Launch, change, or grow your career by enrolling in a top-ranked, accelerated business degree program. Business consistently ranks as one of the most popular majors in the U.S. because it is so flexible and practical. Graduates can work across many different industries, doing sales, analysis, management, or executive leadership.

By accelerating your education, you either earn your bachelor’s degree in less than four years or you earn your bachelor’s plus your master’s degree in five years or less. A bachelor’s degree almost always requires 120 credits or more, and an accelerated program is no exception. Typically, these degree programs have more generous transfer policies, accept work or life experience for credit, and/or apply the credits earned from one course to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

An accelerated program can be a great choice for career switchers, younger students who already have clear career goals, or older students with established careers. Explore this guide to find out more about the top accelerated business degrees.

Featured Online Business Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Is an Accelerated Business Degree?

Business schools house accelerated degree programs to help students enter the workforce faster. Non-traditional students who have put their personal or professional lives on hold to pursue higher education may be particularly keen to take advantage of this opportunity. By reducing the number of required credits, accelerated degrees also help students save their tuition dollars.

Students with some work experience, an existing network, and an exceptional work ethic may be especially suited for an accelerated business degree. These programs either allow students to complete their bachelor’s degree in fewer than four years or permit students to earn a bachelor’s plus a master’s degree in five years. Many accelerated programs allow students to count credits toward both their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Often, these programs require enrollees to complete courses in 4-7 weeks instead of the traditional 15-week semester. These compressed courses allow students to work on their schedule, logging in and submitting assignments anytime. However, some accelerated programs enroll on-campus learners.

Courses, concentrations, and internship requirements are typically online as on campus. Students might concentrate in healthcare, analytic finance, global entrepreneurship, creative thinking and design industries, or another business-focused field.

Accelerated programs generally offer the same content and faculty as traditional degree programs, and schools do not add the word “accelerated” to transcripts or diplomas. However, graduates should not feel they must hide their academic experience from employers. Business leaders typically recognize the extra initiative, ambition, and work ethic required to complete an accelerated degree.

Top Colleges With Accelerated Business Degree Programs

We have compiled a list of nonprofit and for-profit institutions that offer accelerated business degree programs.

Accelerated Business Degrees
School Location Average Net Price*
Indiana University Bloomington, IN $16,234
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL $16,990
Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ $14,808
University of Chicago Chicago, IL $36,991
Cornell University Ithaca, NY $26,060
Source: NCES

*Average net price as of December 2023

Top Schools for Accelerated Business Degrees

Indiana University

Indiana University’s BS in business administration is offered 100% online. In this 120-credit program, students learn employer-friendly skills such as data analysis, communication, and presentation.

Courses include entrepreneurism, analytics and decision modeling, leadership and teamwork, and diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Applicants can transfer 60 credits from a two-year institution or up to 90 credits from a four-year college, meaning students can finish their degrees in a year. In-state students pay about $250 per credit, and out-of-state students pay about $365 per credit. The school maintains a rolling admissions deadline for this program.

Southern Illinois University

Students in the 100% online MBA at Southern Illinois University (SIU) can complete their 36-credit degree in 12 months. The program emphasizes the technical and behavioral components of managerial effectiveness.

The curriculum is divided between 24 credits of core courses and 12 credits of electives. Classes include corporate finance, accounting for MBAs, decision-making in organizations, and negotiation and interpersonal skills for managers.

Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or better and acceptable GRE or GMAT scores. SIU offers test waivers for qualifying enrollees. The program’s total tuition is about $18,941.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s bachelor’s in business with a concentration in business administration and a master’s in global management in five years. This accelerated program allows undergraduate students to take up to 12 graduate credits, which apply to both degrees.

The bachelor’s program requires a core of business courses plus 18 credits in the concentration. Courses include global supply chain operations, marketing and business performance, and principles of management and leadership.

Graduate concentrations include global affairs, public policy, and sustainable tourism. The program is available online and at several on-campus locations.

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago offers an accelerated MBA exclusively for its current undergraduates and recent alumni. Students apply six undergraduate courses toward their MBA, reducing their time in the program to 15 months.

Current students need at least two years of full-time, pre-college work experience. Graduates one year out from graduation may apply for the evening or weekend MBA, and graduates two or more years out apply for the full-time program.

UChicago’s MBA offers 14 concentrations, including healthcare, finance, and business analytics. According to the university, about 96% of graduates accept a job offer within three months of graduation.

Cornell University

Cornell University offers a five-year bachelor’s+ MBA for exceptional undergraduate students. In this program, students complete all their undergraduate requirements by the end of their third year, taking only graduate-level courses in their senior year. These courses count jointly as undergraduate electives and as MBA credits.

Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores at the end of their third year. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours of graduate-level coursework, including at least 25 credits of electives, and maintain an overall GPA of 2.7 or better in all business school coursework.

Is an Accelerated Business Degree Worth It?

Business is the third most popular undergraduate major in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In a business degree program, you can learn to start or manage a business or assume a leadership role in a corporation. In December 2023, Payscale reported that people with a bachelor’s degree in business earned an average salary of $78,000.

Professionals with graduate degrees may earn much more. For example, earning a business degree can help you get a job as a management analyst, financial manager, human resources director, or top-level executive, earning well over six figures.

Not only does the market value the skills and information you acquire in the business classroom, but you can also create and nurture a professional network through your education. Besides helping advance your career, networking provides great opportunities to exchange fresh ideas and best practices.

By accelerating your education, you can maximize the benefits of your degree while limiting the time you spend in school. You may also be able to cut down on costs. Accelerated degrees often reduce the number of credits required, consequently reducing tuition and other fees.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated Business Degrees

Are accelerated degrees more expensive?

No, accelerated degrees are not usually more expensive than traditional programs. In fact, by graduating quickly and taking fewer credits, you can save money. By pursuing a 4+1 bachelor-to-master program, students may also save on application fees, testing costs, and leveling courses.

How do accelerated degrees work?

Accelerated degree completion programs reduce your time to graduation through generous transfer policies, credit for life experience, and/or compressed schedules. Some schools allow students to count specific undergraduate courses toward both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. In these programs, students may finish two degrees in five years.

How do I know if a business degree is right for me?

If you aspire to own a business, serve in corporate management, or lead a nonprofit organization, a business degree can help you realize your ambition. Admission to a bachelor’s program usually requires a high school diploma or its equivalent, and graduate business schools expect generally a bachelor’s degree with a qualifying GPA.

What are the benefits of accelerated degree programs?

Accelerated degrees offer many benefits, including less time in school, a more flexible schedule, intensive and challenging classes, cost savings, and potentially easier access to graduate school. While an accelerated degree program is not for everyone, it can help you save time and money on the way to a new career, promotion, raise, or educational opportunity.

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