With so many options available, it can be hard to make an informed decision about the length of your MBA program.  Before you start your MBA application, check out these tips on how to decide which program length is right for you. 

MBA program length

1. Full-time MBA programs: 2 years

Full-time MBA programs are best for students who can commit to two years of study. Full-time MBA programs aren't designed to accommodate work schedules, so consider whether or not you're willing to quit your job. That said, full-time MBA programs benefit students without much experience, who are launching their careers. It's important to consider the cost, too—two years of tuition without working full-time may be prohibitive. 

2. Part-time MBA programs: about 3 years

If you’re already working but want to pursue your MBA simultaneously, a part-time MBA program may make the most sense. You'll have access to the same faculty and resources as your full-time peers, but you'll have added flexibility and work-life balance. Of course, three years is a long time to work on a degree, so consider whether or not you'll be able (or willing) to maintain this commitment for so long. 

3. Accelerated MBA programs: 12-18 months

Many accelerated MBA programs start early summer and end the following summer, with an optional, six-month field specialization. If you have a strong professional background and/or an undergraduate business degree, but you still want to gain more expertise, an accelerated MBA could be the best option to save time and money.

4. 4+1 MBA: 5 years

Some undergraduate institutions offer a fast-track option—the 4+1 MBA—which allows students to begin earning their MBA while still pursuing a bachelor's degree (in business or another field). Most 4+1 MBA students start their application process during their junior undergraduate year—and you'll still have to take the GMAT. Students begin taking business courses their senior year and will ultimately save time and money. 

5. Online MBA programs: 18+ months

Online MBA programs are ideal for students who don't want to (or can't) leave their jobs to pursue their degree full-time. Online MBA students take between one and four classes per semester, so it may take them longer to finish their degree; at the same time, online MBA programs are often less expensive than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. If you're determined to earn your MBA and able to work independently and remotely, an online MBA program might be the best option for you.

Quiz: Should You Take the GMAT or GRE?

The GMAT is not the only test in the business school game anymore. Answer a few questions and will help you decide whether to to take the GMAT or the GRE.