Should I Get a Degree in Entrepreneurship?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

If you're interested in starting or growing your own business, an entrepreneurship degree could be a good fit.

[Featured image] A student working on her entrepreneurship degree studies at a desk with a notebook, textbook, and laptop.

 If you've ever dreamed of starting your own business—or if you're already in the process of doing so—you could equip yourself with essential business skills that are particularly important in the early stages of planning, launching, and growing a new venture by pursuing a degree in entrepreneurship. 

What is an entrepreneurship degree?

While many budding entrepreneurs might choose to pursue a business degree, entrepreneurship has begin to emerge as its own degree subject at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Entrepreneurship degrees typically cover how to start, launch, grow, and scale your own business, and more and more colleges and universities are offering them. They are a popular degree choice for people who are interested in business. 

Read more: What Is an Entrepreneur?

Common coursework

 To obtain a degree in entrepreneurship, you will have to complete many business-related courses. These courses are designed to give you a solid understanding of what makes a business successful in addition to how to create a successful business from the ground up. The courses you take will depend on the program and university but could include the following:


  • Entrepreneurial strategy

  • Leadership skills

  • Business strategy

  • Product development

  • Design thinking

  • Social entrepreneurship

  • Organizational management

  • Social media marketing

  • Negotiation

  • Entrepreneurial finance

  • Intellectual property law

Entrepreneurship degree vs. business degree: What's the difference?


Entrepreneurship degrees and business degrees are similar in the fact that they both cover various business topics. In fact, an entrepreneurship degree is a type of business degree. However, the two degrees are not the same. The biggest difference is that entrepreneurship degrees focus heavily on business development and business growth. This involves learning how to construct effective business plans, win over investors, and execute a new business strategy. In other words, entrepreneurship degrees are more heavily focused on learning how to start and grow a business while business degrees are focused more heavily on general business principles.     



What can you do with an entrepreneurship degree?

After obtaining a degree in entrepreneurship, many entrepreneurs simply start their own businesses and run them. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs start their companies by themselves or with just a partner or two. Sometimes, entrepreneurs secure funding from investors, and sometimes they self-fund their ventures.

In 2020, roughly 15 percent of Americans were established business owners and 10 percent were in the initial stages of starting their business, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2020/2021 Global Report [1]. Based on US population estimates for 2020 by the World Bank, that's about roughly 82 million Americans who work as entrepreneurs, either starting or running their own businesses [2]. 

Besides starting your own business, the skills you learn in an entrepreneurship program could set you up for success in a variety of other careers:

  • Business consultant: Established businesses need professionals who can quickly identify and fix problems—skills that align well with the entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Business manager: Many of the business principles you'll learn in this degree program carry over to larger, more established companies, as well.

  • Sales representative: Success in sales often requires good negotiation skills and the ability to take the initiative, both traits of entrepreneurial thinkers.

  • Marketing manager: Leverage your creativity and leadership skills for a career in marketing.

  • Intrapreneur: While you're unlikely to find this as an official job title, you can apply your entrepreneurial skills to lead new initiatives within an existing company.

Read more: 10 In-Demand Jobs You Can Get with a Business Degree

Entrepreneur salary 

 The estimated total pay for entrepreneurs in the United States is $79,086 as of May 2022, according to Glassdoor [3]. As a business owner, you'll typically be in charge of deciding how much to pay yourself. Some small business owners don't take a salary at all when they're first starting out. Others take what's called an owner's draw—a withdrawal from the company's profits after accounting for expenses like rent, unitiles, supplies, and employee salaries.

Do I need a degree to become an entrepreneur?

You don't need an entrepreneurship degree—or a degree of any kind—to start your own business. But a degree can be useful. In addition to learning key business skills in a more structured environment, you can also build a network through your college connections. If you decide that business ownership isn't right for you, having a business degree means you'll be a more competitive job candidate for more traditional roles.


Next steps

Experience for yourself whether an entrepreneurship degree could fit with your career goals by trying out a course in Entrepreneurship Strategy from the HEC Paris MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship degree program. If you complete the course and are later admitted to the full program, your progress will count toward your degree.

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 Article sources

1. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. ‘2020/2021 United States Report."  Accessed May 9, 2022.

2. World Bank.  “Population Total- United States," Accessed May 9, 2022.

3. Glassdoor. “How much does an Entrepreneur Make,,12.htm." Accessed May 9, 2022.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.