• About
  • Faculty
  • Required Coursework
  • Course Pathways
  • Explore & Enroll

GOAL: Provide entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to graduate students. Especially relevant for students who hope to work with or become entrepreneurs at graduation or in the future or participate in policies of entrepreneurship.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Graduate students from any school on campus.

OVERVIEW: This certificate program offers a suite of courses that span business entrepreneurship courses and the curricula of several colleges and schools at UW-Madison. This certificate program emphasizes skills in entrepreneurship along with the ability to analyze the role of entrepreneurship in society. Entrepreneurship in this context refers to the process of imagining opportunities and taking action to create value through new ventures, a crucial life skill.

Further, new firm creation can be a critical factor in global economic growth, and entrepreneurial capabilities can be crucial in bringing new technologies and services to society.

Many capabilities underlie the ability to foster and lead new ventures, including knowledge of organizational forms, financial evaluation, legal and structural options for creating organizations, market and need evaluation, the ability to work with founding teams and strategies for organizational growth.

A student who has completed this certificate will have good foundational skills in recognizing promising opportunities and building a new organization or venture to create value.


Do I need to pay extra tuition to receive the certificates?

There is no additional tuition required to receive any of the certificates.

What is the basic design of these certificates?

You must take foundational courses in the Wisconsin School of Business. You may then complement that work with additional courses from the lists shown for each certificate.

For example, the Graduate Certificate in Strategic Innovation requires students to take MHR 715 (Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences) and at least one course from a set of advanced Wisconsin School of Business courses. The four-course certificate program may be completed with two other courses from the Wisconsin School of Business or elsewhere on campus from the selected list on course requirements.

In addition, you will be expected to participate in opportunities to apply the knowledge, such as the School’s competition, the Business Plan Competition, or other projects.

As one example, a law student who wants to work with small business or start-up clients might take these courses: MHR 722-Entrepreneural Management, Fin 757-Entrepreneurial Finance, LAW 854-Clinical: Law and Entrepreneurship, and LAW 953: Law and Entrepreneurship.

What is the difference between the two graduate level certificates?


  • Focus on graduate student who will start a new venture, will work for a new venture in the near future, or wants to gain long-term entrepreneurship knowledge.
  • Students gain basic knowledge about designing, planning, and funding new ventures; assembling a founding team; completing legal forms for new ventures; determining the growth of young ventures; assessing intellectual property issues for start-ups; and understanding market assessment and development.
  • Good fit for student with strong interest in new-venture formation who wants to become effective in understanding entrepreneurial processes, the related skills, and the role of entrepreneurship in society.

Strategic Innovation

  • Focus on graduate student who will work on innovative projects in existing organizations.
  • Students gain knowledge about imagining and researching markets, managing new product development process in an existing organization, research and development, organizational creativity, business model innovation, intellectual property, and society-level innovation systems.
  • Good fit for graduate student with deep expertise—in science/technology or the arts, for example—who want to innovate in existing organizations.


BOTH certificates emphasize the business context, and BOTH can be used to probe sustainability and social-mission goals.

Who is eligible for the two graduate certificates?

The graduate certificates are available to all University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate degree-seeking students (excluding special students).

Does the certificate allow me to register early for certain Wisconsin School of Business courses or use the Wisconsin School of Business placement services?

No. Business students pay a tuition surcharge to support these services, so certificate students should use the placement services of their home departments.

Can a graduate student get both the strategic innovation certificate and the entrepreneurship certificate?

Yes, but a student may not use the same advanced Wisconsin School of Business course to acquire two certificates (i.e., MHR 715 - Strategic Management of Innovation, MHR 722 - Entrepreneurial Management, and MHR741 - Technology Entrepreneurship cannot be counted for more than one certificate).

Can courses be taken pass/fail?

No, courses taken to fulfill certificate requirements cannot be taken pass/fail.

Executive Operating Committee:

  • Jon Eckhardt - Executive Director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Dan Olszewski - Director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
  • John Surdyk -  Director, Initiative for the Studies in Transformational Enterpreneurship (INSITE)
  • Charlie Trevor - Department Chair and Professor, Management and Human Resources
  • Russ Coff - Executive Director, Initiative for the Studies in Transformational Enterpreneurship (INSITE)

The required foundation course, advanced entrepreneurship coursework, and electives from across the campus as shown will tally a minimum of 12 credits. A slate of coursework options available for fulfilling the certificate program is shown in the accompanying table. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in related non-credit entrepreneurship immersion experiences via competitions and student organizations.

The foundation course has no prerequisites and is open to all graduate students on campus. A total of 12 credits is required. Students will: 1) take one required foundation course (MHR 722 - Entrepreneurial Management); 2) choose at least three additional credits from a list of Wisconsin School of Business advanced entrepreneurship coursework; and 3) select up to six credits of additional courses from other elective coursework or advanced entrepreneurship coursework.

Required Foundation Coursework (3 credits)

  • MHR 722 - Entrepreneurial Management (Fall/Spring)

Advanced ESHIP

Choose at least 3 credits from list

  • FIN 757 – Entrepreneurial Finance (Spring)
  • MHR 734 – Venture Creation (Fall)
  • MHR 738 – Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) Practicum (Spring) 
  • MHR 741 – Technology Entrepreneurship (Spring) (Prior to Fall 2011 was MHR765)
  • MHR 715 - Strategic Management Of Innovation (Spring)

Other Elective Coursework

Up to 6 credits from other elective coursework can be counted toward the required 12 certificate credits


  • ACCT IS 300/700* – Accounting Principles/Financial Accounting (*restricted access)
  • GEN BUS 310 - Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors
  • GEN BUS 311 - Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors
  • GEN BUS/IES 365 - Issues in Family Business Ownership
  • GEN BUS 701 - Managing Legal Environment
  • MKT 300/700* – Marketing Management (*restricted access)
  • MKT 765 – Design Thinking for Business
  • MKT 765* – Marketing in the Digital Age (*restricted access)
  • MKT 737 – Developing Breakthrough New Products: A Practicum
  • MHR 704 - Managing Behavior in Organizations
  • MHR 705 - Human Resource Management
  • MHR 723* – Business Strategy (*restricted access)
  • MHR/ART/DESIGN/MUSIC/THEATRE 765 – Art Enterprise: Art as Business as Art
  • OTM 860 – Planning for Quality in New Products and Services
  • RMI 650 - Sustainability, Environmental & Social Risk Management
  • MHR 977 – Emerging Entrepreneurship Theory and Research


  • LAW 751 - Patent Law
  • LAW 752 - Copyright Law
  • LAW 753 - Introduction to Intellectual Property Law
  • LAW 817 - Business Organizations I 
  • LAW 854 - Clinical Program: Law & Entrepreneurship
  • LAW 906 - Law, Science & Biotech
  • LAW 918 - Topic: International Intelluctual Property
  • LAW 940 - Topic: Fundamentals of Business Transactions I & II
  • LAW 940 - Topic: Business Transactions Essentials
  • LAW 953 - Topic: Transactional Intellectual Property
  • LAW 953 - Topic: Advising Private Business Owners


  • AAE/MHR 540-Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Technology
  • AAE 706 – Applied Risk Analysis
  • LSC 305 – Industry Research Methods
  • LSC 270 – Communication in Life Sciences Industries (previously offered as  LSC370 - Communication in Life Sciences Industries) 
  • LSC 431 – Advertising in the Life Sciences
  • LSC 435 – Theory and Practice of Integrated Marketing Communication
  • LSC 625 – Risk Communication
  • LSC 640 - Case Studies in the Communication of Science & Technology


  • ECE 601 – Business for Engineers
  • EPD 690 - Business and Entrepreneurism for Engineers
  • ISYE 671/OTM 671/INFO SYS 671 - E-Business: Technologies, Strategies and Applications
  • NE/ISYE 708 - Societal Risk Management of Technological Hazards
  • ME 549 – Product Design
  • INTEREGR - Process Innovation: Concept-Select-Commercialize

L & S

  • ART 908 - Career Tools and Strategies for Artists
  • COMP SCI 638 - Starting a Software Company
  • LIS 710 - Research and Evaluation Methods
  • LIS 732 - Strategic Information Services (previously titled: Corporate and Specialized Information Services)

SoHE (Human Ecology)

  • CNSR SCI 250 - Retailing Theory and Practice (restricted access)
  • CNSR SCI 501 - Retail Leadership Symposium (previously offered as CNSR SCI 501 - Retail Leadership Symposium) 
  • CNSR SCI 561 – Direct Retailing
  • INTER-HE 455 - Entrepreneurialism and Society (previously offered as INTER-HE 501 - Role of Entrepreneurship in Society)


  • ENVIR ST 900 - Seminar: Venture Capital and Green Entrepreneurships

* A student may not use the same advanced Wisconsin School of Business course to acquire two certificates (i.e. MHR 715 - Strategic Management of Innovation, MHR 722 - Entrepreneurial Management, and MHR741 - Technology Entrepreneurship cannot be counted for more than one certificate).

The Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship does not prescribe any formal tracks or concentrations. We encourage students to assemble a meaningful portfolio of courses given their own specific background and goals. Sample bundles follow:

Law student who wants to work with small business or start-up clients

  • MHR 722 - Entrepreneurial Management
  • FIN 757 -  Entrepreneurial Finance
  • LAW 854 -  Clinical Program:  Law and Entrepreneurship
  • LAW 953 -  Selected Problems Business Organization Seminar: Transactional IP

Computer Sciences graduate student who wants to start a business at graduation

  • MHR 722 -  Entrepreneurial Management
  • MHR 734 -  Venture Creation
  • MHR 738 -  WAVE
  • ISE 671 -  E-Business, Tech Strategies and Applications

Brand Management MBA who wants to start a business at graduation

  • MHR 722 -  Entrepreneurial Management
  • MHR 723 -  Business Strategy
  • MKT 700 -  Marketing Management
  • MHR 738 - WAVE

Operations Technology Management MBA who wants to learn about entrepreneurship with a goal of starting a business in the future

  • MHR 722 -  Entrepreneurial Management
  • MHR 723 -  Business Strategy
  • MKT 700 -  Marketing Management
  • MHR 765 - Technology Entrepreneurship

Genetics graduate students who want to join a start-up at graduation or after a few years at a large firm

  • MHR 722 -  Entrepreneurial Management
  • MHR 715 -  Strategic Management in the Life and Engineer Sciences
  • AAE 540 - Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Technology
  • LSC 432 -  Advertising in the Life Sciences

Click here to explore or enroll now in the Certificate in Entrepreneurship.


For more information, please send an email to gradcertificateadmin@bus.wisc.edu.

For specific information on advising resources within partner schools and colleges, please contact your school or college advising office.