The Beginner's Guide to Different Types of Business Degrees
By Brianna Flavin on 11/14/2023
One of the tricky things about studying business is how universal the field is. "Business" as a term covers basically every industry.
And business degree options are so vast, anyone considering a bachelor's degree in business needs to scope out their choices first. If that's what brought you here, you're in the right place!
Whether you're introverted, creative, precise or analytical—whether you like to plan and envision or dig into numbers, there’s a business degree field that fits you. Your next step is choosing between the many different types of business degrees available to you.
With so many specializations within business degree programs, it can be a bit daunting to decide which path to choose. To help you decipher the diversity, we’re breaking down the most popular business majors so you can decide which one matches your career aspirations.
Read on—and see which business degree appeals to you most!
9 Types of business degrees to consider
When evaluating the best business degrees for you, it’s helpful to have an idea of the courses and outcomes associated with each. Familiarizing yourself with these common business degrees will help you narrow your options.
Love numbers? Have an eye for detail?
If you study accounting, you will learn about budgets, tax law, financial documentation, the power of accounting in a company, and so much more.
Business majors who choose an accounting degree will gain skills they can apply in any type of organization.
And--accounting students can pursue different types of accounting, audit or tax-related positions within a variety of organizations. The career options for accountants are pretty fascinating. For more on that, check out Accounting Career Paths: The Number Cruncher's Guide.
Common accounting courses
- Cost accounting
- Financial analysis
Potential accounting job titles
Check out our article " Accounting vs. Computer Science: Analyzing These In-Demand Careers".
Think you have the creativity to develop an ad that cuts through the clutter and sticks in the mind of a potential customer?
Do you love brainstorming ways to get the word out or researching how people use persuasive language, color or timing to appeal to consumers?
With a marketing degree you’ll learn about what makes people tick, how we make purchasing decisions and how to best reach a target audience. This is a great choice if you’re looking for a way to leverage your creative abilities in the world business.
Common marketing courses
- Digital marketing
- Consumer behavior
- Marketing communications
Potential marketing job titles
- Marketing specialist
- Marketing research analyst
- Digital content manager
3. Business management or business administration
A good manager can impact everything in their company. Whether you oversee a team of five or a company of 500, a degree in business management will give you a solid foundation in accounting, sales, operations and organizational leadership.
At the graduate level, a business administration degree (Master of Business Administration) will build and refine upper-level management skills, teaching the skills executive professionals need to run a successful business.
With these programs, you’ll be better-equipped to lead people. These business degree options are perfect for people who want to advance into leadership.
Common business management courses
- Business ethics
- Operations management
- Organizational leadership
Potential business management job titles
- Sales manager
- Account manager
Economics majors learn about economic principles and theory, including the use of math and data analysis. An economics degree can help prepare you for analyzing and forecasting economic trends in order to improve business operations and performance.
Common economics courses
- Business statistics
Potential economics job titles
- Budget analyst
- Contract specialist
Does the stock market interest you? Or are you more interested in how strong financial principles can keep a business strong through troubled times? Do you want to get a better look at how money changes things?
Studying finance will give you a broad range of skills in financial analysis, economics, statistics and portfolio management. A finance degree program will help you pursue opportunities in finance sectors as well as accounting or investment areas.
Common finance courses
- Financial modeling
- Portfolio management
- Business law
Potential finance job titles
- Financial analyst
- Financial advisor
- Financial manager
6. Healthcare management
Healthcare is so complex, and so different from other industries that there are tons of business degree programs who train students specifically for careers managing healthcare institutions.
With rising concerns about how healthcare organizations can reach a more sustainable future, excellent professionals in healthcare management are more important now than ever before.3
A business major in a healthcare management program will learn how to help a healthcare facility run smoothly and profitably. With leadership strategies designed to address the unique challenges and intricacies of healthcare, you'll develop skills to protect the facilities and providers that save lives.
Common healthcare management courses
- Healthcare operations
- Healthcare law and ethics
- Healthcare financial management
Potential healthcare management job titles
- Health services manager
- Clinic manager
It's a whole branch of business, and it's pretty fascinating. If you've never considered healthcare management before, check out What Can You Do With a Healthcare Management Degree? The Business Behind the Medicine for a deeper dive.
7. Human resources (HR) and organizational leadership
This field is all about how to recruit, train, retain and manage employees. A human resources manager might love working with people--or they might love the numbers and statistics side of HR. The professionals who lead an organization go by many titles. There's a ton to explore in this field.
Whether it’s helping employees navigate their benefits or helping secure the top talent needed for business growth, this field relies on understanding how people work and powerful communication.
With a Human Resources (HR) degree, you'll learn about labor practices and business law in addition to organizational development and resources planning and training.
At the graduate level, a Master of Human Resources Management degree can help prepare you for senior-level HR management roles.
Common human resources courses
- Human resource management
- Organizational development
- Human resource recruitment
Potential human resources job titles
- HR generalist
- Benefits specialist
8. Public relations4
Public relations (PR) professionals interact with the public on behalf of the organization they represent. To succeed in this role, you must be an excellent communicator and business strategist.
Majoring in PR will teach you the principles of strategic communication, community event planning and how to manage relationships with news media.
Common public relations courses
- Public relations writing
- Mass media law
- Social media strategy
Potential public relations job titles
- PR manager
- Event coordinator
- Social media supervisor
9. Supply chain management
Ever wonder how the products you order online end up on your doorstep within days? Logistics is one of the best-kept secrets of the business world. Logistics and supply chain management careers are all about assembling and protecting the intricate puzzle of how goods or parts move across the world.
A supply chain management degree will prepare you to handle the intricacies of managing a global supply chain (and all of the moving parts that come with it). If you've never heard of these roles before, take a closer look at What Can You Do With a Supply Chain Management Degree? 8 Careers to Consider.
Common supply chain management courses
- Inventory management
- Supply chain risk
- International business
Potential supply chain management job titles
- Logistics analyst
- Operations manager
Find the best business degree for you
Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of business degrees and the career opportunities associated with each, it’s time for you to do some self-evaluation. Do any of the specializations above match your skills and interests?
If you're drawn to a certain area of business, you might also have the option to choose the level of your education. Many business programs can come as an associate degree, a bachelor's degree or a master's degree.
These different levels typically represent how much time and tuition you will invest in your education--as well as which types of careers the program will prepare you for. Associate degree programs are typically shorter than Bachelor's degree programs, for example. But higher levels of education will also prepare you for higher levels of employment in the field.
If you research the types of business degrees that most appealed to you, you can find out what levels of education are available and what types of careers they will prepare you for. Many business programs are also offered online.
Get all those details, along with tuition, timing and more at the Rasmussen University Business Degrees page.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2013. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2023.
1 Rasmussen University's Accounting Certificate, Accounting Associate's degree and Accounting Bachelor's degrees are not designed to prepare graduates for any state-issued professional license or certification. Rasmussen University's Accounting Certificate, Accounting Associate's and Accounting Bachelor's programs do not meet all educational prerequisites for licensure as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in any state. For further information on professional licensing requirements, please contact the appropriate board or agency in your state of residence.<
2 Rasmussen University does not offer any programs in Economics
3 Addie Fleron and Shubham Singhal, The gathering storm: The uncertain future of US healthcare, 2022, McKinsey & Company, [accessed 11/3/2023] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare/our-insights/the-gathering-storm-the-uncertain-future-of-us-healthcare
4 Rasmussen University does not offer any programs in Public Relations