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How long does it take to get an MBA?

Interested in pursuing an MBA but not sure you have the time? Here’s everything you need to know about joining an MBA.

MBA student

Earning an MBA can help you achieve your personal and professional goals but it’s also a big commitment in time and money. If you’re thinking about taking an MBA, one of your main considerations is probably how long it will take to complete.

Our comprehensive guide will take you through all you need to know about MBA degrees to help you understand their durations, formats, and different factors to consider before joining. 

How long is an MBA?

The length of an MBA degree varies depending on different factors like format, academic institution, and whether you’re studying full-time or part-time.

Traditional, full-time MBAs usually last two years, while part-time or executive MBA courses can take anything from 2 to 5 years.

Online MBA degrees often offer the flexibility of choosing between full-time and part-time. This means you could complete an MBA in as little as 1 year or spread out your studies to up to 3 years.

Online Degree


  • 1 year+
  • postgraduate
  • Flexible Learning
Apply now

Overall, the duration is usually influenced by the programme you choose. Let’s take a closer look at some of your options:

Executive MBA

An executive MBA (EMBA) is a specialised MBA course designed for experienced professionals who want to work alongside studying. EMBA courses are structured to accommodate the busy schedules of working individuals, with classes often held on weekends or in intensive week-long sessions. 

The duration of an EMBA typically ranges from 1.5 to 2 years. However, the exact length can vary depending on factors such as programme structure, scheduling, and institution. They also usually require previous work experience so you should check with the institution to understand the exact duration and whether you are eligible. 

Accelerated MBA

Accelerated MBA degrees condense the traditional 2-year curriculum into a shorter timeframe, usually 11 to 16 months. Ideal for those who want a more intense learning journey, they prioritise essential business skills and immersive experiences to prepare students for leadership roles.

These degrees demand a substantial energy investment, making them best suited for driven individuals with strong academic and professional backgrounds.

Bachelor’s/MBA Dual Degree

A Bachelor’s/MBA Dual Degree typically takes 5 years, allowing students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and an MBA simultaneously. 

To begin with, students focus on undergraduate coursework before transitioning into the MBA curriculum, taking an additional 1 to 2 years to complete.

This course streamlines the learning journey, saving time and potentially reducing tuition costs.

Graduate Degree/MBA Dual Degree

A Graduate Degree/MBA Dual Degree combines a specialised graduate degree with an MBA, with disciplines ranging from law to medicine and engineering. These courses typically take longer than traditional MBAs due to the extra coursework and specialisation.

The duration usually depends on the choice of graduate degree. For instance, a dual degree like an MBA/JD (Juris Doctor) may take 4 to 5 years to complete, while an MBA/MPH (Master of Public Health) may take 3 to 4 years. 

Course length can also vary due to factors like credit requirements, overlapping coursework, and scheduling options.

Mini-MBA or MBA Certificate

A Mini-MBA or MBA Certificate course offers a brief yet intense overview of fundamental business concepts. It’s ideal for professionals seeking to boost their skills without committing to a full MBA. 

These courses can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, with options for in-person or online learning.

While they don’t equate to a full MBA degree, they do provide a strong foundation in areas like finance, marketing, and management through interactive learning experiences and practical applications.

How many hours will I study each week for an MBA?

The number of hours you will study during an MBA will depend on the format type you choose from the list we covered above. It can also vary depending on factors such as course load and your individual study habits. 

For full-time MBAs, you should expect to dedicate a significant amount of time to coursework, group projects, and extracurricular activities. This often accumulates to 40-60 hours per week, including classroom time and independent study.

Part-time MBAs are designed for working professionals and typically require less time commitment per week, as students balance their studies alongside their careers and personal responsibilities. Depending on the programme structure, part-time students may spend 15-30 hours per week on coursework and related activities.

Executive MBAs (EMBAs) cater to mid-career professionals and often feature a more condensed schedule, with classes typically held on weekends or during week-long residential sessions. EMBA students may dedicate 15-25 hours per week to coursework, supplemented by additional time for networking events and leadership development activities.

Online MBAs weekly hours can vary greatly due to their flexibility. You could be taking an accelerated course that takes a year to complete but requires more weekly hours or a 3-year course that reduces your weekly hours. 

Students may also have the flexibility to choose their pace of study, taking more courses per term to finish more quickly or reducing their course load to balance other commitments.

Online Degree

Distance Learning MBA

  • 2.5 years part-time
  • postgraduate
  • Flexible Learning
Apply now

What factors can affect the duration of an MBA?

Several factors can influence the duration of an MBA. Here are a few reasons for variations in length:

  • Format: Full-time, part-time, and executive MBA courses have different time frames. You should carefully choose your course format based on your personal situation.
  • Course load: The number of courses taken each term can impact the MBA duration. Taking more courses per term can result in quicker completion, while a lighter course load may make it last longer.
  • Specialisations: Pursuing additional specialisations within the MBA may require extra coursework, leading to a longer completion time.
  • Transfer credits: Some MBAs allow students to transfer credits from previous academic coursework or professional certifications, which can shorten the time required to earn an MBA.
  • Prior experience: Individuals may be offered accelerated pathways for specific MBAs based on their previous academic or professional experience, which can reduce the time needed for completion.
  • Internships: Participation in internships, consulting projects, or other learning opportunities may add time to the MBA but can provide valuable practical experience and networking opportunities.
  • Personal circumstances: Work commitments, family responsibilities, and personal schedules can affect the time you have to dedicate to MBA studies.

In summary, the duration of an MBA can vary significantly depending on factors such as course format, course load, specialisation, prior experience, and personal circumstances. Whether pursuing a full-time, part-time, executive, or online MBA, you should carefully consider these factors to choose a course that aligns with your goals and fits your lifestyle.

>> Explore our full range of online degrees

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