How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA?

How long does it take to get an MBA?
How long does it take to get an MBA?. Ana Barateiro / Getty Images

How long it takes to get an MBA degree depends on the school you attend and the type of program you select. For example, part-time programs last longer than full-time programs, and accelerated programs typically take less time to complete than traditional programs. Executive MBA programs and dual degree programs also have their own timetable.

MBA Program Lengths at a Glance

  • Traditional MBA programs: 2 years, full-time
  • Accelerated MBA programs: 10-13 months, full-time
  • Part-time MBA programs: 4-6 years, part-time
  • Executive MBA programs: 18-24 months, part-time
  • Dual MBA programs: 3-5 years, full-time

MBA program length also depends on where you get your degree. In the United States, traditional MBA programs take approximately two years of full-time study to complete. This two-year model is less common in other countries. For example, in most European countries, MBA programs take just 12-18 months of full-time study to complete.

Traditional MBA Program Length

In the U.S., traditional MBA programs take two years to complete. Students usually get time off during the summer and winter, which means that the programs really require only a 20-month commitment, rather than 24 months. However, these programs require full-time study and may even require summer internships, summer classes, or global experiences. The rigor and depth of a two-year MBA program often varies from school to school, but you should expect to devote most of your time to studying. In other words, it is very difficult to attend a full-time MBA program and work full-time or even part-time while classes are in session.

Executive MBA Program Length

Executive MBA programs are similar in length to traditional MBA programs. Although some programs can be completed in 18 months, many take two years to complete, and in a few unique cases, up to 30 months to complete. Since these programs are typically geared toward executives and other working professionals, classes are held on weekends and weeknights rather than weekdays. In certain programs, students are only required to attend class one weekend per month. Students may also have to participate in a global experience.

Part-Time MBA Program Length

Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals who want to study part-time while they continue to work. These programs often hold classes on the weekdays or weekends. The course load is similar to that of a traditional MBA program, but course requirements are spread over a longer period so the curriculum doesn't feel as demanding or rigorous as a full-time program. Part-time MBA students may have to participate in one or more required global experiences. 

Accelerated MBA Program Length

Accelerated MBA programs are fast-paced MBA programs that allow students to earn an MBA in less time than a traditional two-year MBA program. Most accelerated MBA programs take somewhere between 10 and 13 months to complete. These programs are often very intense and come with a heavy workload. Accelerated MBA programs are immersive and often require an internship and/or a global experience. 

Dual Degree Program Length

Many business school students choose to simultaneously earn an MBA and another type of degree through something known as a dual degree program. For example, students who want to earn a law degree and a business degree may enroll in a JD/MBA degree program. Other common dual degree options include:

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)/MBA
  • Master of Science in Urban Planning/MBA
  • Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)/MBA
  • Master of International Affairs (MIA)/MBA
  • Master of Science in Journalism/MBA
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)/MBA
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)/MBA
  • Master of Science in Social Work/MBA

Master of Arts in Education/MBA

The amount of time it takes to complete a dual degree program is often dependent on the school or schools you will be attending to earn your degree. However, you can usually expect an extra year of study, meaning that most dual degree programs can be completed in three years (9 quarters). The more rigorous programs, such as the MD/MBA program or the JD/MBA program, often take more time. Most MD/MBA programs take five years (17 quarters) to complete, and most JD/MBA programs take four years (12 quarters to complete).