Common questions and concerns that prospective students have when pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration degree (MBA) often involve questions around time commitment. How many years will it take to complete the degree program? How much time is spent in the classroom each week? How much time should be allotted for studying? All of these questions are valid and important to address when deciding if and when pursuing an MBA degree is the right choice for you. At the Gary W. Rollins College of Business, both the 100% Online MBA and the Flexible MBA degree programs require the same coursework and amount of time.  But, how that time is spent differs between the programs.

The 100% Online MBA and the Flexible MBA degree programs at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) share an identical MBA curriculum consisting of 12 graduate-level courses (36 credit hours total). The amount of time that it will take to complete either MBA degree program at UTC will vary based upon the number of courses taken each term. For example, full-time students in either program will take three courses (nine credit hours) per semester. Doing so will allow these students to complete their MBA degree programs in four semesters. Alternatively, students who take courses part-time will take either one or two courses (three or six credit hours) per semester. This means that part-time students can take as little as six semesters (two years) to complete their MBA degree program, depending on the number of courses taken per term. If needed, students can take up to six years to complete the program. In essence, more courses taken per term will yield a shorter overall timeline, and fewer courses taken each term will result in a lengthier overall timeline. The good news is that each MBA student in the UTC Flexible MBA and 100% Online MBA programs will work with an academic advisor to map out a unique timeline to aid in determining the number of courses to take per semester.

The Flexible MBA degree program at the Gary W. Rollins College of Business is a campus-based program offering some online course options. Students in this program take a majority of their classes in a traditional, face-to-face classroom environment in the evenings. Because each course in the program is worth three credit hours, students in this program should plan to spend two-and-a-half hours per week per course in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, student should expect to spend an additional 10 to 12 hours per week completing graduate-level assignments, working on group projects, and generally studying for each course.  While students in the UTC 100% Online MBA program have the ability to set when and where they study each week, the curriculum requirements are exactly the same as the Flexible MBA. Students in the 100% Online MBA degree program, though not physically attending class, should still plan to devote at least 12 to 15 hours per week per course in order to complete reading, review course materials, participate in discussion boards, work through assignments, and generally study.  Naturally, for any given course in either program, the number of study hours will vary based on the student’s ability to grasp the course content and the student’s exposure in the past to the concepts taught in the course.

Overall, earning an MBA degree requires significant time and effort but can be fully achieved by devoting the appropriate time. Having a better idea about the time commitment associated with earning an MBA degree is a great way to set yourself up for success and maintain a healthy work-life balance. At the Rollins College of Business at UTC, we work hard to help our MBA students build schedules that meet their time completion goal while being realistic about what it takes to earn a graduate degree.

Guest blogger: Brianna Gill, Gary W. Rollins College of Business Graduate Programs Office

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