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Please note: Effective immediately, The Graduate Certificate in Innovation, Leadership, & Management (GCILM) replaces the Graduate Certificate in Business Fundamentals (GCBF).

However, Carolina graduate students admitted to pursue the GCBF before December 2020 may continue completion of GCBF requirements and earn the certificate upon completion. OR, previously admitted students may contact CareerWell if they instead intend to pursue the new certificate.

Graduate students interested in pursuing the new certificate should review the requirements and contact CareerWell.

GCBF Features

The GCBF offers you the opportunity to develop the professional skills employers seek while gaining exposure to a variety of careers. You will complete core and elective courses, through which you will:

  • Gain skills in areas that are recognized as influences of professional success, such as communication, leadership, project management, and accounting.
  • Gain skillsets useful for a broad range of careers, including tenure-track academic careers, alternative academic careers, and careers outside of academia.
  • Learn about a variety of careers available with an advanced degree.
  • Meet graduate students outside of your field and learn in an interdisciplinary setting.

Your graduate school transcript will note that you have completed the Graduate Certificate in Business Fundamentals.

CareerWell courses – Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

GCBF Requirements

Please note the courses listed below need not be completed in order.

1. GRAD726 Business Fundamentals – Selected Topics (1.0 credit)

GRAD 726 - Business Fundamentals Selected Topics

This seminar series will introduce students to several topics essential to the workplace, including the structure and culture of a variety of organizations, interpersonal skills in the workplace, and more. The series will reinforce concepts taught in the other GRAD business fundamentals classes by placing them in the context of career paths that are of interest to students.


2. Five core courses (7.5 credits)

GRAD 710 - Professional Communication: Writing (1.5 credits)

This writing-intensive, seminar-style course teaches you to craft effective email messages, short reports, and executive summaries in professional settings. Key topics include content selection, organization, accessibility, plain language, clarity and conciseness, tone, and visual displays of information.

GRAD 711 - Professional Communication: Presenting (1.5 credits)

This speaking-intensive, seminar-style course focuses on presenting complex topics using plain language in professional settings. Key topics include selecting and organizing content, developing audience-centered visual aids, incorporating storytelling, projecting a professional image, and managing Q&A. This course requires a strong command of English.

GRAD 712 - Leadership in the Workplace (1.5 credits)

Effective leadership begins with understanding your capacity to influence others positively.  This online course examines your current leadership style and addresses the relationship of that style to leadership development opportunities including influencing team dynamics, building productive relationships and managing change as a professional and a leader.

GRAD 713 - Applied Project Management: Frameworks, Principles and Techniques (1.5 credits)

This course focuses on practical project management principles and techniques, demonstrating their effectiveness in the workplace. Key topics include frameworks and methodologies, planning and monitoring projects, risk management, stakeholder management, managing your team, and time and cost management. This course will include group work.

GRAD 714 - Introduction to Financial Accounting (1.5 credits)

As a future leader in the workplace, you will need read and interpret financial statements, even if this is not one of your primary job responsibilities. Having a basic understanding of financial concepts expands your ability to contribute to organizations and evaluate the strength of a proposal or strategy in light of its impact on an organization’s financial health. GRAD 714 Financial Accounting is an 8-week course that introduces key principles and instruments used in financial accounting, including how to read and create basic financial statements (the balance sheet, the income statement, the cash flow statement) and more advanced concepts, like depreciation, goodwill, forecasting, and budgeting. Each week builds on the next, and you will be applying these principles to case examples and collaborative projects during weekly live class sessions. By the end of this course, you will be able to navigate the most common types of financial statements and disclosures, and use these skills in a final project in which you propose a future project to the business managers in your organization.

Typically, Grad 710, GRAD 711, and GRAD 726 are offered in the fall, GRAD 712 and GRAD 714 are offered in the spring, and GRAD 713 is offered in both the fall and spring. However, course offering schedules may fluctuate due to instructor availability and student interest.


3. At least 1.5 credits of an elective course

Please note, officially recognized electives are listed below.

GRAD 725 - Build Your Professional Brand (1.5 credits)

The seminar series provides a forum for students to: (1) understand their job values; (2) develop and refine their online professional presence and job search materials (e.g., LinkedIn, resume/CV, cover letter); (3) gain an appreciation of, and comfort with, networking and informational interviewing; and (4) develop an individual development plan and corresponding action plan through one-on-one coaching. The sessions will include workshops led by industry representatives who speak directly about their career challenges and rewards, and individuals with expertise in teaching professional skills.

GRAD 755 - Technology Commercialization Fundamentals (1.5 credits)

Science and technology are the basis for many breakthrough products and services. The first steps of commercializing these innovations begins with the transfer of the technology from university research labs to commercial enterprises.  This course provides an overview of the fundamental first steps of technology commercialization, with a specific emphasis on university technology commercialization (aka technology transfer). The course will cover the following topics: Overview of University Technology Commercialization, Market Assessment, Intellectual Property, Technology Development, Licensing, Commercial Development, and University Startups.

GRAD 770 - Introduction to Digital Transformation (1.5 credits)

The Digital Revolution is transforming the way we live and work–from waterfall to agile; from technology-driven to human-centered; from point solutions to end-to-end; from fragmented to integrated; and from employed to freelance. The course is designed to provide an overview and introduction to transformational principles for individuals, organizations, and industry ecosystems. In preparation for trends brought on by The Digital Revolution, students will explore new models of engagement, persona discovery, value mapping, and systems thinking.


4. A Graduate Certificate in Business Fundamentals certificate completion form