can choose from specific focuses, including marketing, operations, and finance.

Students who wish to pursue executive or advanced positions in business can complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This post-graduate degree builds on the foundations of a bachelor’s degree to provide an understanding of advanced business principles and leadership skills.

Research schools and programs

Begin the application process by researching accredited institutions and programs. Accreditation is given to schools that meet a quality standard for education. Look for a business administration program that’s accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). Programs with accreditation from one of these organizations offer students a greater chance of being hired for positions, earning a higher salary, and receiving government grants.

Take advantage of available resources to learn about the schools and programs you’re considering. Browse the school and program websites to learn about the curriculum, costs, and admission requirements. Then, visit the school or follow its social media channels to discover the culture, housing options, and campus lifestyle.

Prepare for tests and applications

To apply for an undergraduate degree in business administration, submit a combination of recent transcripts, your SAT or ACT scores, an application form, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay. Exact requirements will vary depending on the institution and program.

A Master of Business Administration requires the applicant to complete a four-year accredited program and submit a personal essay, transcripts, letters of recommendation, GMAT or GRE score, and resume.

Speak with an admissions advisor before submitting your application. They’ll ensure you have all the required documents and discuss any application fees you may incur.

Select your program

When it comes time to decide on your program, narrow down your choices by considering your circumstances, career goals, and logistical needs, including:

  • Program length
  • Cost
  • Housing options
  • School culture
  • Learning options
  • Career outlook

To set yourself up for success, choose the program that aligns with your lifestyle and academic needs. If you need help deciding, contact an academic advisor, who will review your choices and help you find the best fit.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

To determine if you’ll need assistance paying for your degree, create a budget outlining all of your living and academic costs. Include tuition, fees, supplies, housing, transportation, food, and extracurriculars. Complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) to find out how much federal, state, and school financial aid you’re eligible to receive, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study funds. If you’re currently working, speak with your employer about any tuition assistance they may offer.

Best 50 Accredited Business Administration Programs

Best Business Administration Degree Programs _2024 badge
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Binghamton University
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Thomas Edison State University
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University at Albany
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Metropolitan State University
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Northern Illinois University
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University of New Orleans
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Southern Oregon University
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Lindenwood University
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Rutgers University - Camden School of Business
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Maryville University
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Davenport University
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University of Illinois Springfield
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DePaul University
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Rider University
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American University
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Fordham University
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Colorado Christian University
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McKendree University
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Lewis University
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Pepperdine University
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Milligan University
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Stevenson University

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

Business administration degree programs are available at the undergraduate level. This list examines various programs, including ones that offer Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees. We reviewed programs that have on-campus, online, and hybrid learning options.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) are three of the primary accreditation organizations for business administration programs. Accreditation is given to schools and programs that have a high academic standard.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Business Administration Program?

A business administration degree teaches students the operations and processes that contribute to business success. The first two years are often filled with foundational courses that introduce the basics of business administration. The following years include advanced courses and electives that align with the student’s chosen specialization.

Students will cover a wide range of topics related to business administration, including sales, economics, finance, accounting, management, marketing, and operations. The program will employ various learning methods, including lectures, case studies, simulations, essays, exams, and real-world experiences.

Potential courses you’ll take in a business administration program

  • Financial Accounting. Students are introduced to accounting processes and financial statements. They will learn about the accounting cycle, special journals, inventory, payroll, merchandising, and statement preparation.
  • Leadership. This course examines the qualities and skills required of a good leader. Students will explore personality styles, values, and emotional intelligence and how they affect leaders in the workplace.
  • Consumer Behavior. Students will examine how consumers make decisions in the marketplace. They will learn the effects of marketing on consumer behavior, along with group influence, consumerism, and branding.
  • International Business. This course examines how businesses operate in a global context, including the cultural, financial, legal, political, and economic factors that impact them.

Business Administration Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a business administration degree program?

To apply for a business administration program, review the school’s website, where the application details are listed. You will likely need to submit your most recent transcripts, test scores, a personal essay, letters of recommendation, and a detailed application form. Speak with an admissions counselor before submitting your application to make sure you have all the correct materials.

How much does a business administration degree cost?

The average annual cost for a bachelor’s degree in business administration is $16,618, but the total cost of a degree will vary depending on the student’s location, school, program, and living expenses. Housing, food, transportation, supplies, and entertainment are additional expenses that will affect the total cost of the program.

How long does it take to earn a business administration degree?

Most business administration programs require between two and four years of full-time study. Depending on the program and degree type, you will need to complete between 60 and 180 credits. Some schools also offer online or asynchronous learning, where students can complete the program at their own speed.