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Business Fundamentals

Gain the essential skills you need to enter the business field.

Two people look at a computer monitor together. One sits and types while the other stands and points at the screen.
NSCC grads Lindsay Ward and Kenzie Cameron collaborate on a project at Proposify's Halifax office.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year

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Learn the fundamental skills to start a career in business. This 1-year certificate program will provide you with workplace-ready business skills in a hands-on learning environment that is connected to industry. This program provides you with the skills and knowledge to:

  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of business in Canada.
  • Strategically market products and services to targeted customers.
  • Create spreadsheets for analysis, payroll and bookkeeping.
  • Edit and format documents using the most current tools and technologies.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively in the workplace.
  • Resolve organizational conflicts.

Work experience

  • Field experience is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience courses are your responsibility.
  • For more information, visit work experience opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • This program offers you an excellent way to acquire skills to quickly enter the business field as you explore a variety of career paths. 
  • You experience hands-on learning and real-world business environments through our on-campus business centres, simulations, project-based learning, applied learning, service learning, collaborative learning and mentorship activities.
  • You learn the latest practices and technologies that employers and business owners in Nova Scotia, across Canada and around the world are looking for in their future employees and partners.
  • You learn in small classes, from experienced instructors.
  • Our programs and faculty maintain strong community and industry connections and use a proactive approach to prepare students for industry trends and demands.
  • You have access to other exciting learning opportunities beyond your program such as international learning programs and Entrepreneurship workshops.


The Shelburne Campus offering is pending Board approval.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Annapolis Valley Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Seats available
Shelburne Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Seats available

Admission requirements

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2023-24 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates are prepared to start careers in a range of business sectors as administrative officers, administrative assistants and clerks in banking, bookkeeping, customer service, and entrepreneurship.

Future study options

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

ACTG 1000 - Financial Accounting I
This course introduces students to the basic principles of the accounting cycle used manually in the service industry. This course is accepted toward certification with the Canadian Institute of Bookkeeping (CIB). This course is accepted as a pre-requisite for the Canadian Professional Accountant Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (CPA – ACAF) program.

BSFD 2995 - Work Experience
The work experience component provides the learner with an opportunity to apply new skills and concepts appropriate for entry-level positions within the occupation. Learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal. This is a course of 175 hours spread over five weeks.

BUSI 1015 - The Business Environment
This course introduces students to an overview of the roles and responsibilities of business in today’s world. Students will discover how they fit into the business environment.

COMM 1205 - Communications - Workplace Foundations
Effective communication is fundamental to career success. This course will apply the communication cycle to improve the impact of written messages, presentations, and interpersonal interactions.

COMP 1105 - Business Computer Technology
This course provides students with an introduction to acceptable practices and uses of the computer, including the role of social media in Business. It provides the foundation for using computers that will contribute to success in both the Business Administration program and future careers. This course is accepted toward certification with the Canadian Institute of Bookkeeping (CIB).

COMP 2105 - Database I
This course introduces the student to the fundamentals of database management including planning, design, creation and modification. Once created, students will add, edit and delete records contained in a database. Students will create queries to obtain specific information from a database, design forms for working with database records, and design reports to print out data in various formats.

COMP 2110 - Spreadsheets I
This course introduces the student to electronic spreadsheets including their design and creation. Formulae and functions will be used to perform calculations on the spreadsheet data providing business solutions. Students will apply formatting skills to enhance the appearance and clarity of printed spreadsheets as well as using graphs to represent spreadsheet data. This course is accepted toward certification with the Canadian Institute of Bookkeeping (CIB). This course cannot be used to fulfill an elective requirement for students in Office Administration.

COMP 2125 - Word Processing I
This course introduces the student to the fundamentals of document processing including various levels of formatting and editing functions to create business-appropriate documentation. This course is accepted toward certification with the Canadian Institute of Bookkeeping (CIB). Note: This course is not eligible to Office Administration students for use as an elective.

ECON 2015 - The Economic and Global Environment
This course explains the external forces that can affect businesses and how knowledge of this broader environment influences business decisions.

MATH 2500 - Applied Business Mathematics
Applied Business Mathematics introduces students to a variety of math concepts applicable to the business profession. The course will emphasize the time value of money in relevant contexts, annuity applications such as investments, loans and mortgages, as well as decision-making tools such as merchandising costs analysis, break-even analysis, identifying the break-even point and areas of profit and loss.

MGMT 1010 - Organizational Behaviour
This course gives students a fundamental understanding of the factors that influence effective interactions within an organization. Individual traits, team dynamics, and organizational culture will all be examined as factors contributing to workplace success and sustainability. Topics such as perception, diversity, motivation, ethics, conflict resolution, and change will be examined to help students become better equipped to interact with others in an organization and to find career satisfaction.

MGMT 2025 - Management Principles
Management Principles focuses on the study of current management concepts, theories, issues and challenges.

MKTG 1010 - Marketing I
The primary focus of this course is marketing products and services to targeted customers. Emphasis is placed on the basic marketing premise that customer needs must be satisfied in order to achieve an organization's objectives. The strategic marketing planning process is introduced, along with the specific concepts and principles involved in the four key components of the marketing mix.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

In addition to their required courses, learners will complete two (2) units (120 hours) of open elective credit that are consistent with the goals outlined in their portfolios.

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