Doctor of Philosophy in Entrepreneurship

Major: ENTR
Degree Awarded: Ph.D.
Unit: GB
Program Webpage:

Program Information

Admission to the program is highly competitive.  It is based on an applicant's past graduate and undergraduate school records, score on the graduate management admissions test (GMAT), prior experiences, a personal statement and letters of recommendation.  Applicants are only admitted in fall semesters of odd years (2015, 2017, 2019, etc.).

No specific graduate or undergraduate major is required.  However, an M.B.A. is  preferred.  A student who does not have a master's degree in business may be required to complete a set of courses equivalent to a "core" that is covered in an M.B.A. program.  Questions about prerequisites should be directed to the program director.  This is a full-time program, requiring year-round study and a 20 hour/week paid research assistantship.  Typically, students can finish their course work in two years and the program in four-to-five years, subject to progress on a dissertation.  Students generally take about 19 courses consisting of seminars and directed readings and/or research.  A student's curriculum choices are supervised and approved by an advisory committee.

All required courses are offered on a biennial basis in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters, along with a variety of elective courses.


The following are the current curriculum requirements for the Entrepreneurship Ph.D. Because the state of the knowledge in the field changes, both the content and sequencing of these course requirements may change in order to address topics of current interest. Faculty may change as well. Applicants should contact the Program Director, Dr. James O. Fiet, if they have questions about the curriculum requirements.

YEAR 1 --First month (August) in the program
New students may be required to take an online review of statistics course. Faculty mentors for research assistantships are established.

Entrepreneurship 780:  Seminar: Foundations of Entrepreneurship Research
This seminar reviews the major streams of entrepreneurship research.  It will provide students the opportunity to critique and build on prior research as they endeavor themselves to contribute to the existing body of knowledge. Instructor:  Dr. James O. Fiet

Entrepreneurship 761:  Research Design
This seminar is designed to teach students the fundamentals of research design in the social sciences. It is intended for entrepreneurship doctoral students who will conduct empirical research publishable in scholarly journals. Topics include philosophy of science, theory building, causality analysis, overviews of statistical methods, overview of qualitative methods and an overview of psychometric theory.  Instructor:  Dr. Manju Ahuja

Entrepreneurship 780:  Economic Theory of the Firm
Part 1 of the course will cover the basic microeconomic theory of the firm, production functions, cost functions, the basic firm profit maximization model, the basic cost minimization model, firm supply and competitive markets.  Part 2 will cover the theory of monopoly, price discrimination, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, product differentiation, entry, barriers to entry and exit.  Part 3 will cover managerial contracting and incentives, contracting design and the principal-agent problem, information asymmetry, adverse selection, screening, signaling, moral hazard and agency theory.  Instructor:  Dr. Yong Chao

Entrepreneurship 780:New Product Strategy and Conjoint Analysis
The seminar is designed to teach doctoral students the fundamentals of new product strategy, from a marketing perspective. The course is designed to cover a range of topics and approaches (i.e. theory and method) and progresses through three main areas of discussion: a) conjoint and identification of the "best" new product concept, b) pioneer advantage versus "fast followers", and c) demand estimation for new products. Instructor: Dr. Robert Carter

Linear Statistics
Students will take one of the following statistics courses: ENTR 780/ELFH 701 (Intermediate Statistics), ENTR 780/PSYC 610 (Advanced Statistics I), or equivalent.

ELFH 703:  Multivariate Statistics
The purpose of the course is to develop an understanding of multivariate statistics by students, so that they can:  (a) understand the use of these statistics in published research studies, (b) apply multivariate methods to quantitative research problems in their area of interest, (c) use statistical software to analyze data using multivariate methods, and (d) correctly interpret the results of computer analyzed multivariate data.  Instructor:  Dr. Namok Choi

Entrepreneurship 780:Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital
This co-taught seminar reviews research in the funding of new and growing businesses from the perspective of both the funds provider and the entrepreneurial team.  The seminar acquaints students with what has been learned about financing the launch of a new business, as well as to prepare them to conduct their own research in this burgeoning area.  Instructors:  Dr. James O. Fiet and Dr. David Dubofsky

Entrepreneurship 740:  Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Issues in Entrepreneurial Firms
An intensive and critical introduction to the analysis and practice of organizational behavior.  This seminar addresses the challenges faced by entrepreneurs as they attempt to create an organization in support of launching a new venture.  Because they lack many initial resources, the accomplishment of this goal is different and perhaps more difficult than that faced by existing firms.  Instructors:  Dr. Ryan Quinn

Entrepreneurship 780:Entrepreneurial Discovery
Reviews research on entrepreneurial discovery from the perspectives of the aspiring entrepreneurs and scholars.  The coverage is both theoretically descriptive and prescriptive.  Instructor:  Dr. James O. Fiet

Entrepreneurship 780:Philosophy of Science
Scholars engage in research in search of "truth". This seminar explores the schism in many of the social sciences with respect to what constitutes truth and genuine knowledge about business phenomena. Students will examine these competing views that relate to reality as a knowable, objective, reducible entity versus a socially constructed, subjective realm that one cannot stand outside of and analyze without influencing in some manner. Students should gain an understanding about how these views influence the development of research questions, methods and analysis. Instructor: Dr. Robert Garrret, Jr.


Entrepreneurship 750:  Issues and Developments in the Quantitative Approach to Entrepreneurship Research
This seminar integrates theoretical developments and research findings, as presented in previous seminars in the program, with their method implications.  It also supplements the previous seminars on research design and statistical techniques by focusing on aspects that were not previously covered or by elaborating on issues that were only treated in passing.  Instructor:  Dr. Per Davidsson

Entrepreneurship 789:Survey of Entrepreneurship I
The student conducts a supervised review in preparation for the preliminary examination in entrepreneurship.

Preliminary exam preparation
exam (July)
First year paper due (by end of July)

ENTR 780/ECPY 764:  Structural Equation Modeling
This course focuses on basic concepts, applications, and interpretations of structural equation models.  Instructor:  Dr. Jill Adelson

Entrepreneurship 733:  Psychological Foundations of Entrepreneurship
This seminar has four fundamental purposes: 1) Increase familiarity with current research that addresses important questions about the psychology of entrepreneurship, 2) assess "gaps" in these literatures and propose research agendas to address them, 3) build an understanding of the seminal papers that underlie current contributions, and 4) write, develop skills in "mapping out" and writing one's own research papers.  Instructor:  Dr. Dean Shepherd

Entrepreneurship 720:  Economic Foundations in Research in Entrepreneurship
This seminar includes the development of economic thought related to entrepreneurship, ranging from historical figures in economic theory such as Cantillon and Ricardo to contemporary schools of thought on entrepreneurship, including the Austrian perspective.  In-depth analyses of pricing strategies, market structures, dynamic vs. static analysis, regulatory issues and examples of applications of economics in research in entrepreneurship are presented.  Other topics may include real options theory, rational expectations, the economics of information, econometrics, transfer pricing, transaction cost economics and agency theory.  Instructor:  Dr. Simon Parker

Entrepreneurship 780:  Research Design II
This seminar is designed to teach students research design in the social sciences. It is intended for entrepreneurship doctoral students who will conduct empirical research publishable in scholarly journals. Topics include research design, experimental design, random selection, validity, reliability, manipulation and confound checks, quasi-experiment, multi-level design and analysis, social network analysis and meta-analysis.  Instructor:  Dr. Manju Ahuja

Entrepreneurship 710:  Sociological Foundations of Entrepreneurship
The course takes an evolutionary approach, examining six popular perspectives from sociology, economics, history and political science in terms of their ability to explain organizational change.  We examine the creation, persistence, transformation and disbanding of organizations of many different types.  The course begins by focusing on organizational emergence.  We pay special attention to the role of entrepreneurs, not only in their role as founders of organizations but also in terms of their place in society.  We consider the importance of human and social capital, such as social networks as well as the role of economic and social inequality.  Next, we focus on social change and models for historical analysis.  We then turn to the emergence of new types of organizations and industries, as well as the forces that maintain and reproduce established populations.  Last, we turn to the community level of analysis, focusing especially on social networks and inter-organizational relations.  Instructor:  Dr. Howard Aldrich

Entrepreneurship 700:  Current Topics in Entrepreneurship Research
The focus is on theory building and empirical testing of the factors shaping the identification, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities and the creation of new organizations.  The objective of the course is to give students an introduction to the major theoretical threads and controversies in the field.  It will also examine the methodologies that are important to research in this area.  Students will learn about various perspectives, examine different methodologies, explore some original empirical research, make connections between theory and empirical research, and practice critiquing and identifying insight in research.  Instructor:  Dr. Scott Shane

Entrepreneurship 730:  Entrepreneurship from a Strategic Perspective
This seminar has two objectives:  1) to expose students to the central theoretical issues in the field of strategic management and 2) to assist students in developing their research to contribute to their chosen field of work.  Instructor:  Dr. Bobby Garrett, Jr.

Entrepreneurship 780:  Family Business
This seminar discusses succession, firm governance, and new venture creation.  Instructor:  Dr. Jim Chrisman

Required paper must be completed and defended in order to progress into candidacy.
Potential Student Teaching1

Dissertation Proposal
Potential Student Teaching1

Dissertation Proposal
Potential Student Teaching1

YEARS IV and V (if necessary)
Dissertation Proposal
Potential Student Teaching1

1 Four courses


Manju Ahuja


Robert E. Carter

Associate Professor

Yong Chao

Assistant Professor

David Dubofsky


James O. Fiet
Brown-Forman Chair in Entrepreneurship
Chair of Ph.D. Program Committee

Program Director

Robert Garrett, Jr.

Associate Professor

Bruce Kemelgor

Associate Professor

Ryan Quinn

Associate Professor

Term Appointments

Howard Aldrich

Distinguished Faculty Instructor

James J. Chrisman

Distinguished Faculty Instructor

Per Davidsson

Distinguished Faculty Instructor

Simon Parker

Distinguished Faculty Instructor

Pankaj Patel

Distinguished Faculty Instructor

Scott Shane

Distinguished Faculty Instructor

Dean Shepherd

Distinguished Faculty Instructor