How Long Does an MBA Degree Take to Complete?

The time it takes to complete an MBA program may differ based on the program format, since many options are available to students. This article details the core program and how long it may take to earn an MBA in different formats.

Time Required to Earn an MBA

There are generally five main types of MBA programs. The length of these programs ranges from eighteen months to three years. Examples are detailed below.

Full-Time MBA: Two Years

This is the standard MBA program. It takes four semesters of full-time coursework to complete, coinciding with the university's schedule. Students are enrolled with a full-time course load, typically beginning their semester in late August or early September and completing all work required for the degree by May or June of the second year.

Part-Time MBA: Three or More Years

Working professionals often enroll in part-time programs. Students take their classes either at night or on the weekends, and their course load depends on what they believe they're able to handle per semester. These courses are often taken online.

Accelerated MBA: Eighteen Months or Fewer

These programs differ in length by school. Students do not adhere to the standard university schedule. Winter vacations may only last a single week, and students may be required to take courses all summer instead of receiving the standard vacation.

Executive MBA: Two Years

This program is similar to the full-time MBA program, though it is meant for working professionals who've been involved in their profession for many years, often ten or more. Classes are geared toward the knowledge and experience level of existing managers and supervisors within specific businesses.

Dual MBA: One Year or More

Dual programs offer accelerated learning for those who are pursuing their MBA along with another degree. This may mean another master's degree or a bachelor's degree. If the student is combining their MBA with a master's degree, the coursework may take well over two years. Lengths may also vary by specialty and the corresponding research or projects involved.

Some schools offer baccalaureate students the option to begin their MBA coursework during their senior year of college and continue throughout the summer, then into the next school year. They can ultimately finish their MBA after just one year beyond their undergraduate studies.

MBA Program Overview

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree earned by those looking to either enter or excel further in the business world. Individuals apply to MBA programs from all walks of life, including directly out of a bachelor's degree program, after working an entry-level position for a few years or having worked within the private or public sector for many years.


Core MBA courses introduce and quickly familiarize students with standard business practices and subjects. These include accounting, management, finance, marketing, management information systems and statistics. Most MBA programs require or allow students to choose a specialization, many of which are those standard business subjects mentioned above. Other concentrations may include management technology, financial analysis and international business.

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