Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

William H. Young, III, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Waynne B. James, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Judith A. Ponticell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edward C. Fletcher, Jr., Ph.D.


entrepreneurship programs, effectiveness, best practices, rankings, best practices, student intent


The purpose of this study was to identify Core components perceived by faculty to be effective in their prominent graduate entrepreneurship education programs. The study sought to identify the best practices in graduate entrepreneurship education programs from the perceptions of faculty in the field.

Research questions guiding the study were: (1) What Core components related to the following Broad question areas are perceived by faculty to be effective in their prominent graduate entrepreneurship education programs: Activities and initiatives; Adult education principles and practices; Alumni and mentoring; Course offerings; Curriculum and degrees; Faculty data; Institutional characteristics; Instructional methods; Student companies; and Student data. (2) What other Core components and/or general observations are identified by faculty in the survey comments? (3) What are faculty perceptions of the popular marketplace publication rankings of graduate entrepreneurship education programs?

A survey was distributed via the internet to faculty at 54 prominent graduate entrepreneurship education programs identified by The Princeton Review, US News & World Report, or the AACSB Entrepreneurship Spotlight Challenge. The survey was developed through several phases using panels of individuals with expertise related to this study.

The resulting 106 Core components were divided into 10 Broad question areas and were evaluated individually and averaged for each Broad question area. Questions regarding the accuracy of graduate program rankings and student intent were also included, along with demographics, open-ended questions regarding additional Core components, and additional survey comments.

The results of the study indicated the most important Core components in the Broad question areas were Alumni and mentoring and Institutional characteristics, while the Curriculum and degrees area was perceived to be much less important to graduate entrepreneurship education effectiveness. The results also indicated that student intent and popular marketplace publications were only moderately accurate in evaluating entrepreneurship education effectiveness. Four top programs dominated the perceptions of faculty as effective programs: Stanford, Babson, MIT, and Harvard. Findings indicated that faculty perceptions differed from other measures of effectiveness of graduate entrepreneurship education programs.