business degree length of time

How Long Does It Take to Get a Business Degree?

When choosing a college major, job security and career success are typically top-of-mind. Students will often pick a field of study that shows promise for their career ahead. It’s no wonder, then, why business degrees are so popular among undergraduate students—they are highly valued by employers, offer high pay potential, and near-guarantee job security and room for growth. However, these are not the only benefits of a business degree. Business majors can also look forward to versatility and flexibility throughout their schooling and beyond. There are a variety of industries, workplaces, and specializations that require the skills of business school graduates. But exactly what does it take to get there?

How long does it take to get a business degree? What can you expect, as a prospective student, in terms of total investment and timeline?

These are important questions to ask. However, the answers will vary depending on the type of business degree that you pursue. Generally speaking, a business degree can take between two years and six years complete, depending on your course of study.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate Degree in Business?

An associate degree in Business typically takes two years to complete. This degree offers one of the fastest tracks in business education, and is a great launching point for those looking to enter the profession without a significant investment.

Associate-level business programs cover the fundamentals of business administration. Students learn the basics of business management, business law and ethics, accounting and finance, economics, budgeting, and planning. Students will also take a handful of general education courses that prepare them with versatile skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. As a result, the associate degree pathway is a great option for those looking to launch their own business, join a start-up company, or enter the business field in a short amount of time.

At Goodwin, the associate degree in Business Administration can be completed in two years’ time or less with accelerated courses and weekend class offerings. Students in this program can customize their schedule to meet their individual needs. For example, students can take classes in a part-time format, and continue working, which may require slightly more time to complete.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Business?

The bachelor’s degree in Business is the most popular pathway among business school students. Traditionally, this type of degree takes four years to complete. However, similar to an associate program, there are options for flexibility.

At Goodwin University, for example, students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration have the option to take accelerated business courses and complete their degree in roughly half the time as the traditional student. Students can also build a schedule that works best for their needs, with online, on-campus, and hybrid courses – as well as evening, day, and weekend classes – available.

The added time investment in a bachelor’s degree is worth it for many students. A bachelor’s degree in Business Administration delves deeper into advanced topics in management, marketing, accounting, entrepreneurship, business research, customer relations, and strategic planning. At Goodwin, the Business bachelor’s program is highly focused on entrepreneurship. Our goal is to prepare students to start their own, independent companies well before graduation day.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree in Business?

The time it takes to earn a master’s degree in Business will vary, depending on the type of degree and specialization pursued. Generally speaking, however, a graduate-level business program will take an additional two years to complete after earning a bachelor’s degree.

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) programs, for example, typically take two years to complete for full-time students. For part-time students, however, MBA programs can take around three years. MBA programs are a great option for students who wish to become managers in their companies.

The Master’s in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) is another type of business degree that offers great promise to aspiring business professionals. This degree can prepare students for a variety of forward-thinking leadership roles, from director to c-level executive, and takes just a short amount of time to complete. At Goodwin, for example, the MSOL degree can be completed in as few as 20 months part-time. This means that students can continue working their careers while going to school, and earn this leadership degree in less than two years’ time. Online and hybrid course offerings are available.


Download our Business Administration or MSOL Get Started Guides today to take the next steps toward your business career!


What About Transfer Students?

As detailed above, a business degree can take between two years and six years to complete, depending on how far you choose to take your education. However, these timelines mostly apply to those students who are starting from scratch, in their freshman year. The exception applies to transfer students who are changing schools or majors.

Transfer students can typically complete their business degree in a shorter time frame than the traditional, entry-level student. This is because they have already earned many credits (specifically general education credits) that can be applied to their business degree. If you are an incoming transfer student considering a business degree, talk to your prospective school about their transfer process and credit equivalencies. See which of your previous course credits will transfer, and what that means for your time investment in their business program.

Choosing the Right Business Degree Program

The time it takes to get a business degree will vary depending on the degree level. It may also differ from school-to-school, so it is important to do your research prior to enrollment. However, remember that the length of a degree is not the only factor to consider when choosing a business program. When evaluating business schools, remember to also look for:

  • Accreditation
  • Affordability
  • Career services and support
  • Flexibility in scheduling
  • Multiple degree options
  • Career-focused curriculum
  • Strong job placement rates

At the end of the day, the right business program for you will be the one that aligns with your career goals, and that offers an accessible timeline and schedule – allowing you to accomplish those goals.

At Goodwin University, flexibility is a top priority. We understand that some students have other obligations, like family and work, that they need to balance alongside their degree. We also recognize that many students have goals to get into a career fast and desire a fast-paced program that can propel them into a career they love. Our business programs are specially designed with these students in mind. At Goodwin, you can customize your business degree courses to be on a schedule that works for you.

Ready to get started? Learn about the flexible, accelerated business degree options at Goodwin University by visiting