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How Long Do Students Take to Complete an MBA Degree?

Higher Education Articles May 7, 2015

The time an MBA program requires may differ based on the program’s format, since students may choose from many options.

Time Needed for an MBA Degree

The duration of the MBA degree program can vary by program format, with schools offering many options for students to choose from. Schools offer five major forms of MBA programs ranging in duration from fewer than 18 months to three years. In this article, we take a look at the time span required to complete various forms of MBA programs.

One Year or More: Dual MBA

Through dual programs, schools offer accelerated learning for individuals who wish to pursue their MBA along with another degree, which could be either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Students who combine their MBA with a master’s degree could take more than two years to complete the coursework. Program durations may differ according to the specialty and the corresponding projects or research involved.

Baccalaureate students are offered the option by some schools to commence their MBA courses when they are in their senior year of college; they can continue the program over the summer and into the next academic year. Thus, the MBA can be completed within a year of study.

18 Months or Fewer: Accelerated MBA

Individual schools may offer these programs with different time durations without adherence to the standard university schedule. Schools do not allow winter vacations beyond a single week, and courses may run all summer, with students having to forgo the standard vacation.

Two Years: Full-Time MBA

Students take about two years (comprising four semesters) of full-time study to complete this standard MBA program offered by schools, with strict adherence to the standard university schedule. The semester typically begins in late August or early September, and students complete the study required to earn a degree in the second year during May or June.

Two Years: Executive MBA

Not much different from the full-time MBA program, this program is devised to meet the needs of working professionals with several years (often over ten years) of work experience in their field. The orientation of classes reflects the experience and knowledge of existing supervisors and managers employed within specific businesses.

Three Years or More: Part-Time MBA

Part-time programs are available for working professionals. Weekend and night class options are available, and students take a course load dependent on how much they can cover in a semester. Schools often offer these courses in online formats.

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Program

Individuals who seek entry into the business world as well as those that want to excel further can pursue this graduate degree called the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). There are applicants to MBA programs from all walks of life. Some applicants include those that have just completed a bachelor’s degree program, those who have spent a few years working in an entry-level career, or those with several years of experience within the public or private sector.


Students are introduced to and familiarized with standard business subjects and practices. Courses include subject areas such as statistics, management information systems, marketing, finance, management, and accounting. Students enrolled in most MBA programs are required or allowed to select a specialization from several standard business subjects as mentioned above as well as other concentrations such as international business, financial analysis, and management technology.

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