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Business Majors

While completing the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (BABA) course of study, students can either:

  • Design their own area of study and choose from a variety of upper division business electives.

or…

  • Professionals: Specialize in a predetermined course of study, known as a “major”. Eight formal majors are available: Accounting, Accounting for Business Professionals, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Human Resources, Management, Information Systems, Marketing, and Operations & Supply Chain Management. Applicants may apply for one major when applying to the undergraduate program.

Business Majors

Accounting professor with students
What is accounting?

Foster’s accounting curriculum utilizes research, interpersonal communication, and problem solving to enable students to think critically about financial transactions and the implications for an entire financial management system.

What are the careers I can pursue with an Accounting Major?

  • Certified Public Accountant serving clients with their financial and tax needs.
  • Financial Analyst or Accountant for local public & private companies, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, REI, Boeing, and Zillow,
  • Consultant with Fortune 500 or international organizations specializing in areas such as Mergers and Acquisitions, Taxation, Auditing, Risk Management
  • Forensic Auditor investigating fraud & financial mismanagement for governmental agencies like the FBI
  • Non-Profit Accounting for charities and not-for-profit organizations

Which of the two Accounting-related majors should I choose?

The Accounting Major is ideal if you want a career in public, corporate, or nonprofit accounting or tax, and/or want a deep knowledge of financial reporting. In the Accounting Major, you learn how to understand, explain, and record business transactions, and you gain critical thinking and analytical skills to interpret and analyze financial information, develop tax strategy, and make information-driven decisions. Using case-based learning and data analytics, this eight-course major equips students to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

The Accounting for Business Professionals Major is ideal if you want a narrower, focused accounting skillset to support a career in another business area. This major is designed with flexibility for students to select the accounting classes that fit best with their unique career goals and is often paired with another major like Finance or Information Systems. Students take one required accounting course, and then choose four more accounting courses (or three accounting courses and one of a set of approved finance courses).

Graduate programs in Accounting

The Foster school has two separate Master of Accounting degrees: the Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) and the Master of Science in Taxation (MST). For students interested in our Masters’ programs or CPA certification, the Department of Accounting highly recommends that they pursue the Accounting Major rather than the Accounting for Business Professionals Major, as it will better prepare students to succeed in these specialized, rigorous programs and pass the CPA exam. However, students wishing to major in Accounting for Business Professionals and pursue one of these graduate degrees should reach out to the program office.

Students are eligible to apply to the MPAcc and MST programs during their senior year once fall quarter grades are posted. The GMAT is not required for Foster School Accounting students. These master’s degrees also satisfy the 225-quarter credit educational requirement to sit for the CPA exam in the State of Washington.

Learn more about the MPAcc and MST programs here.

For more information about becoming a licensed certified public accountant (CPA), visit: Washington State Board of Accountancy.

Accounting resources

Foster students conducting accounting presentation
What is entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship focuses on entrepreneurial strategy, finance, management, and marketing. Students will create business proposals, draft financial and marketing plans, and execute ideas through business clubs, case competitions, and real-world practice–ultimately transforming a vision of business ownership into a step-by-step achievable process.

What kind of jobs can I get with the entrepreneurship major?

Entrepreneurial-minded students can go in many directions with their career. Sample job functions include:

  • Entrepreneurship in New Ventures (startups)
  • Entrepreneurship in Large Organizations
  • Private Equity Financing
  • Social entrepreneurship

We recommend finding a mentor, exploring different types of companies and on-campus resources like Start-Up Hall, Foster student club Startup UW, and connecting with the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship is open to all students, regardless of major, who have an interest in creating new ventures or working in a startup environment. To learn about the programs, clubs, competitions, and extracurricular activities supported by the Buerk Center, attend a Buerk Center Open House (held during the first month of every quarter), or drop by the center any time.

For more information, contact:
The Buerk Center at [email protected] or 206.616.0734.

Follow the Buerk Center on social media:
@UWBuerk | Facebook

Entrepreneurship resources

Foster students listening to recruiter
What is finance?

Foster’s finance curriculum covers four interrelated areas: Corporate Finance, Investments, Financial Markets, and International Finance. Through case studies and critical analysis, students utilize business economic theory, and financial management tools to understand capital markets, investigate problems, and make key managerial decisions.

What kind of jobs can I get with the finance major?

Sample job titles include:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Business Associate
  • Investment Banking Analyst
  • Financial Advisor

Finance roles can be competitive. It is important for students to network with finance professionals to get a better understanding of what it takes to be successful at a specific company. Additionally, Foster Career Services recommends that students take the free Foster Excel Certificate, as Microsoft Excel skills are crucial for success in an internship or job in finance.

Quantitative Finance

Students interested in highly quantitative finance careers or considering graduate programs in Economics or Finance should consider completing additional coursework in mathematics, economics, and statistics.
Suggested coursework will not substitute for required major coursework.

  • Additional calculus courses: MATH 125 & 126, MATH 135 & 136, MATH 307, 308, 309, and MATH 334, 335, 336
  • Take advanced Statistics: STAT 340, 341, and 342
  • Computer programming: CSE 142
  • Financial Economic courses: ECON 422, 423, 424, and 426
  • Major Complementary Electives: ECON 422, 431, 435, 450

Finance resources

Professor leading classroom lecture
What is human resources management (HR)?

Human Resources Management draws on the study and practice of psychology, sociology, and organizational behavior to thoughtfully examine human performance within organizations. Students gain skills in recruiting and retaining talented people, understanding corporate responsibility and ethics, and building effective negotiation and decision-making practices.

What kind of jobs can I get with the human resources management major?

Sample HR job functions:

  • Recruitment
  • Training
  • Compensation
  • Benefits strategy/execution

It is important that students network with HR professionals to learn about the field and job opportunities. Consider joining SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) to network and learn about career opportunities.

Professional in Human Resources Certification (PHR)

The PHR certification focuses on the technical and operational aspects of HR practices. The PHR exam is divided into six parts: business management and strategy, workforce planning and employment, human resource development, compensation and benefits, employee and labor relations, and risk management. Typical candidates with a bachelor’s degree have two to four years of professional work experience in all HR disciplines before taking the exam.

For more information, visit Foster’s Management and Organization website or email [email protected]

Human Resources Management resources

Professor leading classroom lecture
What is Information Systems (IS)?

Information Systems provides students with coursework emphasizing technical tools to design, develop, and manage information technologies. With a focus on computer programming and database management, students learn to interact and interface with various business applications and assess which program or information technology meets the organization’s needs.

What kinds of jobs can I get with the Information Systems major?

IS students have a range of career major including:

  • Working for a technology company
  • Supporting IT functions within an organization
  • IT advisory/consulting

While not required, we recommend having working knowledge of popular databases, systems, or programming language when interviewing for employment in this field.

Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)

The Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program is a four-quarter, work-compatible degree that trains
future business leaders to effectively use information technology to solve business problems and take advantage of new opportunities (and learn more about how MSIS is bridging the gap between business and technology.)

The full-time program holds classes on two weeknights and some Saturdays. The GMAT or GRE requirement is waived for applicants who have graduated with an IS major from the Foster School in the last three years.

For more information, visit the MSIS website or email [email protected]

Information Systems resources

Students conducting a classroom workshop
What is marketing?

Students use theories and concepts from economics, sociology, psychology, and statistics to understand and research advertising, consumer behavior, marketing management, product development, social media, retail and sales management.

What kind of jobs can I get with the marketing major?

Roles in this industry vary widely. Sample job functions include:

  • Creative services
  • Marketing analytics
  • Sales
  • Consultant

This field relies heavily on recommendations. It is important that students network and get to know others in the industry through events, internships, and informational interviews.

Sales Certificate

The Professional Sales Program helps students to develop strong presentation skills, hands-on sales experience in an industry of the students’ choice, and network within the business community.

The Professional Sales Program Certificate is open to all UW undergraduate majors with junior standing and a minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA. Students must complete 20 credits including 3 required upper division Marketing courses and 8 additional credits of Marketing, Management, or Communication electives. PREREQUISITES: ACCTG 215 or ACCTG 219, ECON 200, and MKTG 301.

Applications open every year during spring quarter. Students should apply to the program during the spring quarter of their junior year or fall quarter of their senior (graduating) year.

For more information, visit Foster’s Professional Sales Program website or email [email protected]

Marketing resources

Students taking part in campus supply chain outdoor activity
What is Operations & Supply Chain Management (OSCM)?

Operations and Supply Chain Management covers design, planning, control, and improvement of manufacturing and service operations. Curriculum highlights include operations research, programming, and analysis of production and inventory models in the US and abroad.

What kind of jobs can I get with the OSCM major?

Typical roles include:

  • Logistics planner
  • Sourcing/buyer
  • Demand planner
  • Logistics analyst

In addition to securing an internship, students should conduct informational interviews with professionals to understand the role of OSCM functions within an organization. Consider joining the Operations Supply Chain Management Club to meet professionals and learn more about career paths.

Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM)

The Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) program is a four-quarter, work compatible degree that provides future business leaders with the technical and managerial skills needed to oversee the flow of goods. Students learn to effectively analyze data and build decision models. MSCM is a well-rounded and flexible experience focusing in supply chain, business management and industry.

The full-time program holds classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings and five to six Saturdays per quarter, giving students flexibility to work full time. The GMAT or GRE requirement is waived for applicants with a recent bachelor’s degree from the Foster School of Business in the OSCM major.

For more information, visit the MSCM website or email [email protected]

OSCM resources

Benefits of declaring a major

Declaring a major gives students priority to register for upper division business electives in the declared major during period I registration. Students can declare more than one major if it fits within the UW Satisfactory Progress rules. Foster students may declare a major once they are in progress of the final Lower Division Business Core classes (ACCTG 225, MGMT 200 and/or QMETH 201).

What is the difference between a general Business Administration Major and the discipline specific business majors?

The Foster School offers one general major (Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration) and eight discipline-specific business majors (such as Accounting, Marketing, etc.) Different majors have different required courses and electives, and the declared major will be added to the student’s academic record (transcript).