Undergraduate Business Minor

Since the introduction of the undergraduate business minor in the fall of 2007, the Jones School has significantly broadened the university’s curriculum. By offering students the opportunity to complement their major fields of study with an education in the basic functional areas of business, the program is helping to develop leaders with a critical understanding of business concepts and decision-making frameworks as well as fine-tuned, practical skills in communications, teamwork, and organizational effectiveness.

The six courses that comprise the undergraduate business minor provide a strong foundation in the essential disciplines of business. They are: business communications, financial accounting, financial management, leading people in organizations, marketing, and strategic management.

The Jones School faculty maintains an important balance between teaching and research. In every undergraduate business minor course, students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with an accessible, involved, and energetic member of the faculty, who teaches in both the MBA programs and undergraduate business minor.

In addition to an outstanding classroom experience, students in the undergraduate business minor have the opportunity to participate in a broad range of Jones School events, such as:

  • Supporting the Rice Business Plan Competition
  • Assisting professors with research
  • Gumball ChallengeAttending programs—Sports and Business Lecture Series, Dean’s Undergraduate Business Lecture Series, Thought Leadership Series, Jones Partner briefings, and conferences on current business and policy issues
  • Undertaking class competitions, such as the Gumball Challenge in Assistant Professor Anastasiya Zavyalova’s strategic management course. For Dr. Zavyalova, the Gumball Challenge was an alternative to having her students merely writing another paper on what they’d learned in a class. “I wanted them to have a hands-on experience with some aspects of running a company, including scanning the environment and identifying competitive forces — the other teams — and conducting internal analysis to figure out everyone’s skills and capabilities.” To read more about Dr. Zavyalova’s course: business.rice.edu/gumball_challenge

Course Descriptions

BUSI 296 Business Communications (3)

Provides an introduction to business, focusing on the strategy and practice of effective communications in business situations.  The course includes individual communication skills assessment and development as well as team-based oral and written communication instruction. Pre-requisite(s): none


BUSI 305 Financial Accounting (3)

Covers the preparation, analysis, and use of corporate financial statements; asset and liability valuation and income determination;  receivables, inventories, present values, tangible and intangible fixed assets, bonds, leases, shareholder equity, inter-corporate investments, consolidations and cash flow accounting. Pre¬requisite(s): none  


BUSI 310 Leading People in Organizations (3)

Introduces the sociological and social psychological processes underlying individual and group behavior in organizations and how they can be effectively managed.  Topics include leadership effectiveness, team processes, organizational change and innovation, job-related attitudes, work motivation, organizational culture and climate, and cross-cultural issues in management.  

Not Open to Entering Freshmen. 


BUSI 343 Financial Management (3)

Develops the basic concepts of corporate financial management and introduces a set of analytical tools to evaluate financial decisions.  Employs concepts of time value of money, risk and return, and market efficiency are to examine how capital market investors value risky assets.  Develops a framework for evaluating corporate investment and financing decisions.  

Pre-requisite(s): STAT 280, BUSI 305, and ECON 100 OR ECON 201 OR ECON 301


BUSI 380 Marketing (3)

Introduces the role of marketing in organizations and the principal marketing decisions facing management.  Topics include marketing planning and strategy; buyer behavior; development and management of products and services; branding; channels of distribution; sales, advertising and promotional methods; pricing strategy; and the development of integrated marketing strategies and programs.  Pre-requisite(s): STAT 280 and ECON 100 OR ECON 201 OR ECON 301


BUSI 390 Strategic Management (3)

Examines the strategic management of businesses in market and non-market environments.  Key topics include competitive and industry analysis, strategy formulation and implementation, and strategic planning.  Case discussions of real companies are combined with readings concerning the key topics.  Pre-requisite(s): ECON 100 OR ECON 201 OR ECON 301. Students must also have completed at least three (3) of the courses required for the Business Minor to enroll.   


The courses in the program are open to any degree-seeking Rice undergraduate who meets enrollment requirements, not just to students who have declared an intention to complete the Minor. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Why offer an Undergraduate Business Minor? 

The Business Minor complements and adds diversity to the outstanding courses available to Rice undergraduates. Students who are following their passions in the sciences, engineering, or the humanities can also acquire a basic understanding of the fundamentals of business. Moreover, through the Business Minor they can develop their critical thinking and communications skills, both of which will provide value whatever their future education or career goals may be. 


Who can enroll for Business Minor courses? 

The courses in the program are open to any degree-seeking Rice undergraduate who meets enrollment requirements, not just to students who have declared an intention to complete the Minor. Courses are also open to Graduate students on a space-available basis with instructor approval. Two courses, Business Communications (BUSI 296) and Financial Accounting (BUSI 305) have no prerequisites. Other courses require prior coursework at Rice in statistics and microeconomics. Please see the detailed course descriptions for specifics on these prerequisites. 


Do students need the prerequisites?

Yes. Microeconomics and statistics are required because these courses provide the foundation for many of the concepts developed in the business courses. The statistics requirement can be fulfilled by completing STAT 280 or an approved alternative (see below). The economics requirement can be fulfilled by completing ECON 100 OR ECON 201 OR ECON 301) completed at Rice. The Program Director will not approve requests to waive the prerequisites for BUSI 343 or BUSI 390. 


Which courses are approved alternatives to STAT 280?

The following courses are approved: STAT 305, STAT 310, STAT 331, STAT 339, ELEC 303, POLI 395, PSYC 339, SOCI 298, plus any courses cross-listed with these STAT courses (e.g. ECON 307, ECON 382, ELEC 331.)


Why is there a lottery for some courses? 

If a given course is oversubscribed, the Jones School will conduct a weighted lottery to determine which students will be admitted to the course. The lottery will give advantage to students who have successfully completed a greater number of courses in the program and/or are closer to graduation. 


Do the BUSI courses count for distribution credit? 

All six Business Minor courses count for D2 distribution credit.


Is there a necessary sequence for courses? 

No. Students do not have to take BUSI 296 before taking other BUSI courses, as it is not a prerequisite.


Can students take Business Minor courses Pass/Fail?

Yes, but if students pursuing the Business Minor take these courses Pass/Fail, they must request that the Office of the Registrar replace the P with the letter grade earned before the final degree audit. All other Pass/Fail guidelines apply to Business Minor courses.


What is the Jones School’s grading policy for BUSI courses?

The policy requires that the average course GPA (including multiple sections where appropriate) should not exceed 3.50.


When are courses in the Business Minor offered?  

The Jones School plans to offer the Business Minor courses as follows:

 BUSI 296: Multiple sections fall and spring semesters
 BUSI 305: Multiple sections fall and spring semesters
 BUSI 310: Multiple sections fall semester only
 BUSI 343: Multiple sections fall semester only
 BUSI 380: Multiple sections spring semester only
 BUSI 390: Multiple sections spring semester only

The Jones School may alter this plan based on instructor and space availability.



For further information, please contact Rick Schell, Director, Undergraduate Business Program, at (713) 348-3321 or email schell@rice.edu.

A Selection of Jobs and Salaries taken by graduates with the Rice Undergraduate Minor, Class of 2013:


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Software Engineer




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