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 in the past.


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.

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

  • 54 degree credits complete at time of application (junior standing)
  • 12 GPA credits (transfer students must complete a minimum of 12 credits at UW-Madison)
  • 2.75 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 week of the semester and due the 4th Friday of the semester by 4:30 p.m.

Effective fall 2013, the Certificate in Business application requires an essay on behalf of the applicant.  The essay prompt is: "Please provide a detailed description of how the Certificate in Business will enable you to more completely fulfill your goals, both educational and professional. Be specific regarding how the CIB will be integrated with your current program, School, and/or major." (500 word maximum)

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.


Click here to view the Wisconsin School of Business Faculty Directory.

Timely Completion

Students admitted to the CIB program must complete the CIB requirements prior to or concurrently with their degree requirements. Students who have graduated and have not completed all CIB requirements will be withdrawn from the program. For example, a student graduating in May 2005 may not complete any remaining CIB requirements during the summer 2005 semester or thereafter.

Permanent Leave of Absence/Transfer Out of UW-Madison

Students admitted to the CIB program who will not be continuing their education at UW-Madison need to withdraw from the CIB program by completing a CIB Cancellation form.


Students admitted to the CIB program who are re-entering UW-Madison after any kind of leave of absence (study abroad, personal reasons, etc.) to complete their undergraduate degree do not need to re-apply to the CIB program. Students are automatically enrolled into the CIB program upon re-entry to UW-Madison. However, it is the student’s responsibility to verify that the CIB has been re-declared and appears on the student’s record. If re-entry students do not wish to complete the CIB program, they must complete a CIB Cancellation form.


Students admitted to the CIB may withdraw themselves from the program by completing and submitting a CIB Cancellation form. If students know they will not complete all CIB requirements, withdrawal from the program as soon as possible is requested. This will make your space available to future students applying to the CIB.

CIB Award/Notation

Upon successful completion of all CIB requirements prior to or concurrently with degree requirements, students will have “Awarded Certificate in Business” notated on official transcripts after successful degree completion. Students do not receive a separate paper certificate, nor is the certificate notated on a diploma.

The 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. Click here for pre-requisite information for core courses.

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.

  • Accounting 100 or 300*, 3 crs
  • Finance 300, 3 crs
  • Management & Human Resources 300, 3 crs
  • Marketing 300, 3 crs
  • Breadth course**
  • Breadth course**

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

**CIB 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)


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

  • Gen Bus 100
  • Gen Bus 300
  • Gen Bus 303
  • Gen Bus 306
  • Gen Bus 310
  • Gen Bus 311
  • Gen Bus 365
  • I SYE/ACCT IS 313 (formerly IND ENGR/ACCT IS 313)
  • ACCT IS 211
  • Any Business course numbered 399
  • Any Business course cross-listed with a foreign language

Certificate in Business students are qualified for many entry-level business positions.  While the career opportunities available to CIB are vast, common business careers CIB students pursue following graduation include:

  • Advertising
  • Business Analyst – Information Systems
  • Business Development
  • Commercial & Retail Banking
  • Consulting
  • Event Management
  • Human Resources
  • Investment Management
  • Management
  • Project Lead/Manager – Information Systems
  • Retail (Stores & Corporate)
  • Underwriting/Claims Adjusting

Other CIB students choose to pursue careers in education, engineering, the non-profit sector or the healthcare industry, to name a few.  Some CIB students attend graduate school following graduation in programs including law school, public policy, medical school, engineering, social work and more.  

Sign up for an appointment on BuckyNet to meet with the CIB career advisor, Angie Rieves, if you would like to explore your career options further.   


Meet the academic and career advisors for prospective Certificate in Business students

Katie Denzin
Academic Advisor

Jamie Hinze
Career Advisor

Click here to apply for the Certificate in Business.