Duke Cultural Anthropology logo



In today’s global economy, innovators and entrepreneurs are increasingly deploying long-established methods used by anthropologists to reach global audiences. Companies large and small have begun relying on ethnographic methods and anthropological perspectives to help identify what people want or need so that their products and services may better serve people across cultures and demographics. Anthropology majors have a distinct advantage in burgeoning fields like human-centered design and user experience (UX) given their understanding of globalization, diversity, access, inequality, and the need to differentiate solutions based on the population being served. This holistic perspective is integral not only to the design process, but to entrepreneurial action overall.

Entrepreneurial education is for everyone—not just those who want to start a company or invent a product. With education in innovation and entrepreneurship, students become better critical observers. They become more creative, able to generate novel solutions to difficult problems. They become more disciplined, more resourceful, and more inclined to take action. They become more likely and better able to affect meaningful change.

With entrepreneurship education to complement their robust subject matter expertise and research experience, anthropology students will learn to discover opportunities, develop solutions, and deliver innovations to make a positive impact. As they learn about the social and cultural challenges today, they can simultaneously develop their capacity to respond to the challenges tomorrow.

Students interested in entrepreneurship, those interested in leadership positions with global organizations, and those seeking careers in design, marketing, human resources, UX, and beyond can all benefit from Duke I&E’s interdisciplinary, experiential approach to entrepreneurship education.

Certificate Overview

Managed by Duke I&E in coordination with schools and departments across Duke, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Undergraduate Certificate equips students with the mindset and skills to tackle complex problems in innovative ways. 

Whether students want to found their own companies one day, gain skills to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges, or simply prepare for a broad spectrum of careers in an ever-changing world, they benefit from a program that layers business skills, open design thinking, and interdisciplinary exploration atop the deep subject matter expertise provided by their regular course of study. They also join a community of creative and ambitious students from across Duke and gain access to resources, mentorship, and opportunities for innovators.

Students select a pathway consisting of two experiences (350 hours and 150 hours) and two electives. All Certificate students also complete Strategies of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E 352), as well as a capstone (I&E 499). 

Examples of experiences include, but are not limited to, innovative and entrepreneurial internships, research, civic engagement initiatives, independent projects, or work developing an independent venture.

Students’ portfolios provide a platform to creatively capture artifacts from their Certificate work and experiences. This project provides tangible accounting of what students have learned, as well as deepening their reflections and helping to crystallize their takeaways.


Pathway (students will select one)

  • Technology & Design: Bringing the human experience to the creation of new products and services
  • Media, Arts & Entertainment: Raising the voices of communities in creative industries to innovate and engage in novel ways with the arts
  • Social Innovation & Policy: Leveraging cultural competencies for social impact via policy, design, or other application
  • Culture, Community & Commerce: Exploring the impact of innovation and entrepreneurship through the lens of the humanities and interpretive social sciences
  • Self-Designed: Crafting new paths at the intersection of culture, innovation, and entrepreneurship


  • Keystone I&E 352 Strategies for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Capstone I&E 499 Innovation & Entrepreneurship Capstone
  • Students will take two courses related to their chosen pathway; one CULANTH elective can count for both Certificate and major.

Examples of electives that may count for both Certificate and major:

  • CULANTH 170​ Advertising & Society – Global Perspective
  • CULANTH 171 Organizational Anthropology: Anthropologists in the Workplace
  • CULANTH 172 Anthropology of Design and UX
  • CULANTH 302 Fieldwork Methods: Cultural Analysis and Interpretation
  • CULANTH 350 Anthropology of Money
  • CULANTH 360 Global Apple Life and Death and the Digital Revolution


Students will complete two learning experiences tied to their chosen pathway. One of the experiences must exceed 300 hours; the other must exceed 150 hours.