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How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's Degree

By DeVry University

December 19, 2023

5 min read

If you’re ready to take the next step toward your career goals, you need an effective way to advance your education and skills on your timeline. You’re probably wondering, how long does it take to earn a master’s degree?


The amount of time it takes to earn a master's degree can vary widely, as it depends on several factors, including the type of program you enroll in, whether or not you have any transfer credits and if you plan to study full- or part-time.

How long does it take to earn a master's degree

In this article, we'll talk about the average length of a master's degree program and some additional factors that can affect how long it takes to earn one in the following sections:


The Average Amount of Time It Takes to Earn a Master's Degree

A typical master's degree program can take around 2 years to complete. Some degree programs may take less time, depending on their credit hours and curriculum requirements, while others can take around 3 or 4 years to complete.

At DeVry, for example, our Master's Degree in Business Administration Program (MBA) can be completed in as little as:

  • 12 months with an accelerated schedule (Requires 9 credit hours of Prior Learning Credit. Per 12-month period, assumes completion of 3 semesters and continuous, year-round, full-time enrollment in an average of 10 credit hours per semester with no breaks. Does not apply to MBA with Specialization. See Keller Academic Catalog for details.)

  • 2 years and 2 months with a normal schedule (Assuming completion of 3 semesters per year and continuous, year-round enrollment in an average of 6 credit hours per semester with no breaks.)

  • Or even more quickly with additional qualifying prior learning credit.

Factors That Affect How Long It Takes to Earn a Master's Degree

There are many factors that can influence how long it takes to earn a master's degree –  both in slowing down or speeding up the process. Speaking with an Admissions Representative is the best way to understand how long it may take you to complete your program, but here are a few things you should take into consideration when evaluating your personal circumstances:

1. Full-time or Part-time Education

Like many postsecondary education programs, you can enroll in a master's degree program on a part-time or full-time schedule at DeVry. If you are enrolled as a full-time student, your master's degree program can typically be completed in less time. If you are enrolled on a part-time basis, it will take longer. Time spent earning your master’s degree can also be lengthened if you take breaks between class sessions.

Whether you choose part-time or full-time is ultimately up to you. Pursuing your master's degree as a part-time student can give you much-needed flexibility, as a lighter course load may allow you to achieve a better balance between studying and other commitments, such as work and family.

2. Curriculum

Every degree curriculum is built differently, and because of that they can vary in overall length and intensity. Some degrees are designed to be completed very quickly, while others are designed to cover more complex concepts, requiring you to take more classes and spend more time in school.

3. Credit Requirements

The number of semester-credit hours needed to graduate from a master's degree program will vary among programs and schools, but typically ranges between 30 and 60 credits.

Taking a look at how many credits a program requires can help you figure out how long it takes to earn a master's degree. In many cases, each course counts for three or four credits. Breaking down the number of courses you take per session and calculating the value of each credit can give you a good idea of how long earning a particular degree takes.

4. Additional Degree Requirements

Finally, any degree requirements that you have not met when you start looking for a master's degree program can affect how long it takes to earn your degree. For instance, just about every master's degree program is going to require you to earn a bachelor's degree before you can enroll.

Another factor is any transfer credits you may be bringing with you from another school or program. Depending on the admissions requirements of your master’s program, you may be able to apply qualifying credit hours from previously completed courses toward your master’s degree, which may play a role in reducing the amount of time you’ll spend at school.

Qualifying for a Master’s Degree Program

To qualify for any master’s degree program, the first requirement is completion of a bachelor’s degree. If you hold a bachelor’s degree from a university-recognized institution, you are eligible for application to our Keller Graduate School of Management here at DeVry.

As a Keller applicant, you will need to demonstrate math and verbal skills proficiency. This is accomplished by achieving an undergraduate GPA higher than 2.50 on a 4.0 scale, submitting acceptable Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores or submitting an acceptable Keller-administered test score.

Select programs may have additional program-related prerequisite skills requirements. All the details can be found in our Keller Graduate Academic Catalog.

Earn Your Master's Degree at DeVry

At DeVry and our Keller Graduate School of Management, we offer a variety of master's degree programs in technology, business, accounting and healthcare, including an MBA program with 10 different specializations. Explore our master's degree programs to find one that’s right for you, or contact our Admissions Team for more information about how long it takes to earn a master's degree with us. Classes start soon!

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