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How Long Does It Take to Get a Business Degree?

Learn about the factors that influence how long it takes to get a business degree.

Jun 18, 2024
  • Education
  • Student Tips
How long does it take to get a business degree?

Are you considering applying to a business school and want to plan your time and budget? In this article, we'll explore how long it takes to get a business degree and discuss the factors that can affect the duration of your MBA.

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How long does it take to get a business degree?

Usually, a full-time MBA program takes 2 years to complete. Depending on the school and program type, credit requirements can vary from 30 to 60 credits. An internship or extra credit courses can make your degree longer.

How long does it take to get an MBA online?

An online program can be a more convenient option, however, it's not necessarily faster. If you choose an accelerated program, you can get a degree in 12 months, but regular online MBA programs are 2 years long.

The exact duration of your studies can vary based on the program specifics. You can learn more about pursuing an MBA in our Ultimate MBA Degree Guide for International Students.

MBA basics

MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is a graduate degree that teaches you everything you need to know about business to advance to top-level management or even run your own company.

There are quite a few types of MBA programs:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Online
  • Executive
  • Global
  • Specialized
  • Dual

You can read a more detailed overview of an MBA degree in our article: What Does MBA Stand For?

Factors that might affect the duration of your business degree

Enrollment status

Since part-time students can dedicate fewer hours per week to their studies, their degrees usually take up to twice as long to complete compared to full-time students. However, the flexibility of a part-time option allows you to pursue work alongside your education.

Credit transfer

Make sure to check credit transfer policies at the business schools you're considering. Many institutions allow for your previous education or professional experience to be counted toward your MBA, so it can significantly reduce the time needed to complete this degree.

Thesis or other projects

In most MBA programs, you'll have to submit a thesis, a capstone project, or other research projects to graduate. The time needed to complete them can vary greatly depending on the nature of the research, the project's scope, and any unexpected challenges that may arise. Sometimes, these circumstances can lengthen your education, especially if you face complex issues.

Dual degrees

Depending on what kind of dual degree you apply for, your MBA can be longer or shorter:

  • If you chose an MPH-MBA or a JD-MBA program, for example, then your graduate studies could take 3 years, however, you actually get 2 degrees at once.
  • If you go for a Bachelor's-to-MBA program, also known as the 4+1 track, you can graduate with both degrees in 5 years instead of the usual 6 or more.

Internships

MBA programs also often include internships for you to get a taste of what it's like to work in the industry and gain some experience. Students usually complete them during the summer break, part-time alongside their studies, or there could be a dedicated time during the semester with fewer classes. However, an internship can extend the duration of your degree depending on the program's plan.

Accelerated MBA programs

Accelerated MBAs often require around 30 credits so they can be completed in as little as 12 months, but in some cases may take up to 18 months. Because of the faster degree timeline, many accelerated MBA programs run year-round and have intensive, full-time coursework. Keep in mind that you may not be able to work full-time while earning an accelerated MBA.

The usual duration of different MBA program types

MBA typeDuration
Full-time (on-campus and online)2 years
Part-time (on-campus and online)Up to 4 years
Executive MBA2 years
Accelerated MBA12-18 months
Dual MBA2-3 years
4+1 track5 years

Conclusion

The standard duration of a business degree is 2 years. However, depending on your specific circumstances, you can enroll in an accelerated program and complete your MBA in just 12 months, or take it slow and be a part-time student for up to 4 years.

It's important to know your options, research what's available to you, and determine your goals so that you choose the most suitable program. Note that some schools charge students a set amount per each credit they take, meaning that shorter programs with lower credit requirements may cost less.

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Keystone Team

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The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.

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