Personal finance, accounting, entrepreneurship and business management are just a few of the different specialties in business. With such an array of specialties to choose from, it can be confusing and overwhelming for prospective college students to determine what they want to do. In addition, many may see the entire list of specialties and business classes and wonder how long it will take to earn a bachelor's degree in business.

General Education

The first 2 years of a bachelor's degree in business are spent taking general education courses. These include English, math, science, humanities and other required courses. While it does take most students four semesters to complete these, you may be able to cut down this time by taking heavy course loads each semester or taking dual-credit courses in high school.

Core Courses

After completing most or all of your general education courses, you can take the business classes that make up your core program. These will be a combination of general business classes and your area of specialty such as personal finance or international business. As with general education courses, the typical 2-year time frame for the core courses can be shortened by taking additional classes each semester as well as summer and semester break classes, if offered.


Some colleges and universities require an internship for their business students to earn their degree while others don't. Even if your college doesn't require it, it usually offers college credit. This allows you to get experience working in the business world while still working toward your degree. You can easily complete an internship during a summer semester and still manage to graduate in 4 years with your degree in business. However, if you choose to complete an internship during the traditional fall or spring semesters you may find yourself adding another semester to the overall time it takes to get your degree.

Class Offerings

Business departments may offer their courses on a rotation or cycle, which means not all courses are available every semester. Utah State University is an example of this as it offers courses available only during either the fall or spring semester. If the college you attend has a rotating or cycle schedule you'll want to work with your adviser to get the courses you need when they are made available. Failing to do so can result in you having to spend another semester or year working toward your degree as you wait for the class you need to be offered again.


In most cases the less time you spend pursuing your degree, the less it ends up costing you. However, it may cost more if you take a heavy course load and do poorly than if you take fewer classes and get better grades. In addition, you want to have an opportunity to experience the social aspects college provides by getting involved and meeting people. This can be limited by homework and studying for additional classes.