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Student Experience

At the core of this program, we want to empower people with lifelong entrepreneurship skills. It’s not just about exploring an idea and seeing whether it succeeds. It’s about learning how to start companies and growing with each experience.


Bring your idea to the table

Entrepreneurship students

UW’s Master of Science in Entrepreneurship curriculum is unique in that you are expected to develop your own startup and work toward launching a viable entrepreneurial venture over the course of the 12-month program.

Developing and refining your startup idea takes the place of the thesis you would write in other master’s programs. This idea can — and should — change over the course of the program as you engage in real-world customer discovery and lean testing of your core assumptions, applying class content and working with expert mentors. Students own the intellectual property they bring to the program (unless licensing through the UW or another university). The program, Foster School, or UW does not take any equity in your company.

MS in Entrepreneurship students can take part in these additional opportunities during the program:

Learn more about MS in Entrepreneurship curriculum

Startups in Seattle

seattle skyline

With a 200-year history of scrappy startups, Seattle embraces student entrepreneurs. Touting the success of legendary startups Amazon, REI, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Boeing, entrepreneurship and innovation run through Seattle’s veins. If that’s not enough, also consider:

  • UW is a research powerhouse. Regularly listed among the top 25 universities in the world.
  • Seattle in top 10 “most educated cities.”
  • Strong local media to tell startup stories: GeekWire, TechFlash, Xconomy.
  • 20+ active venture capital firms and angel groups.
  • Seattle’s “anchor tenants” – everything from retail to biotech and clean energy.

Learn more about Seattle

Compete to win funding

Atomo coffee wins competition

The UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship hosts a number of entrepreneurial competitions each year:

Read about competitions

Build your base

business plan competition

When you join the MS in Entrepreneurship program, you gain access to a 56,000-strong Foster Alumni Network. The Foster network is very vast: alumni can be found in over 70 countries. At the same time, it is extremely local, as 70% of Foster graduates stay in the Puget Sound. So, whether you are looking to leverage the alumni network for a local deal or needing to source materials for your business from the opposite end of the planet, you can count on the Foster network. And with 75+ MS in Entrepreneurship graduates and counting, our alumni stay in engaged as coaches, cheerleaders, and even co-founders!

Learn more about MS in Entrepreneurship Alumni

Learn more about the MS in Entrepreneurship Experience

A Typical Week

In order to fulfill your ambitions, this is a serious time commitment. Each week you will spend roughly 15 hours in classes, workshops, mentor meetings, and weekly check-ins which are scheduled at varying times Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 6:00 pm. Additionally, students dedicate a minimum of 25 hours outside the classroom to homework, team assignments, field trips, and time to work on your own startup. Weekends and most evenings are all yours –- with the exception of events you may want to attend — and during winter quarter you will have one evening course on Tuesdays. Since you are passionate about your idea, you’ll most likely spend additional hours developing your startup.

Team Homework vs. Individual Work

Some classes are case-based where you’ll work on assignments in study teams. Other classes are highly practical and you’ll apply what you learn directly to your startup.

Harness the Power of your Peer Group

One of the advantages of this program is that it is cohort-based: you travel through the courses, workshops, team formation nights, meetings, and networking events with the same close-knit group of classmates, which will quickly become one of your most important networks and valuable resources. The program is also run in lockstep; all students will follow the same course structure based on the entrepreneurial model of ideate, test, refine and prepare to scale (summer, fall, winter and spring quarters, respectively).

Weekly Check-Ins

Now that your ideas are starting to take shape and gain initial traction, there’s great value in talking about your successes, challenges, and goals with each other. Starting autumn quarter, we introduce Weekly Check-ins. These are casual, one-hour sessions where you meet in groups to briefly share updates. Check-ins are intended to provide a safe outlet for peer-to-peer interaction about everything you’re dealing with as an entrepreneur.

Workshop Series

Hear experts talk about how they overcame entrepreneurial challenges and leveraged opportunities. These are real entrepreneurs telling it like it is. Workshop topics include ideation and validation, the Seattle startup ecosystem, prototyping, metrics, bootstrapping, and more!


We’re strong advocates of the role mentors in a startup’s success. We’ve recruited fearlessly candid mentors who are serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, and attorneys. You will work with these subject matter experts both one-on-one and in small groups. Learn about our mentors. These are the people you want to know!


Each quarter we venture off campus to explore co-working spaces, labs, startups, or venture capital firms in a Seattle neighborhood. Go behind-the-scenes and get your questions answered on these fun tours.

Making Connections

Numerous entrepreneurship events are held at UW and in Seattle. From the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship‘s team formation networking nights — with cross-disciplinary, entrepreneurship-minded students — and the UW Startup Job Fair, to DubHacks, Seattle Startup Week, TigerLaunch, SVP Fast Pitch, New Tech Northwest, and more. These initiatives are great opportunities to mix and mingle with a variety of people. You never know where you may find a possible co-founder or a great new hire!

Jones + Foster Accelerator

One month after the MS in Entrepreneurship program ends, students have the opportunity to apply to the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship’s 6-month Jones + Foster Accelerator. Companies accepted into the program receive mentoring from a committee of entrepreneurs and investors, guidance creating measurable milestones, workshops, connections, and up to $25,000 in follow-on funding if milestones are met.

Meet MS in Entrepreneurship students

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