Graduation cap on column surrounded by books and bar chart graphic illustration.

Can I Get a Business Master’s Without a Business Bachelor’s?

Monday, June 26, 2023

The answer is yes—as long as you meet the admissions requirements for the program you’re interested in.

This is true even if you’ve just received your bachelor’s degree and have little to no work experience. In fact, there are a lot of great reasons to get a master’s degree early in your career.

Plus, your non-business background may help set you apart and prepare you for interdisciplinary career opportunities. For example, if you get a master’s degree in accounting and have a background in chemistry, you could stand out for positions in something like pharmaceutical accounting.


Why don't Carlson School graduate programs require a business bachelor's degree?

1. We value diversity.

The Carlson School’s admissions team recruits students from around the world to put together cohorts and classes with wide-ranging backgrounds, experiences, nationalities, and interests. We believe this helps our students:

  • Develop the intercultural skills needed to succeed in today’s globalized business environment
  • Have richer learning experiences with access to more varying perspectives
  • Discover, understand, and utilize their unique point of view and skills

2. Some programs include foundational coursework.

For example, the Carlson School’s Human Resources and Industrial Relations master’s program requires courses that help you build your business acumen, understand the role of statistics in business, and have a foundation in all aspects of the field of human resources. The only prerequisite is you’ve taken a class in microeconomics, but you can be admitted before doing so.

For other programs with a comprehensive curriculum, like our Business Analytics master’s program, there may be additional technical admissions requirements to meet. But these requirements are a great opportunity to learn more about the field and to see if you enjoy that type of work.


What business master's degree can I get with a bachelor's degree in...?

To help you consider your options, here are some of the common undergraduate majors our students have. But think of the table as a starting point. Each year, our programs receive applications and admit students from other non-business majors beyond what’s listed in the table.

You’re encouraged to apply to any of our master’s programs as long as you meet the prerequisites.

Master's ProgramCommon non-business undergrad majors
  • Economics
  • Math
Business Analytics
  • Computer Science / Programming
  • Data Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Statistics
  • Sociology with quantitative focus
Business Taxation
  • Economics
  • Math
  • Economics
  • Math
  • Statistics
Human Resources & Industrial Relations
  • Anthropology
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Art/Art History
  • Communications (journalism, public relations)
  • Economics
  • English
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • Math


There are master’s business degrees that prioritize work experience. For example, at the Carlson School, the following programs recommend or require some full-time work experience:

However, like the programs listed in the table above, what you majored in during undergrad matters less as long as you meet the prerequisites.


How can I prepare for a master's business degree without having a bachelor's degree in the same subject?

Here are a few things you can do to explore your interests and prepare to switch fields for grad school:

  • Take classes in a relevant subject or ones that will meet program prerequisites
  • Complete a personal project related to the field you’re interested in
  • Join a club - some undergraduate academics clubs in the business school do not require you to be a business major or minor to join
  • Do an internship in your field of interest
  • Talk to an admissions counselor for the program you’re interested in for more information and guidance

These recommendations aren’t just for you to meet prerequisites and demonstrate interest. They also allow you to understand what the field is and discover if you are interested enough to pursue it at the master’s level.

Graduate business programs are rigorous and meant to prepare you for a successful career in that field. Even if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in business, that shouldn’t stop you from getting a master’s business degree if you’re interested.


Need more guidance?