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Time Required to Earn an MBA
Depending on the school they attend, graduate students can choose among several types of MBA programs that can last from one to over three years. We'll go over these MBA degree formats and cover what a program in this field typically entails.
Master of Business Administration, or MBA, programs are generally available in five main formats, and each one has a different length.
Full-Time MBA: 2 Years
The traditional full-time MBA program takes two years to complete. It takes four semesters of coursework to complete, coinciding with the university's schedule. Full-time MBA students typically begin their semester in late August or early September and complete all work required for the degree by May or June of the second year.
Part-Time MBA: 3+ Years
Part-time MBA programs are often designed for working professionals. 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. Courses may also be available online.
Accelerated MBA: 1+ Years
Although their length varies from school to school, accelerated MBA programs generally take at least a year to finish. Students do not adhere to the standard university schedule for these programs. Those enrolled in these programs may only get one-week winter vacations, and they may be required to take courses throughout the summer instead of receiving the standard vacation.
Executive MBA: 2 Years
Similar in format to the full-time MBA program, the executive MBA is a two-year program for professionals who have several years of work experience. Classes are geared toward the knowledge and experience level of existing managers and supervisors within specific businesses.
Dual MBA: 3+ Years
Dual MBA programs allow students to earn an MBA while they simultaneously earn another related degree. Typically, it takes less time to earn two degrees in a dual term degree program, but only because some courses count toward both degrees. If the full-time MBA degree program takes about two years, a dual degree program will add around one year or more to the process, allowing students to earn their two degrees in three years or more.
Undergraduate students also have the option of pursuing dual degree programs that would result in a bachelor's degree and an MBA. For these programs, schools usually 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. Students can ultimately finish their MBA after just one year beyond their undergraduate studies.
MBA Program Overview
The 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 after having worked within the private or public sector for many years. In MBA programs, students take a core set of fundamental business courses. From there they can choose a specialization in which to take elective courses. Elective options vary by school, but they can include:
- Corporate finance
- Healthcare management
- Real estate
MBA programs are available in a variety of formats and lengths so they can accommodate the schedules of students with different educational interests and needs. MBA students can also choose from multiple specialization options from within their programs.