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Technology Entrepreneurship PhD Specialization

Emily Cox Pahnke, Associate Professor of Management, on the Technology Entrepreneurship specialization in the UW Foster School of Business PhD Program

General information

The establishment of Technology Entrepreneurship (TE) addresses the critical areas of research and education in technology development, commercialization and licensing, and the new-venture creation process. The program brings together faculty involved in entrepreneurship teaching and research to guide students in this program. Through a combination of teaching methods, and curricular structure this program hopes to produce the next generation of entrepreneurship faculty focused on high technology ventures.

It is strongly recommended that students pursuing the TE specialization have a strong grounding in either strategy or organizational behavior tracks offered by the Management department.

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Admission requirements

Doctoral study is full-time and year-round. Students are admitted in Autumn Quarter only. Most candidates will require four to five years to complete the program. In ranking applicants, we give primary consideration to student background, academic potential, and aspiration. Each applicant is evaluated in terms of the following:

  • Academic accomplishments to date, as evidenced by graduate and undergraduate grades and courses taken
  • Institutions attended
  • Scholarships, awards, and honors earned
  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Relevant nonacademic experience
  • Academic and other references
  • Statement of academic objectives

In addition, it will be helpful but not required that students have an undergraduate degree (BS or BA) in science or technology (engineering fields) or have a minimum of three years’ work experience in a high-tech or related firm. A background as an entrepreneur or experience with startups is not a requirement for entering the program.

To enroll, the student must complete the Business School’s Ph.D. application, and prepare a formal written statement, outlining his or her interests and preparation for the program. To stay in the TE program, the applicant must remain in good standing and maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.2.

Recommended preparation prior to entry

Students entering the PhD Program should be comfortable with the basic concepts of calculus and statistics before they arrive on campus. It is strongly recommended that students carefully review this material during the summer before entering the program.

Technology Entrepreneurship information and support

With the guidance of a TE doctoral area adviser, students take formal coursework and participate in doctoral seminars, independent study, and research. A faculty Supervisory Committee chosen by the student early in the program will assist each student in constructing a course of study that fits that individual’s background and interests.

Students in addition to TE requirements need to complete the requirements for the Research Methods minor. Throughout the program, doctoral students receive support and training to hone their skills as researchers, teachers, and course developers.

For more information about the Technology Entrepreneurship specialization, please contact Prof. Emily Cox Pahnke by email (eacox@uw.edu).

Course offerings and quarter offerings might change depending on faculty availability, but a typical schedule can be as follows:

First year

Autumn Winter Spring Summer
ECON 500 Microeconomic Analysis I or Elective ENTRE 581 Foundations of Entrepreneurship ECON 508 Microeconomic Analysis III or Elective ENTRE/MGMT 600Independent Study
STAT 481Mathematical Statistics ECON 501 Microeconomic Analysis II or Elective ENTRE 590New Venture Research Practicum
MGMT 590 Economic Foundations of Strategic Management Research Elective Elective
Teaching Effectiveness Seminar


Second year

Autumn Winter Spring Summer
ENTRE 582 Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship MGMT 592Contemporary Research in Strategic Management BA 580Problems in Microeconomics ENTRE/MGMT 600Independent Study
MGMT 591Sociological Foundations of Strategic Management Elective MGMT 593Special Topics in Strategic Management Research I Area Examination
Elective Elective Elective

TE Faculty set a deadline by which doctoral students must complete an independent research paper and present their findings in a departmental workshop. A faculty advisor on a topic selected by the student supervises the research project. Upon the completion of the required course work, students focus on fulfilling the other program requirements.

The required courses include:

Course Number Catalog Title
ENTRE 581 (4) Theoretical Foundations of Entrepreneurship
ENTRE 582 (4) Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
ENTRE 590 (4) New Venture Research Practicum

There is no exam requirement associated with this minor.

Irrespective of the option chosen, TE students have to complete: (1) Qualifying examination; (2) a general examination; (3) a doctoral dissertation; and (4) a final examination where the student defends his or her dissertation.

Area examination or qualifying examination
Once students have completed their coursework, students must pass a written qualifying exam. This is a written examination in Technology Entrepreneurship. The purpose of the major area examination is to enable the student to demonstrate a command of the subject matter. Students are expected to be familiar with major research findings and theory, and with appropriate research methods.

Written examinations are not required for minor areas of study. However, some major areas of specialization require a written exam covering the basic tools (economics, mathematics, psychology, research methods, statistics, etc.) that are important for that business discipline. If required, the faculty in the student’s major area administers the basic tool exam.

General examination
Admission to candidacy is a formal University process signifying that a student has completed certain degree requirements and that the faculty expects that the student will successfully complete the requirements. Students are admitted to candidacy upon completion of the general examination in Technology Entrepreneurship. The supervisory committee administers this oral test after all area requirements are completed. In most cases, the general examination is a defense of the student’s dissertation proposal.

Dissertation
After earning candidacy, students must successfully complete a dissertation that demonstrates their ability to identify a significant research question or problem in Technology Entrepreneurship and apply appropriate research techniques to its resolution. The dissertation must be an original and independent piece of work. A three-member reading committee supervises dissertations. After the dissertation has been written to the satisfaction of the reading committee, the student defends his or her dissertation research in a final oral examination.

Final examination
The student’s Supervisory Committee administers the final defense of a student’s dissertation. With the successful completion of the dissertation defense and submission of the dissertation to the Graduate School a student will have completed all the requirements for a Ph.D.

Boeker, Warren
Professor of Management
Douglas E. Olesen/Battelle Endowed Chair

Chen, Xiao-Ping
(Management and Organization Department Chair)
Professor of Management
Evert McCabe Faculty Fellow

Kotha, Suresh
Professor of Management
Olesen/Battelle Excellence Chair in Entrepreneurship
Research Director, Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

Steensma, Kevin
Professor of Management
Evert McCabe Faculty Fellow

David G. Sirmon
Associate Professor of Management
Robert Herbold Professor in Entrepreneurship

Pahnke, Emily Cox
Assistant Professor
Neal and Jan Dempsey Faculty Fellow

Hallen, Benjamin
Assistant Professor

David Tan
Assistant Professor