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Business/Commerce, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Business/Commerce, General. A program that focuses on the general study of business, including the processes of interchanging goods and services (buying, selling and producing), business organization, and accounting as used in profit-making and nonprofit public and private institutions and agencies. The programs may prepare individuals to apply business principles and techniques in various occupational settings.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

Additional Information

For students considering commerce and business as a field of study, there are many choices to make regarding area of study, school, degree, and level of education.

Are you interested in commercial banking? Accounting? Advertising? Real estate? Travel and tourism?

There are hundreds of schools to choose from. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) alone has accredited 482 business programs.

There are a number of degrees and diplomas available, depending on your career goals. Some community colleges and universities offer certificates with one year or less of study. Some schools call their programs "commerce", while others use the term "business administration".

Associate's degree programs last at least two years. They are designed to prepare students for jobs, or allow them to transfer to a four-year bachelor's degree program.

Students in four-year bachelor's degree programs choose majors in specialties like accounting, finance and marketing.

Master's degree programs offer two more years of advanced study in subjects such as management. For instance, the MBA is a master's degree in business administration.

Business education doesn't have to stop at the MBA level. You can continue your studies in PhD programs in areas such as economics or management.

Students studying commerce take courses like accounting, marketing, personnel management, and finance. Students studying a field such as economics take classes like business economics, international trade and banking.

In a number of commerce-related fields, a bachelor's degree is the minimum. Increasingly, a master's degree is preferred.

Professor Ralph Welton of Clemson University in South Carolina says that in terms of income and opportunities, the relationship between two-year, four-year and master's degrees in business is like the relationship between the assembly line worker, the foreman, and the plant manager.

Look for high school courses that teach students to think logically and communicate with others, advises Welton.

"That could be a mathematics course where you had to do proofs; a science class where you had to design an experiment, draw and communicate your conclusions; or a literature class where you had to critically analyze a passage, draw conclusions and defend your answer."

Also, if your high school offers classes in areas such as accounting or marketing, take them.

In addition to tuition, other expenses include books and business attire for presentations and interviews.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Top Executives

Business Week Online
Keep up with the changing world of commerce

Business Professionals of America
"Today's students. Tomorrow's business professionals"


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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.