Entrepreneurship

Program Offerings

Offering type
Certificate

Entrepreneurship the Princeton Way is defined as follows: You are an entrepreneur any time you pursue societal impact through broadly sustainable value creation.

Entrepreneurship is driving enormous social and economic changes that are shaping our collective future. The program has three main aims: to create focused pathways through the curriculum that will allow Princeton undergraduates to supplement work in their major departments with a systematic and coherent understanding of, and practice in, entrepreneurship; to leverage, expand and enhance the University’s offerings across the liberal arts in order to fulfill the previously stated aim; and to promote an interdisciplinary academic community of undergraduate students, faculty members and others who share an interest in and commitment to learning from and contributing to these areas.

Goals for Student Learning

Entrepreneurship Certificate Learning Goals

  • Provide a comprehensive understanding of fundamental concepts, theories and skills necessary for innovating new ways to create value through positive impact on society by starting and running a successful venture, whether it is a for-profit startup, a social-purpose venture or a nonprofit initiative. These include leadership, ideation and identification of opportunities, evaluation of solutions, business planning, financing and marketing.
  • Introduce students to the broad national entrepreneurial ecosystem through networking and connecting them with experienced entrepreneurs, industry leaders, investors and alumni networks. This is accomplished by having many guest speakers in various classes, as well as extracurricular panels and activities.
  • Create an experiential learning opportunity by completing the required practicum. This practicum is intended to give students the opportunity to experience value creation in the real world through whatever context is most meaningful to them, whether it is a for-profit startup, a social-purpose venture or a nonprofit initiative. This practicum will give students the opportunity to apply some of the frameworks and concepts they have learned on campus. The practicum is also intended to be a personal journey into the real world of entrepreneurship.

Admission to the Program

Students interested in the program will be expected to apply, normally at the end of sophomore year and, in general, no later than the fall of junior year. At the time of application, students must submit a short application form outlining a tentative plan and a timeline for completing all of the requirements of the program. The statement will include an account of the two introductory courses, two core courses and one breadth course (as explained in the Requirements section) that the student proposes to take, and an explanation of how these courses fit into their aspirations for learning and practicing entrepreneurship. Students are encouraged to make a special effort in the application to describe their proposal for the practicum requirement (learning by doing, with a high bar of excellence).

Program of Study

The certificate program exposes students to different ways of understanding, conceptualizing, and, for some, building enterprises that create value through positive impact on society, whether by a commercial or social venture.  Students will develop necessary skills through a set of practicing courses, such as Venture Capital and Finance of Innovation, Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Designing Ventures to Change the World.  But they will do so while developing a contextual understanding of the social forces at work through courses that might include, for example, History of American Capitalism or Psychology of Decision-Making, and more broadly, by developing an informed understanding of the social and global challenges to which entrepreneurship can seek to contribute.

Additional Requirements

Program Requirements

There are four sets of requirements:

  1. Courses (intellectual foundation)
  2. Workshop (practical skill acquisition)
  3. Practicum (learning by doing, with a high bar of excellence)
  4. Colloquium (shared social experience)


Requirement 1: Five Courses

  • Two common introductory courses: EGR 200/ENT 200 and EGR 201/ENT 201
  • Two core courses: must be chosen from a list, which may be updated each year by the Executive Committee
  • One contextual breadth course: to be chosen from a list of suggestions or be proposed by students to the program director


Introductory Courses (two mandatory courses)

EGR 200/ENT 200 Introduction to Creativity, Innovation, and Design Thinking

EGR 201/ENT 201 Creating Value: Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Two Core Courses (choose two out of the courses listed)

  • ANT 300 Ethnography, Evidence and Experience

  • ANT/ENT 302 Ethnography for Research and Design

  • ART/VIS/ENT 106 Looking Lab: Experiments in Visual Thinking and Thinking about Visuals

  • COS 448 Innovating across Technology, Business, and Marketplaces

  • EGR/ENT/REL 219 Business Ethics: Succeeding Without Selling Your Soul

  • EGR/ENT 301 History of Entrepreneurship

  • EGR/ENT/URB 361/AAS 348 The Reclamation Studio: Humanistic Design Applied to Systemic Bias

  • EGR/ENT 383 Design Research and Humanistic Innovation

  • EGR/ENT 395 Venture Capital and Finance of Innovation

  • EGR/ENT 487 Advanced Problem Solving Through Design Thinking

  • EGR/ENT/ELE 491 High-Tech Entrepreneurship

  • EGR/ENT 495 Special Topics in Entrepreneurship

  • EGR/ENT 497 Entrepreneurial Leadership

  • EGR/ENT 498 Special Topics in Social Entrepreneurship

  • HIS 379 History of American Capitalism

One Breadth Course

Unlike the preceding list of core courses, the following list of possible breadth courses is illustrative only. Each student may suggest other courses outside of this list, subject to approval by the program director. 

Possible breadth courses:
  • ANT 301 The Ethnographer’s Craft
  • ECO 317 Economics of Uncertainty
  • ECO 385 Ethics & Economics
  • HIS 481 History of the American Workplace
  • VIS 214/ARC 214/CWR 214 Graphic Design
  • VIS 439 Art as Interaction
  • POL 377 Rise of Asia: Political Economy of Development
  • POL 349 Political Economics
  • PSY 311 Rationality and Human Reasoning
  • PSY 420 The Psychology of Poverty
  • NEU 425 / PSY 425 Neuroeconomics
  • SOC 346 Sociology of the Cubicle: Work, Technology, and Organization
  • WWS 340 / PS 321 Psychology of Decision Making

 

Requirement 2: One Entrepreneurship Workshop

Workshops (without academic course credits) are offered on practical skills involved in the entrepreneurship process, organized as supplements to credit-bearing courses and offered currently at the E-Hub. These are short-term one-off or sessional workshops, normally 3–12 hours in duration, and students will be required to complete at least one of their choice.

Requirement 3: Practicum

Entrepreneurs, however smart they are and whatever ventures they pursue, are, above all, doers. They apply their ideas and learning to try to create value for their customers, investors, colleagues, themselves, and hopefully our society. They challenge the status quo.

This practicum is intended to give students the opportunity to fulfill their version of that endeavor — a significant firsthand practical experience in seeing what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur in whatever context is most meaningful to them. 

It is not intended as a theoretical undertaking but a hands-on exposure to the reality of the entrepreneurial odyssey, whether that unfolds in a Silicon Valley–type high-tech setting or a rural village or underserved urban community someplace. Accordingly, the practicum should expose students to key elements of that odyssey, such as customer discovery, design thinking, solution prototyping, team assembly or market validation — efforts that test and refine hypotheses about what’s required to create a financially viable, worthwhile venture.

OPTIONS: There are five primary options for the practicum, each designed with the above objectives in mind. Any of these can provide the experiential foundation for the required paper and presentation:

  1. Entrepreneurial Engagement
  2. Startup Launch
  3. Solution Development
  4. Frontline Insights
  5. Wild Card

Students should consult the program website for more information about each of the five options.

A junior paper, senior thesis or other form of independent coursework does not by itself satisfy the practicum requirement. However, these efforts may facilitate students’ work to design a related experience and analytical agenda that does.

Juniors will explain their proposed practicum in the form of a poster presentation at the Keller Center’s Colloquium in the spring semester.

Seniors have two final deliverables for their practicum:

  • a ten-page paper (due two weeks before the colloquium); and
  • a five-minute formal oral presentation to a group of reviewers at the colloquium itself.

Students can expect detailed feedback on their pass-fail “stand and deliver” summary from at least one Keller Center faculty member in addition to their adviser.

Requirement 4: Colloquium 

Students are required to present their practicum, or a combination of their academic work and practicum, at least twice before graduation.

The required sequence is:

April/May of junior year: Practicum proposal presented as a poster at the certificate’s annual colloquium.

April of senior year: Written analysis presented to evaluation committee no less than two weeks before annual colloquium.

April/May of senior year: Oral presentation of practicum at the certificate's annual colloquium.

This social event also serves to foster community and conversation among the certificate students. The mentorship of faculty in certain practicing opportunities and of alumni in others will also help to build a greater sense of interaction across the Princeton community of people with entrepreneurial interests.

Certificate of Proficiency

A student who fulfills the requirements of the program with satisfactory standing receives a certificate of proficiency in entrepreneurship upon graduation.

Faculty

  • Director

    • Naveen Verma
  • Executive Committee

    • Craig B. Arnold, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng
    • Minjie Chen, Electrical & Comp Engineering
    • Kai Li, Computer Science
    • Derek B. Lidow, Computer Science
    • Robert K. Prud'homme, Chemical and Biological Eng
    • Carolyn M. Rouse, Anthropology
  • Sits with Committee

    • Shahram Hejazi
    • Christopher B. Kuenne

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Courses

ENT 491 - High-Tech Entrepreneurship (also ECE 491/EGR 491) Fall/Spring

ENT 495 - Special Topics in Entrepreneurship (also EGR 495) Spring

ENT 498 - Special Topics in Social Entrepreneurship (also EGR 498) Not offered this year