223,585 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.
81% of graduates went directly into employment.
- Wholesale and retail trade
- Professional, scientific and technical industries
- Financial and insurance
- Administrative and support services
- Accommodation and food service
Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:
- business studies
- management studies
- human resource management
- hospitality, leisure, tourism, and transport
You can also decide on your specialist study topics to suit your interests and career aims. Some elements may be core, required study with an additional range of optional, specialist modules to choose from. Many courses also include work placements and the option to spend a year working in industry.
Some degrees are accredited by one or more of the national professional bodies that certify qualifications for careers in management and accounting. This can mean students are exempt from some of the exams required to become a chartered accountant or manager, for example.
Subject combinations and available course options include:
- single, joint, and multiple subject combinations
- full-time, part-time, and flexible study options as well as courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
- qualifications ranging from BA and BSc (Hons) degrees through to HND, HNC, and Foundation Certificates
Are you considering an accelerated degree? Click here to read more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course in two years rather than three.
A levels – To get on to a business-related degree, you will usually need a minimum of two A levels, with three A levels and A/B grades required for the most popular courses. Entry requirements range from CCC to AAB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for BBB. Most courses do not have specific A level subject requirements. In addition, you normally need five GCSEs at grade C or above, including maths and English. Be aware that some courses require at least a B grade in GCSE maths. For other courses such as HNDs and foundation years, you will typically require at least one A level or equivalent.
Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBB to AAABB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring BBBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for ABB.
Vocational courses – Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Business, SVQ Business and Administration (SCQF Level 6)) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels/Highers by some providers. It's essential that you check alternative entry requirements with universities or colleges.
In general, admissions tutors are looking for:
- why you have a particular interest in business
- evidence that you have an enthusiasm for the subject, which could be demonstrated by:
- relevant work experience/shadowing or voluntary work
- additional reading and research around business topics
- membership of related societies/clubs
- a range of interests outside of academic study – e.g. sport, music
- a well written statement that shows you are a motivated individual who has something to contribute to the university
- the ability to work individually and in teams
If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.
Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.
Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)
- Actuarial technician
- Associate project manager
- Community energist specialist
- Dental practice manager
- Employability practitioner
- Financial adviser
- Improvement practitioner
- Insurance professional
- Internal auditor practitioner
- Investment operations specialist
- Junior management consultant
- Marketing executive
- Professional accounting/taxation technician
- Regulatory compliance officer
- Revenues and welfare benefits practitioner
- School business professional
Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)
- Accountancy/taxation professional
- Career development professional
- Chartered manager
- Financial services professional
- HR consultant/partner
- Improvement leader
- Improvement specialist
- Internal audit professional
- Learning and development consultant/business partner
- Marketing manager
- Operations/departmental manager
- Project manager (degree)
- Relationship manager (banking)
- Senior compliance/risk specialist
- Senior insurance professional
- Senior investment/commercial banking professional
- Senior leader
Many graduates with a more general business or management degree go on to careers in fields such as business development, marketing, HR, recruitment, banking, and industrial relations. These roles exist in a wide range of industries and businesses – food, fashion, retail, manufacturing, utilities, healthcare, tourism, and many more – and across the private, public, and voluntary sectors.
Undergraduates with finance and accountancy specialisms often go on to take professional qualifications while working in the field, such as certified chartered accountancy given by associations such as ACCA and CIMA. Others train to become investment analysts, financial advisers, tax managers, insurance underwriters, stockbrokers, business consultants, or risk managers.For many of these professions, a business qualification isn’t essential. However, a business degree will give you a good grounding in areas such as communication, finance, market strategy, and business policy, which can give you an edge in your career.
Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in business, management, and administrative studies.