Getting a business degree is a great way to gain valuable skills and knowledge to set yourself up for career success. However, all college degrees require an investment of time, money, and effort. A common question that comes up when considering a bachelor’s degree in business is how long does it take to get a business degree?
The standard timeline for completing a business administration bachelor’s degree program full-time is 4 years. However, there are both faster and slower options depending on your enrollment status, course load preferences, and other commitments outside of schoolwork. By understanding the most common timelines as well as factors that can accelerate or extend your path to graduation, you can make an informed decision when embarking on a business degree.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Business Degree?
The duration to obtain a business degree can vary depending on several factors. Typically, an undergraduate business degree, such as a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), takes around four years to complete. This includes completing all required coursework, internships, and any other program-specific requirements.
However, the time can be longer or shorter depending on factors such as part-time or full-time enrollment, taking summer classes, or transferring credits from previous education.
Additionally, pursuing a higher-level business degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), may require an additional one to two years beyond the undergraduate degree. Ultimately, the time it takes to obtain a business degree is contingent on individual circumstances and educational goals.
Typical Bachelor’s Degree Timeline
Most traditional business degree programs take 4 years to complete when attending full-time and taking around 15 credits per semester. This leads to approximately 120 total credit hours earned by graduation.
Here is the standard breakdown:
- Year 1: Intro business courses, general education prerequisites
- Year 2-3: Core business curricula with marketing, management, HR, accounting, finance
- Year 4: Upper division courses, specializations if applicable
While each college structures their business administration program slightly differently in terms of sequencing, a business degree college path generally takes about 15 credits or 5 courses per fall and spring term, allowing completion in 8 full-time semesters.
Accelerated and Part-Time Options
If the normal 4 years to obtain your business bachelor’s degree does not fit your situation, there are a few flexible options in terms of timeline.
- Accelerated – Some students choose to take on extra courses and complete summer terms. This allows graduation in 3-3.5 years. However, the yearly course load and tuition costs will be higher with this intensive route.
- Part-Time – Students who need to work or have other commitments can also opt for a part-time track at 6-11 credits per semester. While this allows more flexibility, it also extends the timeline significantly to around 5-6 years for degree completion.
So there are tradeoffs to consider between faster or slower paths when weighing how long does it take to get a business degree in college.
Factors That Impact Timeline
There are a few key factors that play a role in speeding up or slowing down progress towards earning your degree in business. These include:
- Full-Time – Taking at least 12 credits per fall and spring semester is needed to be considered full time. This allows graduation on the 4 year plan timeline by completing about 15 credits each term.
- Part-Time – For students taking 6-11 credits per semester while working or balancing other life responsibilities at the same time, completing the degree will take closer to double the amount of time – likely 5-6 years.
Summer and Extra Courses
- Adding courses during summer terms or intersessions between regular semesters accelerates degree completion because they allow you to amass credits faster. However, these extra courses may involve condensed schedules or additional tuition not covered under regular term rates.
- If you switch business specializations or majors after commencing on the degree, it can sometimes set your progress back depending on how many credits carry over versus needing to be re-taken. Planning your major from the outset optimizes the path to graduation.
- Online Programs – Virtual business degree options have become more commonplace, allowing much greater location and schedule flexibility that can accelerate timelines potentially. However, not all students thrive in remote formats, so weigh your own needs and preferences if considering this path.
- Night/Weekend Programs – Some colleges offer degree tracks allowing students to take evening and weekend classes primarily in order to accommodate work schedules during the daytime hours better. The tradeoff is these part-time programs take significantly longer to complete, often 5-6 years total for a bachelor’s.
Costs and Length Together
Another key aspect of evaluating how long does it take to get a business degree options involves looking at tuition costs in the context of overall timeline. Here are some considerations when it comes to the interconnected relationship between program length and funding requirements:
- Longer degree programs mean paying tuition bills for more total terms before graduating
- Accelerated programs allow finishing quicker, but require carrying higher course loads more expensively each semester
- Slowing down the pace by going part-time allows working simultaneously to earn money that helps cover yearly costs
- Faster graduation timelines reduce living expenses in terms of room & board outside of just tuition savings
There is no universal correct answer or one-size-fits-all approach when analyzing how long does it take to get a business degree. The most suitable timeline involves weighing your financial constraints against your scheduling needs and learning preferences. Maximizing available resources like financial aid packages and employer education reimbursements into the equation allows customizing an optimal game plan too.
The typical 4 year path offers a balanced approach for most students when considering the question “how long does it take to get a business degree?”. But individual situations vary greatly – talk to academic advisors about your specific goals and limitations to map a graduation roadmap aligning with your personal needs.
Exploring “how long does it take to get a business degree” leads to the answer of typically 4 years for full-time students for most traditional bachelor’s programs comprising around 120 credits through 8 semesters. However, accelerated 3 year paths or extended 5-6 year part-time tracks allow customization around individual circumstances in order to optimize outcomes and manage costs.
When embarking on pursuing undergraduate business administration studies, be sure to work closely with academic advisors to chart a course load and timeline aligned with your learning requisites and budgetary realities for maximum success.