Tennessee Pursue Entrepreneurship Graduate Programs

Entrepreneurship graduate programs help prepare students with the skills and knowledge to start a new business. Programs take a comprehensive approach that combines theoretical business know-how with practical application. Courses try to cover what a company needs to effectively function. Topics could include accounting, team management, decision-making, development and more. Students may then have the opportunity to step into real-world business situations and apply their skillset alongside working professionals.

How to earn a graduate degree in entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship programs may be available at the masters, doctorate or graduate certificate level and in a variety of formats, allowing students with many backgrounds to prepare to confidently begin their next business.

Entrepreneurship Masters Programs

Masters in entrepreneurship programs tend to act like an incubator to help springboard students into their first business venture. Courses in these programs are designed to strengthen your fundamental knowledge about what makes a business tick. Then, you could move to apply that knowledge to designing and launching both mock and actual business plans.

Usually, the master program is offered either as a master of entrepreneurship (ME) or a master of science. But, many other programs may offer it as part of a master of business administration (MBA) program. In these cases, entrepreneurship is offered either as a concentration or specialization.

It's important to note that an MBA program may require students to submit a professional resume as part of their application. Your resume should highlight any previous entrepreneurial or business endeavors. If you have no previous experience in these areas, you could outline that as part of your letter of intent. Your letter could then also go on to highlight what knowledge you hope to gain in those industries.  

An MBA in entrepreneurship typically requires students to complete 30 to 48 credit hours’ worth of classes. Students could potentially earn a masters in entrepreneurship in 1.5 years depending upon enrollment. Program length may vary by program.

Potential Masters in Entrepreneurship Curriculum

The masters in entrepreneurship curriculum covers a variety of methods to address the different needs of a business. This could include completing tasks like applying for permits, managing staff, marketing, and more. Below are a few sample courses.

  • Managerial Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Strategic Management
  • Decision-making
  • Marketing
  • Planning & Leadership

These are only a few classes you could take during your entrepreneurship masters program. Students who are pursuing this as an MBA concentration might also be required to complete general business courses. Contact potential schools or programs for a complete course guide.

Experiential Learning

Many masters programs may also provide experiential learning opportunities. During these, student could have the chance to enter real-world business situations. The goal of these experiences is to give students a glimpse of how their studies could be applied in their chosen industry. That way, they may better make connections between their textbook theory and practical business applications.

Experiential learning opportunities could include some of the following options.

  • Internships
  • Coaching & Mentoring Sessions
  • Apprenticeships

Available experiential learning opportunities may vary from school to school. Speak with department faculty for more information.

Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate Programs

Pursuing a graduate certificate in entrepreneurship could be a great way to expand upon the principles you studied in a bachelors program. The curriculum in these programs are similar to those offered in masters programs but courses tend to be more concise and focus on high-level concepts.

Graduate certificates in entrepreneurship could give students the chance to study the basics to get their future business on its feet. And, later on, they could potentially apply that same knowledge towards earning a masters degree. 

Schools who offer these programs typically require students to have previously earned a bachelors degree. That degree does not necessarily need to be in a related field. However, students with no business background may be asked to submit proof of 2 years, full-time work experience.

Graduate certificate programs in entrepreneurship usually consist of 9 to 15 credit hours and are typically offered in a part-time format. This time-frame could allow current working students to work towards both their educational and professional goals simultaneously. Students could potentially earn a graduate certificate in 1 to 2 years. Program length varies by school and enrollment status. Be sure to speak with an adviser prior to enrolling for more information.

Entrepreneurship Doctoral Programs

Instead of focusing on running a business, entrepreneurship doctoral programs highlight researching and designed new techniques to enhance a corporation’s work flow. Courses in these programs tend to deal with research methods, statistics, and theoretical business principles. Combining this with your previous business studies, you could then go on to conduct your own research in the field.

Many doctoral programs require students to have already earned a graduate degree in entrepreneurship or a related business field. Students may be asked to submit a 3.4 graduate GPA in addition to GRE exam scores.

Undergraduate students with a 3.2 or higher GPA may also be permitted to apply. In these cases, supplemental materials may be required to demonstrate business knowledge. Please note that students who have not earned a previous business degree may wish to pursue one at the masters level before attempting a doctoral program.

It is also common for programs to request students’ professional resumes. This document could highlight your own business endeavors. Or, demonstrate how you have applied your previous business education. In it, you should outline your work history as well as any professional certification you may have.

The doctoral curriculum is usually constructed of 45 to 62 credit hours’ worth of classes. Due to this and the dissertation requirement, students could potentially earn a PhD in entrepreneurship in 2 to 4 years.

Earn A Graduate Degree in Entrepreneurship

PrerequisitesContinued EducationAverage Progam Length
Bachelors or Masters in Related FieldPhD in Entrepreneurship & InnovationMasters - 1.5 years, full time
3.0 or higher GPAGraduate Certificate in Social EntrepreneurshipGraduate Certificate - 1 year, full time
GRE or GMAT Scores Doctorate - 4 years, full time
Professional Experience  

Dissertation Entrepreneurship Research

Like typical dissertation projects, doctoral entrepreneurship programs require students to conduct and present research they’ve collected in their field. Depending on the outcomes, this research could help guide future business leaders in their daily operations.

Dissertation topics could focus on a few of the following topics.

  • Management Styles
  • Decision Making Processes
  • Work Environments
  • Large-Scale Business Operations
  • International Business

Once you have collected your data, you may then be required to present your dissertation to selected faculty. Typically, students choose professors for their dissertation committee that have some experience on the topic they’re studying. For this reason, you may want to research the faculty and their areas of interest when selecting an entrepreneurship doctoral program.

Dissertation requirements may vary between schools and programs. Check with your educational adviser or an admissions counselor for more information.

Accredited Entrepreneurship Graduate Programs

When browsing entrepreneurship graduate programs, you may find agencies either specifically accredit entrepreneurship programs or general business ones.

For instance, the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial & Engaged Universities (ACEEU) specifically accredits entrepreneurship programs. They’ve designed a set of standards the schools must comply with to become recognized. This usually includes keeping their courses up-to-date with recent business tactics or technology.

Or, students may find programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCSB). You may see these agencies more commonly endorsing MBA programs with an entrepreneurship specialization or concentration.

Schools may also be accredited by specific agencies overseeing their region. Accreditation may speak to the quality of the program, financial stabilty and more. For more information, visit potential schools’ accreditation status page.

Entrepreneur Graduate Program Formats

Entrepreneurship graduate programs are offered in a variety of ways to better cater to the unique needs of its students. Below are descriptions of some potential program formats and how they could fit into your schedule.

Entrepreneurship Graduate Programs On Campus

On campus entrepreneurship graduate programs are a traditional program offering. Students report to or live on campus while they take their classes.

This format is unique in that it could help you develop a network of business contacts through regular face to face interactions. During your classes, you could connect and discuss coursework with your peers. Building a report with your classmates could be the first step to creating a business partnership. During this time, you could create new business plans and expand them as you progress through your curriculum. You might also participate in campus events and other networking activities.

In addition to your peers, you could also build a relationship with your professors. Faculty members may be fellow entrepreneurs who have made the jump into teaching. They could provide insight into the success in their own business dealings. On the other hand, they could also explain what went wrong along the way. Their firsthand knowledge could help you avoid some challenges as you launch your own services.

Online Entrepreneurship Graduate Programs

Despite being in the digital classroom, online entrepreneurship graduate programs tend to teach the same material as their campus-based counterparts. Many schools strive to keep these two programs as identical as possible. This could include streaming live lectures, providing class discussion forums, or even internet chat software. In addition, schools may also grant students access to their campus facilities like libraries or technology resources.

Where this program differs is convenience. Since courses are online, classes may be available wherever there is internet access. Students could sign into their classes and complete assignments as their schedule allows. This could be a great asset for students currently working. Or, this could be a perfect option for current business professionals looking to potentially enhance their career by earning an advanced degree.

Hybrid Entrepreneurship Graduate Programs

Hybrid entrepreneurship graduate programs combine bits and pieces of the above-mentioned formats. Hybrid programs are often offered in one of two ways.

More commonly, hybrid programs are born out of campus-based ones. Students live or commute to campus for many classes. But, these programs may also offer supplemental courses you could take online. This could reduce the amount of days you’re commuting. Or, it might be a better way to structure your own personal schedule.

The other hybrid program more closely resembles the online format. Students take their core curriculum online. However some of their classes may be only offered on campus. Typically, these campus based classes occur during the summer or winter semester. Because these times are usually during school breaks, the courses may be condensed to fit into the shorter time frame. This may mean you might not have to majorly adjust your schedule to attend. In return, you could have the chance to start networking with peers you had previously only emailed and enjoy the campus experience..

What Could You Do with a Degree in Entrepreneurship?

While many degree feed directly into a particular career, entrepreneurship graduate programs are more open-ended. Many students may choose to become self-employed after earning their degree. In these cases, students may either begin their own business or assist one in a freelance capacity. In 2016, there were between 8,500,000 to 8,800,000 self-employed individuals in the United States.i

These business ventures do not technically have a minimum degree level for entry-level roles. But, employers or associates may be interested in working with partners who have earned an advanced degree. Your entrepreneurship graduate program could demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of certain industry principles like finance, planning, and management.

Other students may choose to apply their entrepreneurial knowledge to aid established companies. You could choose to pursue some of the following career options with your entrepreneurship graduate degree. Also provided are their 2016 median salary.

  • Marketing Managers, $127,560ii
  • Financial Manager, $121,750iii
  • Human Resources Manager, $106,910iv

These positions typically require applicants to have a bachelor’s in a related field. That being said, many employers may look for additional educational or experience when hiring for managerial positions.

Finding an Entrepreneur Graduate Program for You

Using this information as a guide, you might be ready to begin your search for a perfect entrepreneur graduate program. To start, browse the list of links on this page. Or, you could refine the list by selecting your preferred degree level and format using the menu bar.

Clicking a link provides you with a brief description about the program. While you’re there, you could also request more information from the school itself. This could include important details like admissions deadlines, course descriptions, and financial aid opportunities. And, it could also be a great way to start to know the admissions staff at your potential program of choice.


[i] data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm

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