Skip navigation

MBA vs Masters: Which is Right for Me?

If you’re keen to learn how to be a better manager or how to take your business to the next level, you might be considering undergoing further business training or enrolling on a management course. Studying for an MBA or Masters is a fantastic way to develop skills in efficiently managing an organisation and driving growth, and both can also be key to driving your career forward.  

However, they differ in many ways too. Below, we’ve delved into some of the main differences between the two types of courses to help you choose which may work best for you. 

Scope of an MBA vs Masters 

Perhaps the biggest differentiator between a Masters and MBA is in their respective scope. MBAs generally aim to equip students with a broad practical foundation across business and management topics. They are designed to prepare you for senior management roles by exposing you to all areas of business including finance, accounting, marketing. 

On the other hand, Masters are generally geared towards students who are looking to obtain specialist, advanced theoretical knowledge on one topic. As such, you could choose to study a Masters in Finance, in HR Management or in Business Analytics, focusing on that particular area of business you are interested in. 

However, it is possible to find more general Masters courses which cover a wider base of topics. Our online Business and Management MSc, for example, touches on marketing, digital, business analytics and beyond to help ensure students gain the skills needed to progress into leadership positions.


Entry requirements of an MBA vs Masters   

But what kind of candidates are drawn to each type of course? For the most part, MBA courses tend to welcome students who already have a degree of leadership experience under their belts. On average, an MBA student will have five years' work experience, with the idea being that the MBA will further develop the skills acquired through their professional experience.  

By comparison, a Masters degree is typically better suited to students who are at the earlier stages in their career - looking to take that step up into management for the first time - or for new graduates who are looking to obtain another qualification before entering the job market. Additionally, the specialisation available within certain Masters might appeal to students looking to sharpen their skills in one area, allowing them to become an expert in the particular field they want to break into even if their background is in something else.


Average cost of an MBA vs Masters 

Though not always, MBAs do tend to be more expensive than Masters degrees. The average one-year MBA costs between £10,000 to £15,000, with MBA programmes in universities like Oxford and Cambridge potentially costing up to £45,000.   

In comparison, Masters degrees in the UK are considerably cheaper and generally cost around £8,000; an amount covered by the UK Masters loan scheme. For some, an MBA may be a little expensive, while a Masters is a more affordable option. 

Study time of an MBA vs Masters 

Most universities offer several study options which can extend or shorten the length of time it takes to finish an MBA or a Masters. For a traditional full-time MBA, students will generally finish the course in two years. However, for accelerated courses, you might be looking at a year to eighteen months, with part-time courses potentially taking up to three years to complete. 

A Masters degree can vary in time as well, depending on whether it is completed full-time or part-time. However they generally take up to a year to finish full-time and two years part-time, such as our flexible Business and Management MSc


MBA vs Masters – which is it to be? 

Ultimately, MBA and Masters are both highly sought after by employers and either route can provide a boost to your career development and skill set. The best advice may be to consider the two options and which may be better suited to your professional background, financial and time constraints. It's important to pick the right course for you.


Lead On with a Business and Management MSc from Northumbria 

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, looking to start your career or want to take a step up into a more senior role, our distance learning Business and Management MSc has been designed to prepare you to confront the business challenges of the future. 

Open to students from all backgrounds, it is the perfect MBA alternative if you are at the earlier stages of your career or new to business, enhancing your knowledge across a range of key business areas – from analytics to marketing – and developing the key practical skills needed to thrive in a commercial environment.  

Our modules have also been handpicked to reflect current trends and empower you to become a more effective, yet responsible, business leader. Each will help you build the skills needed in today’s unique climate, where organisations need to keep social responsibility and ethics at the centre of their strategies - whether it is during our Globalisation, Innovation and Sustainability module (focusing on how to implement innovative and sustainable organisational development), during Leadership for Responsible Change, (exploring how to lead positive change in business) or any of the other six units you will study over the two years.

Plus, the course is flexible. Not only will you be able to study anytime, from anywhere, but you’ll be able to pay on a module by module basis too.

Learn more about our Business and Management MSc here, and discover how it could be the course to help you to reach your full career potential. 


a sign in front of a crowd

Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

a person sitting at a table using a laptop
NU World Virtual Tours

Virtual Tour

Get an insight into life at Northumbria at the click of a button! Come and explore our videos and 360 panoramas to immerse yourself in our campuses and get a feel for what it is like studying here using our interactive virtual tour.

Latest News and Features

Michael Brodie CBE, CEO of the NHS Business Services Authority and honorary graduate
Insights North East
Ozcan Essen
Assistant Professor Charlotte Gordon at the Diabetes Nursing Awards with certificate of achievement
Dr Dawn Branley-Bell
Antarctica expedition
Dr Kirsty Lindsay
Northumbria HAF Plus team and partners
More events

Upcoming events

Back to top