Year after year, business is the most popular undergraduate degree program. Schools awarded 386,201 bachelor’s degrees in business during the 2017 through 2018 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
One factor that makes business degrees so popular is their breadth. Business majors range from the math-intensive to the soft skills-focused.
Which degree program deserves the title of the easiest business major depends on who you ask. What makes a program “easy” to one student may not be what another student thinks of as easy. If you’re looking for the easiest business degree, consider the following options.
Is a Business Degree Hard?
Students considering a business degree often ask, “Is business a hard major?” It depends on the area of business you’re studying and your personal strengths and skills.
As a whole, business degrees don’t have the same kind of reputation for being intellectually difficult as programs like engineering, which include plenty of math and science coursework. Still, if you go into a business degree program anticipating an easy curriculum, you may end up falling behind when the coursework is unexpectedly rigorous.
Within the field of business, you can pursue many different majors and concentrations. All bachelor’s degrees in business generally require a similar business core curriculum and total number of college credits (generally, 120).
Beyond the business core, the classes these programs require and the skills students need to succeed in these different fields can vary widely. Some business classes are comparably easy, while others are generally considered to be much more difficult.
There isn’t a single consensus on which are the easiest business degrees, but some of the easiest business major options include the following:
- Broader fields of study that require less specialization
- Programs that include relatively few math courses, science courses or technical skills
- Majors that don’t require a lot of creativity or writing
Let’s explore some potentially easy business majors you can consider in college.
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The Broadest Programs of Study in Business
One way of evaluating the difficulty of a business degree program is by looking at breadth vs. depth of the curriculum. Often, the more specialized a program is, the more challenging the coursework, because students have to understand the nuances and intricacies of the subject. If you’re looking for the easiest business major in terms of breadth, you’re going to want to consider degrees in business administration and business management.
The Ease of Studying Business Administration
When it comes to easy business degrees, business administration is the most basic. An undergraduate degree in business administration is a degree program that aims to equip students with a comprehensive foundation in all aspects of administration needed to operate and grow an organization successfully.
Students of business administration programs complete an assortment of courses in different areas of business, which range from finance and accounting to human resources and organizational behavior. Taking classes in each of these different areas of business helps students become familiar with the full scope of job roles and functions in administration. The degree program is also versatile because it provides students with enough foundational knowledge to acquire entry-level job roles in many areas of business.
This isn’t to say that students of a business administration program only ever achieve surface-level knowledge of any topic of study. Although that focus on breadth rather than depth of knowledge does make business administration a top contender for the easiest business major, these programs also allow students to choose areas of specialization. Your specialized areas of study can become more challenging, especially as you progress through your degree program into more advanced coursework. A general business BBA tends to be easier than a BBA with a declared specialization.
Further, although business administration may look like the easiest business major on the surface, it has its challenges just like any other degree program. Students still take upper-level coursework and advanced studies, but their classes are in a variety of business subjects rather than a single subject area.
Students of business administration programs have to step out of their comfort zone to a greater degree than students who choose one area of business to focus their entire degree on. No one student is likely to be equally well-suited for every area of study in the field of business, and choosing a business administration major means taking more classes in the areas of business administration in which your skills are weaker as well as those that match your strengths.
Business Management as One of the Easiest Business Degrees
Management is another business major that has a warm and fuzzy feel to it, largely because it is so broad. Business management curricula tend to be even broader than business administration curricula. The business management degree emphasizes the theory and applications of management over the development of practical and technical skills typically emphasized in a BBA program. Programs in business management are less concerned with the roles and skills that keep companies’ operations running on a day-to-day basis and more focused on big-picture planning and operations. If you would consider a degree program that emphasizes management theory, the foundations of business and economics and critical thinking and decision-making for business to be easy, then a business management degree checks all the right boxes for you.
With a major in business management, you’re clearly setting yourself up for a leadership role, as opposed to a more specialized role in administration that emphasizes a certain area or aspect of business operations. For example, you might become a sales and marketing manager with a degree in business management, but you are unlikely to move into a role as a marketing analyst based on your degree and without cultivating considerable experience in a related area.
Students who might not find this degree easy are those who prefer to focus on practical applications over theoretical concepts. Also, students who dread having the responsibilities of leadership and decision-making, especially at a high level, may not fit well into a business management program or career path. You don’t have to be an extrovert to make a good leader, but you do need to be willing to take initiative.
Comparing BBA Degrees to B.S. Degrees
Students often wonder about the difference between business administration degrees with a concentration in a subject and bachelor’s degrees in that area of business specifically.
For example, a Bachelor of Science in finance program is more specialized, and likely to be more difficult, than a broader Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with a finance concentration. Students in the more specialized program will still take some general business classes, but they will devote more of their studies to classes in their major than to general business administration skills and applications.
Students should keep in mind that, while choosing a business major is a big decision, the major you choose may not limit your career as much as you think. Students could always start out with a degree in business administration and pursue a degree with a narrower focus at the master’s level or vice versa, broadening their base of business knowledge with a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Among business degrees awarded during the 2017 through 2018 school year, the most popular bachelor’s degree was general business administration and management with 138,905 degrees awarded, followed by accounting with 50,128 degrees and general finance with 39,479 degrees, according to the NCES.
Degrees With the Least Math and Technical Requirements
Many students feel that mathematics, science and other technical disciplines are among the most difficult subjects of study. If your feelings about math align with this perspective, then you should rule out finance and accounting as easy degree options because they both include a lot of quantitative work in financial reporting and analyzing data. The field of economics, which often requires a strong foundation of mathematics and statistics coursework, may also be prohibitively challenging for students who prefer to minimize their math classes.
Business majors that require more scientific and technical knowledge may also be viewed as more difficult subjects. For example, majors that marry together business and computers, such as information technology and computer information systems, may be more technical in nature than many business majors would prefer. Even aspects of business fields that aren’t closely linked with math and science can require a lot of technical knowledge. For example, human resources personnel need strong interpersonal skills, but they also need to learn and memorize hiring and employment laws and regulations and keep up with changes in these regulations.
The Ease of a Business Degree Without Math
Some of the degrees that require the least amount of math are BBA and Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (BABA) – as opposed to science-intensive Bachelor of Science in Business Administration BSBA degrees – in certain majors and concentrations. A general business administration or business management program is unlikely to pile on extra mathematics requirements. Human resources may require some coursework in compensation analysis but generally focuses more on the concepts and practices of recruiting, retaining and training employees. Entrepreneurship and marketing programs are somewhere in between. They may require a bit more work in the accounting and finance fields or in analyzing marketing data than a general business program but aren’t nearly as math-focused as finance and accounting majors.
Math’s Place in Easy Business Majors
Generally, no matter what your major is, you will have to complete at least one college-level course in mathematics to satisfy general education requirements. Business majors often meet this requirement by taking a basic calculus, applied calculus or business calculus class. Business statistics coursework is required in some business administration programs. Introductory accounting and finance classes are part of most business program’s core curricula.
Accounting students who intend to pursue the certified public accountant (CPA) credential will need a fifth year of college studies. While that extra year doesn’t have to be at the graduate level, the need for further study makes this field even more challenging.
The Business Degrees That Require the Least Creativity and Writing
While there are some areas of study that are almost universally considered hard, in most cases, level of difficulty is subjective. Some business students immediately shy away from math-heavy majors like accounting and finance because they are “too hard,” but not all students feel that way. There are students who enjoy working with numbers but who dread the idea of having to create a multimedia project or write an essay, report or literary analysis in college. These students might not bat an eye at being asked to perform numerical calculations that other students find intimidating, yet they may find the challenges of pitching an advertising campaign to be nerve-racking. If creativity isn’t your strong suit, you may wish to avoid degrees in marketing and advertising. Students who prefer working with numbers and data sets than with people might want to steer clear of programs in human resources, sales and even entrepreneurship, all of which require a willingness to communicate with new people.
Which degrees are ideal for students whose analytical strengths outweigh their creativity and people skills? Accounting, economics and finance are all great options for applying your math and analytical skills and have less emphasis on interpersonal skills than other business majors. However, students should know that, as part of their college general education requirements and in the workplace, having basic skills in effective communication is a necessity.
Although courses in advertising and marketing may take students out of their comfort zones, these classes can also help students cultivate new skills and grow personally and professionally.
Is the Easiest Business Major the Right One for You?
When you’re looking at four (or more) years of college-level study, it’s easy to forget that you’re not trying to decide which major is objectively best, only which major is best for you. An “easy” business major may be appealing in some ways, but there are a lot more factors to consider, like what kind of work you want to do with your degree.
Instead of basing your major choice on what’s easiest, consider instead what degree program best fits your personality, strengths and career desires.