Typical MBA Curriculum

Instructor: Rachel Diamond
Learn about the typical curriculum for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, including online availability, program length and course descriptions.

Overview of a Common MBA Program

An MBA, or Master of Business Administration program, provides a combination of required core classes and electives. MBA programs usually take two years to complete. Online MBA programs are also widely available and take between 18 months and 3 years.

Descriptions of Common Core Courses


Accounting classes teach students to control and manage costs. Students might learn how to use cost information for future planning or measure a business's performance. Advanced accounting courses might teach about the accounting impacts of mergers and acquisitions. As a helpful supplement to your MBA program, offers lessons in the following topics:

  • Accounting basics can get you familiar with common accounting tools and their uses in business.
  • Lessons on financial management in business explain the role of financial managers, business financing and financial planning.
  • Money and financial institutions lessons cover the influences of finance on the global economy and introduce you to world banking services and organizations that commonly affect business.


Managers and executives must be able to read and understand corporate financial statements. A course in finance teaches students how businesses produce and use financial accounting information. In addition to these skills, students might learn standard analysis techniques, such as capital budgeting and discounted cash flow valuation. offers the following lessons on financial principles so you can get a handle on the subject:


Marketing is an art and a science. In marketing courses, students learn about analyzing buyer behavior and figure out how to fulfill customers' needs. Students learn the four Ps: product strategy, pricing, promotion and placement. You can complement your marketing classes with these lessons:

Human Resources

Human resources classes teach you how to manage your business's personnel. These classes might pull together a number of other disciplines, like psychology and organizational sociology, and show you methods for hiring, promoting and disciplining employees. These lessons can increase your understanding of important topics in human resources:

  • Lessons on staffing in organizations walk you through the hiring process, including recruiting and interviewing potential hires.
  • Employment law and employee rights lessons introduce you to laws that apply to human resources decisions, such as the Equal Pay Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.


Any business that creates or distributes a product will need managers well-versed in operations. These courses might discuss common problems that operations managers deal with and teach analytical techniques to confront those problems. Students may also learn about inventory management and control, quality management and product design. offers lessons that delve into operations, like:


Microeconomics is the study of how the decisions of individuals and companies affect supply and demand. In this class, you might learn how to analyze market conditions to set a price for the product your company makes or the services it provides. has lessons on:

Leadership and Ethics

Leadership and ethics are two courses that might be taught separately, even though the two topics often overlap. A stand-alone leadership class might focus on managing the performance of subordinates, communicating effectively and creating a vision for the company. A student can also learn to hone his or her management style. Ethics courses teach students to analyze whether different courses of action a business might take are responsible and ethical. Classes that combine these two subjects might cover the ways in which a manager can use his or her position at a company to spread personal values. To help you learn more about either of these subjects, offers the following:


Electives can cover a multitude of subject areas. They might include international business courses, courses that crossover with a school's law or health care curriculum and advanced classes in any of the subjects above.

The following business courses can supplement your MBA electives, depending on your program focus:

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