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You’re an early to mid-careerist with an undergraduate degree and a fascination for corporate data. You’re thinking of a business analytics graduate certificate, but you’re wondering if it’s the right path. Use our guide to find your way. Learn more about coursework, admissions requirements, and tuition costs. Compare the certificate with degree qualifications like the MBA and MSBA. Find answers to FAQ. Or skip ahead to listings of business analytics graduate certificates throughout the USA.
What Are Graduate Certificates in Business Analytics?
A graduate certificate in business analytics (or a closely related field) is a short academic qualification designed for business professionals who want to use analytics to make practical business decisions. In a few courses, certificate students learn how to apply major analytical methods and tools & technologies to the corporate world. Just keep in mind that it is not a degree.
Business analytics graduate certificates are almost always offered by the School of Business. They frequently contain real-world industry projects & case studies. And they can often be used as the first step to an MBA, MS in Business Analytics, or a data-focused business program (e.g. MS in IT Management, Master of Finance, etc.). If this is your goal, be sure to ask the program coordinator if you can transfer your credits into a degree program.
How They Work: Business Analytics Graduate Certificate Overview
Structure & Timeline
A business analytics graduate certificate contains 4-5 courses (e.g. 12-15 credits). Once you complete all of these courses with a passing grade (e.g. B- or better), you will have earned your certificate.
To accommodate students who are working, many graduate certificates are offered in an online or hybrid format. A number of Schools of Business will also allow you to choose a full-time or part-time plan of study:
- Full-Time: Under 1 year (1-2 semesters); 3-4 courses per semester
- Part-Time: 1-1.5 years (3-5 semesters); 1-2 courses per semester
There is no “fixed” curriculum for a graduate certificate in business analytics—universities are free to decide what courses will be the most relevant. We’ve included curriculum links in our listings so you can see how each program is different.
But you’ll usually discover that graduate certificates are a blend of fundamental topics in business & data analytics. We’ve listed some examples of real-life course titles. Just remember that you may only end up taking 2-3 of these subjects:
Data Analytics Fundamentals
- Practical Computing for Data Analytics
- Database Management
- Applied Decision Modeling
- Predictive Analytics
- Prescriptive Analytics
Business Analytics Fundamentals
- Introduction to Business Analytics
- Applied Managerial Statistics
- Data Science for Business
- Information Visuals & Dashboards for Business
- Data Mining & Machine Learning for Business
Looking for practical experience? Some Schools of Business go out of their way to include project-based assignments in each course. These kinds of analytics projects will give you the chance to work on actual business challenges with potential employers.
With electives, you’re allowed to choose your own courses from a list of suggested titles. Almost every business analytics graduate certificate will feature at least 1 elective. In one program we examined, students were able to select 4 electives! Samples of elective course titles include:
- Marketing Analytics
- Operations Analytics
- Applied Financial Modeling & Analytics
- Supply Chain Analytics
- Business Forecasting Models
- Special Topics in Management Information Systems (MIS)
- Fraud Examination
- SQL Database for Business Analysts
- Business Analytics Using Python
- Advanced Data Mining for Business Analytics
- Business Analytics Capstone
Notice how all of these electives in advanced analytics topics focus on business applications. If you’re interested in subjects like AI, data science, and NoSQL, you should consider a graduate certificate in data analytics.
Business Analytics Graduate Certificate: Admissions
If you like the look of a graduate certificate program, use the admissions links in our listings to learn if you can apply. In the majority of cases, candidates must have a:
- Bachelor’s Degree: Your degree will need to be from a regionally accredited institution. But universities are often willing to accept any undergraduate major.
- Solid GPA: 3.0 is the standard baseline requirement, but we have seen lower options at some schools (e.g. 2.5 GPA).
- Statistical Knowledge: Universities will usually want to see at least one statistics or business analytics course on your academic transcript. If you don’t have one, you may need to take a 3-credit foundation course in statistics or management science before tackling the certificate.
- GRE (Frequently Optional): GRE & GMAT scores are often not required. If they are, universities will be looking for strong quantitative scores.
- TOEFL Exam Scores (for Non-Native English Speakers): Universities may also accept the IELTS or PTE.
- Accompanying Materials: Schools of Business will be interested in examining your résumé and 2-3 letters of recommendation.
Some business analytics graduate certificates have unique requirements, so it pays to talk to the program coordinator before you apply. For example:
- At TAMUC, international applicants must be admitted to a master’s or doctoral program in order to pursue the graduate certificate. U.S. applicants don’t have the same limitations.
- At UofSC, the graduate certificate is a stand-alone program and should not be used as a step toward a master’s degree. A few years of work experience is preferred, but not required.
Business Analytics Graduate Certificate: Tuition Cost $
To help you get a handle on the numbers, we’ve included tuition links in our listings. You’ll always find the most up-to-date pricing on the university website. We parsed the data on business analytics graduate certificates and came up with the following estimates for tuition:
- Low-End: $5,000-$10,000 in total
- Mid-Range: $15,000-$17,000 in total
- High-End: $20,000-$25,000 in total
It’s interesting to note that these prices are quite a bit higher than tuition costs for data analytics graduate certificates. However, you may find that a certificate that’s offered by the School of Business comes with a lot of useful career services & industry connections.
- Public Universities: A number of public universities offer in-state tuition rates for graduate certificate programs. Make sure the School of Business is well-respected before you go for this option.
- Private Universities: Private universities are expensive. However, they also tend to have AACSB-accredited Schools of Business with excellent reputations.
Graduate Certificates vs. Other Analytics Qualifications
Graduate Certificate vs. MSBA vs. MBA
Graduate certificates are designed to help students specialize in a certain set of skills (e.g. business analytics). You might earn one in order to switch career streams, qualify for an analytics-related job at your company, petition for a pay raise, or test the waters to see if you’re interested in a master’s degree or MBA.
Certificates are quick, convenient, budget-friendly, and relatively easy to get into—see the section on admissions requirements. But they don’t have the same reputation as a master’s degree in the job market. MBA and MS graduates will usually be able to demand higher salaries and be given more powerful job responsibilities.
MS in Business Analytics (MSBA)
An MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) is a deep-dive into the field. In addition learning the fundamentals, you’ll be able to explore all kinds of applications and niche topics. Think of areas like Management Science, Operations Analytics, Prescriptive Modeling, and more. You can also use your MS concentration to focus on a specific area of interest (e.g. Healthcare Analytics).
MSBA programs may be more expensive than graduate certificates, but they come with all kinds of hidden benefits. You’ll have the chance to work on high-level capstone projects and/or analytics internships with corporate partners. You’ll have access to seminar, conferences, job fairs, and certification training. And you’ll be on the road to becoming a high-level analytics expert in the eyes of employers.
MBA in Business Analytics
An MBA is a management-focused degree—many students earn one in order to qualify for executive and managerial positions. MBA programs cover every aspect of business operations, from finance and strategy to operations and marketing. Business analytics is typically offered as a concentration or set of elective courses.
MBA graduates tend to have powerful job prospects. But they’re considered to be leaders. So you’ll need to decide how technical you would like your job to be. If you’d like to learn more about the MBA, have a look at our section on the MS in Business Analytics vs. MBA. Remember, too, that you can always earn a graduate certificate in analytics on top of your master’s degree.
Undergraduate vs. Graduate Certificates in Business Analytics
A undergraduate certificate in business analytics is an introductory qualification made up of 300- and 400-level courses. Applicants are typically current bachelor’s degree students who want a comprehensive overview of the field. Sample course titles include:
- Introduction to Business Analytics
- Introduction to Statistics
- Data Literacy Foundations
- Database Management
- Data Mining for Business Intelligence
- Data Visualization
A graduate certificate in business analytics is a specialist qualification made up of 500- and 600-level courses. Candidates are working professionals with a bachelor’s degree and some knowledge of statistics who want to earn a stand-alone credential in business analytics. If they enjoy the experience, some students go on to earn a master’s degree.
Graduate Certificate vs. Professional Certificates vs. Industry Certifications
Let’s say you’re an early careerist with a solid undergraduate degree and a deep interest in business analytics. You have the option to continue your education in a number of ways. You could consider a:
- University qualification (e.g. graduate certificate or master’s degree)
- Professional certificate from a company like SAS or SimpliLearn
- Industry certification in business analysis & business data analytics (e.g. CBDA)
There is no “right” answer here. Many business analytics professionals decide to tackle all three options at various points in their careers. Talk to supervisors & mentors, chat with other professionals at industry events, and examine LinkedIn profiles to learn about the most useful qualifications. We’ve also put together an annotated list of popular analytics certifications & professional certificates.
Business Analytics Graduate Certificate FAQ
What’s the Difference Between a Business Analytics & Data Analytics Graduate Certificate?
Graduate certificates in business analytics are hyper-focused on corporate concerns. Coursework will center on using analytics to solve specific business challenges & questions. They are almost always offered by a School of Business and they frequently include real-world projects. Some students transfer credits from this certificate into an MBA, MS in Business Analytics, or a related business degree (e.g. MSIT, Master of Finance, etc.).
Graduate certificates in data analytics cover common analytical methods, tools & technologies (e.g. statistical analysis, data mining, data visualizations, predictive analytics, etc.). You can deploy these skills in a wide range of fields—not just business. Some students use this certificate as a starting point for an MS in Data Analytics or another data-focused field (e.g. MS in Data Science, Master’s in Operations Research, etc.).
Does a Business Analytics Graduate Certificate Qualify for an F-1 Student Visa?
Talk to the international admissions department at the university. International students on an F-1 Student Visa must be enrolled as full-time students in a degree-seeking program (e.g. MS in Business Analytics) or approved non-degree program with in-person elements (e.g. hybrid or blended certificate). However, many graduate certificates are 100% online and part-time. We’ve seen a number of universities stating that their business analytics graduate certificate does not qualify for an F-1 Visa.
Can a Business Analytics Graduate Certificate be a STEM-Designated Program?
Yes. Some business analytics graduate certificates contain enough science, technical & math coursework to qualify as a STEM-designated program by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). But some don’t. When in doubt, check with the program coordinator.
Is a Business Analytics Graduate Certificate Eligible for the 24-Month OPT STEM Extension?
No. Graduate certificates are not eligible for the additional 24-month OPT extension. This extension only applies to STEM-designated degrees. However, international students with an F-1 Student Visa are eligible to apply for the standard 12-month OPT period of post-graduation employment & practical training if they have been full-time students for at least one academic year prior to graduation.