A young woman speaking while her classmates, seated in a row alongside her, look on

The Certificate in Business (CIB) program provides non-business students the opportunity to earn a concentration in a clearly defined academic program in business. The coursework allows students to develop a foundational understanding of business and apply this to their specific field, such as international studies or engineering. In addition to careers related to their own fields, students who earn the certificate have also found job opportunities in management, marketing, and other business fields.

How to Get in

The Certificate in Business (CIB) is for non-business students only. An application is required to be accepted into the CIB Program. Not all students are admitted, so it is important to make your application as strong as possible. There are no specific courses that must be taken before applying. If a student chooses to take CIB courses before being admitted, the courses will fulfill requirements after admission.


To be eligible to apply, students must meet the following requirements:

  • 24 degree credits completed at time of application (sophomore standing)
  • 12 GPA credits (transfer students must complete a minimum of 12 credits at UW–Madison)
  • 3.00 minimum cumulative GPA (This GPA does not guarantee admission to the CIB)
  • Grades and GPAs from transfer coursework do not count toward CIB admission
  • Currently enrolled UW–Madison student
  • Undergraduate, degree-seeking student (non-business)


The application is available the first Friday of the fall semester and due the fourth Friday of the fall semester. Students must complete the application in one sitting.

The certificate in business application requires an essay on behalf of the applicant. 

Admission decisions are based primarily on cumulative UW–Madison GPA and fit for the program as evidenced through the applicant's essay. All admission decisions are final and there is no appeal process for denied students.

Admitted students will be charged a $150 tuition differential until degree completion/graduation. The tuition differential provides CIB students access to all School of Business resources, including career coaches and academic advisors within the Undergraduate Program.


The Certificate in Business (CIB) program consists of six courses (four core courses and two additional breadth courses), for a total of 18 credits. Students are also responsible for any pre-requisite courses needed for core or breadth courses. Specific pre-requisites for each course can be found by clicking on the hyperlinked courses below or by searching for the course in Guide.

Students must take at least 12 of the 18 required credits in residence at UW–Madison. Study abroad courses taken through a UW–Madison-sponsored program will count toward the 12 credits in residence.

Students must earn a grade of "C" or better in all required courses for the CIB.

Required Courses

ACCT I S 300 Accounting Principles 13
or ACCT I S 100 Introductory Financial Accounting
FINANCE/ECON 300 Introduction to Finance3
MARKETNG 300 Marketing Management3
M H R 300 Managing Organizations3
Breadth Course 23
Breadth Course 23
Total Credits 318

CIB students are strongly encouraged to take ACCT I S 300, unless ACCT I S 100 is required by their major.  Please note, however, that ACCT I S 100 is a requirement for many other upper-level accounting and finance courses.  Students planning to take additional accounting or finance courses, should consult with the CIB advisor.


Breadth Requirement information:

  • Breadth courses must be at least 3 credits
  • Breadth courses must be School of Business courses (or courses cross-listed with School of Business). Breadth courses may be from the same department as the core courses
  • Breadth courses must be from two different School of Business departments (or cross-listed with two different School of Business departments)
  • Courses taken at another institution must be directly equivalent to a UW–Madison business course and title (i.e., not elective credit)

Due to pre-requisites for some of the required courses, total credits to complete the Certificate in Business may be more than 18.


The following courses may not be used to satisfy the CIB Breadth Courses requirement:

GEN BUS 306 Business Analytics I3
GEN BUS 310 Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors3
GEN BUS 311 Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors3
GEN BUS 365 Contemporary Topics3
ACCT I S 211 Introductory Managerial Accounting3
Any business course numbered 399
Any business course cross-listed with a foreign language

Certificate Completion Requirement

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

Learning Outcomes

  1. (Accounting) Apply accounting principles to develop decision-useful accounting information that supports implementation of organizational strategy.
  2. (Finance) Know and have a deep understanding of the net present value model and its components, and be able to apply the model to the valuation of assets.
  3. (Management and Human Resources) Know and be able to illustrate how organizational success is a function of strategy, organizational culture, human resource management, leadership, teams, structure, managing change, and entrepreneurship.
  4. (Marketing) Answer the “big questions” of the marketing planning process by explaining and demonstrating mastery of: 1) why marketing is a strategy and not a slogan, 2) how marketing is personal, 3) the importance of balancing risk, reward, cost, and time to optimize the 4 p’s (product, price, place, and promotion), and 4) how marketing is a conduit between customer needs and company wants.

Advising and Careers

Students admitted to the Certificate in Business (CIB) will be assigned to the Business Certificate Advising and Career committees. Further information can be found on the School of Business website.