"The Certificate taught me so much more than how to be an entrepreneur. Through engaging classes, thoughtful faculty members, diverse teams, and hand-on experiences, I’ve learned and grown deeply as an impactful leader and team member."

- Lara Bamberger '23

Certificate application deadlines:

February 14, March 31

Whatever your academic or career goals, the I&E Certificate provides the mindset and skills to set you apart, covering the foundations of innovation, design, business, and entrepreneurial action.

To join the Certificate, you'll outline an intentional plan for courses and experiences that support your interests and goals.

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  • Gateway Elective
  • I&E 352 Strategies for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Second Elective
  • I&E 499 Capstone
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  • Gain real-world application of knowledge and invaluable hands-on learning.
  • Get credit for what you're already working on—developing your own venture or doing internships, research, civic engagement, independent projects, and more.
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  • Showcase your accomplishments in a digital collection of work and reflections, created as part of the Capstone course.
  • Share your Certificate journey with peers, faculty, potential employers, and family while deepening learning and personal growth.


  • You’ll gain essential career and life skills—creativity, resilience, empathy, how to take action, and an understanding of your purpose and values.
  • You'll develop problem solving strategies including needs identification, idea generation, and prototyping.
  • Working with diverse teams from across Duke, you’ll gain communication, leadership, and project management skills.
  • You’ll learn to take a venture, research project, or innovation from idea to action.

Frequently Asked Questions

The undergraduate I&E Certificate is open to undergraduate students currently enrolled at Duke University and is earned upon graduation in conjunction with their major degree. Second-semester first-years, sophomores, and first-semester juniors are eligible to apply. Students may apply as early as the spring semester of their freshman year. The deadline to apply is the end of the drop/add period in the fall semester of a student’s junior year.

There are 4 annual deadlines for applying to join the undergraduate I&E Certificate: Fall 1 (typically mid-September), Fall 2 (late October), Spring 1 (mid-February), and Spring 2 (late March). See above for the specific dates for the current semester.

You are encouraged to apply as soon as you are eligible and feel ready to complete the application. The benefits of applying earlier are that you will have a longer period of time over which to complete the requirements and you will have earlier access to the advising and enrichment opportunities that accompany the program.

No, students are not rejected or denied from the Certificate. At each application deadline, we review all submitted applications. If you have sufficiently answered all questions and clearly articulated your Certificate plan, we will send you an acceptance confirmation. If we have questions about your application, we will return it to you and request additional information and offer to meet. If your application is returned, you will not need to reapply; rather, you will simply need to address the questions we have. We are here to help you be successful in creating your own Certificate pathway and learning goals.

There is no limit to the number of students we will admit to the program. The I&E Certificate is available to all eligible Duke undergraduates who, through their application, demonstrate a good fit with the program and can put together a cohesive and thoughtful pathway through the requirements. If there is any concern about a student’s application, the student will be counseled to determine if the I&E Certificate is the right fit for their Duke experience.

No more than one course and one experience that is used to satisfy the requirements of any major, minor, or other certificate program may count toward the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate.

You should apply to the Certificate with a clear set of your goals for the program as well as a general interest area you would like to focus on through your coursework and experiences (e.g., technology, energy, social innovation, etc.). The self-designed pathway enables you to shape your Certificate in whatever way best serves your interests and goals and also allows your plan to evolve.

As a member of the I&E Certificate program, you will become part of a community of Duke students dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship. Certificate students will also have individual advising as well as special access to workshops, speakers, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

You do not need to know what your specific experiences will be at the time you apply to the I&E Certificate. However, you should be able to broadly identify the type of experiences you want to undertake as part of the certificate, and justify why they are a good fit for your overall pathway through the program.

You may change the selection and timing of your courses and experiences after you are accepted into the program. We understand that your plan may evolve as you progress through your undergraduate career and accumulate more experience. Regardless, the courses and experiences you end up completing must together form a cohesive pathway and coherent story.

Yes. If you complete one of the approved Gateway Elective courses, it will count toward your certificate requirements, regardless of when it was taken.

Once you are enrolled in the Certificate, you can request that a course be approved to meet the Certificate elective requirement; there is a form on our Current Students page to guide you in this process. We review submitted courses for their relation to I&E, as well as how they support a student's individual learning goals and pathway.

The experiences should occur within the context of the undergraduate career and be aligned with your area of focus. Because the e-portfolio is intended to capture your experiences in real time and be a vehicle for reflection as you progress through the certificate, your experiences will be better maximized if you are part of the program when undertaking them. However, if you believe your case warrants an exception, please provide justification for this on the application in the relevant text box for describing your anticipated experience. Upon admission to the program, you will then need to complete an experience proposal in order to get official approval. At most, the program will be able to accept one experience that was completed prior to starting the program.

After you are admitted into the program, you will fill out a form that will be used to determine if an experience meets the criteria for the certificate. The general criteria for an experience are that it is hands-on and practical, is innovative and entrepreneurial in some way (meaning at some level, you are helping identify and solve problems), and helps further your individual objective(s) for completing the certificate.

One course and one experience used to satisfy the requirements of your major, minor, or other certificate program may “double count” toward the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate.

The experiences are not time-bound. You may choose to do them at any time and over any period of time, as long as they meet the minimum hour requirements and are both completed prior to taking the Capstone.

After you are admitted into the program, you will be provided a comprehensive set of guidelines for completing the portfolio. This will provide clear instructions for everything from how to set up your portfolio to the specific content that it should contain and how it is assessed.

No. You may earn either the I&E Certificate or M&M Certificate.