Entrepreneurship the Princeton Way is defined as follows: you are an entrepreneur anytime you initiate transformation through risk-taking actions and value-creating organizations.
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 and commitment to learning from and contributing to these areas.
Admission to the Program
Students interested in the program will be expected to apply, normally at the end of the sophomore year and, in general, no later than the fall of the junior year. At the time of application, students must submit a short application form outlining a tentative plan and 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 explain how these courses fit into his or her 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 through 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.
There are four sets of requirements:
- Courses (intellectual foundation)
- Workshop (practical skill acquisition)
- Practicum (learning by doing, with a high bar of excellence)
- Colloquium (shared social experience)
Requirement 1: Five Courses
Two common introductory mandatory courses
- EGR 200
- EGR 201
Two core courses: must be chosen from a list, which may be updated each year by the Executive Committee (choose two of the courses listed)
- ANT 300 Ethnography, Evidence and Experience
- COS 448 Innovating across Technology, Business, and Markets
- EGR/ENT 301 History of Entrepreneurship
- EGR 381 Design for Understanding
- EGR/ENT 395 Venture Capital and Finance of Innovation
- EGR 475 Complex and Regulated Ventures
- EGR 487 Advanced Problem Solving Through Design Thinking
- EGR/ENT 488 Designing Ventures to Change the World
- EGR/ENT/ELE 491 High-Tech Entrepreneurship
- EGR/ENT 497 Entrepreneurial Leadership
- EGR/ENT 498 Special Topics in Social Entrepreneurship
- HIS 379 History of American Capitalism
- REL 219/SOC 219 Business Ethics and Modern Religious Thought
One contextual breadth course: to be chosen from a list of suggestions or be proposed by students to the program director.
Unlike the above list of core courses, the below 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. Students from science or engineering must use a course from the humanities or social science to satisfy the breadth course requirement.
An illustrative list of 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 of 3-12 hours in duration, and students will be required to complete at least one of their choice.
Requirement 3: Practicum
A high level of substantial creative and practical experience in entrepreneurship is required outside of classroom learning. The aim of the practicum is to foster the entrepreneurial mindset in certificate students, in all sorts of settings -- from startups, corporate-to-service organizations and not-for-profits, through “learning by doing.” The suggested model for the practicum encourages students to go through a process of customer research/empathy, hypothesis setting and testing, prototyping and deployment. It is encouraged, but not required, that this process lead to the actual creation of an entrepreneurial enterprise. Expectations of the practicum are as follows:
There are several types of projects that can lead to satisfaction of the practicum requirement. In a nutshell, the practicum requirement can be viewed as a practical activity (eLab, Tiger Challenge, Internship, Startup, etc.) followed by an analysis exercise based on that activity.
In all cases, the key emphasis is not simply on an activity or program itself, but rather on the subsequent analysis of that real-world setting. This analysis is expected to be rigorous, and based on frameworks such as those experienced in the certificate’s introductory or core courses. The student will develop a novel hypothesis in the practicum project, and will make recommendations regarding a company, internship, entrepreneurial opportunity or other setting based on these analyses and frameworks.
Existing programs such as the eLab Summer Accelerator or Tiger Challenge, do not satisfy the Practicum requirement in and of themselves. They may, however, facilitate creating the subsequent analysis framework that satisfies the requirement.
An internship (such as PSIP or others) or a startup (whether founder, co-founder, or other roles) or a role in a corporate entrepreneurial project are not sufficient for practicum completion on their own. They can, however, form the basis of study for an analysis report that satisfies the practicum requirements.
Similarly, a junior paper, senior thesis, or other independent work cannot wholly be considered for the practicum requirement, nor should any chapter of the thesis be submitted verbatim.The practicum requirement can be satisfied through an analysis that follows the guidelines specified here, and is based on the same topic or work foundations as those of the thesis or independent work project.
Throughout the process, students should receive the mentorship of either faculty members or entrepreneurial mentors the University has identified. In particular, when the student is admitted to the certificate program, they will be paired with a certificate program adviser who can field questions about the practicum as their studies progress.
The practicum proposal and the written analysis will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the program director. Normally, the committee will consist of the certificate program adviser (as noted above) and one other member of the faculty. Potential end users for this product/service could also be consulted as part of the review process.
The final presentation to the committee would not be a traditional investor pitch, but rather a discussion of how the hypothesis was derived and how the practical testing and prototype development and deployment was carried out as well as its analysis based on the framework of the EGR/ENT Required/Core courses. The evaluation of the practicum leads to a pass/fail result and would focus primarily on the process of entrepreneurial endeavor.
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 3 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 Princetonian 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.