How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor's Degree?

At many schools, it takes about four years to earn a bachelor's degree. However, this is by no means the only timeframe. Depending on the program you choose, it can take anywhere from three to six years for someone to earn their degree.

How long it takes you to earn your degree depends on a combination of factors. In this article, we'll take you through some of the things that can speed up or slow down the process of earning your bachelor's degree and help you understand why certain choices play a role in the length of your degree program as we explore the following sections:

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Factors that Can Help You Earn a Bachelor's Degree Faster

When most people ask how long it takes to earn a bachelor's degree, it's because they want to find a way to earn their degree quickly. We understand where they’re coming from. Getting your degree is one of the biggest steps you can take when it comes to pursuing your career goals, so it's natural to want to accomplish that step as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do that may help reduce the amount of time it takes to earn a bachelor's degree or stay on track, such as:

  • Take an online bachelor's degree program: Online degree programs offer a greater degree of flexibility, enabling you to do your work on your schedule. Online programs can also allow you to maintain existing commitments like a job or caring for family members. This can be a great choice if you’re struggling to fit a typical in-person class schedule into your busy week.

  • Take fuller course loads: An average course load will typically get you to graduation in approximately four years, but an average course load may not be a full one. By adding more classes to each session, you can earn more credits, which can help you graduate faster. Make sure that you only take on as many courses as you know you can handle, this will help manage stress, burnout and help maintain your focus.

  • Stick with your major: One of the reasons people end up taking longer to graduate is because they switch their majors. This can render some of the classes they’ve already taken irrelevant to their new degree program. By sticking with one major throughout your education, the better the odds that your classes that will count toward your degree.

Factors that Can Slow Down the Bachelor's Degree Process

Just as there are ways to earn your bachelor's degree that can speed up the process, there are also things that may make it take longer. Here are some of the key things to avoid if you want to earn your bachelor's degree more quickly:

  • Failing courses: Not passing a course that the first time will make earning your bachelor's degree take longer. It's also helpful to remember that while taking more courses can help you earn a degree faster, the increased course load may be harder to balance. Only taking as many courses as you know you can handle can help you ensure you’ll be doing your best work.

  • Part-time education: Pursuing your bachelor's degree part-time can be a great option for people who don't have the availability to do full-time education. That said, the nature of part-time education can result in a longer process for earning your degree.

  • Change of major: Just as sticking with your major can result in earning your degree faster, changing it frequently can slow down the process. Every time you change your major, you also risk changing the course requirements for your degree, which can extend the time it takes to earn your bachelor's degree.

If you're interested in earning a bachelor's degree, we can help.

With our online bachelor's degree programs, you can earn your degree in as little as two years and eight months* — or even more quickly with qualifying transfer credits. Request more info to see how DeVry can help you earn your bachelor's degree on your schedule.


*Not including breaks. Assumes year-round, full-time enrollment.