A New Master’s Degree for Education Entrepreneurs at UPenn

Education and entrepreneurship is the modern match, and the evidence of a new thriving industry is pilling up. Makerspaces and accelerators are finding their way into the higher ed space, and schools are putting more of an emphasis on teaching entrepreneurial skills with classes, and more recently, degrees.

The University of Pennsylvania decided to give the students what they wanted. It will be the first graduate school of education to offer a master’s degree in Education Entrepreneurship (M.S.Ed).

The first cohort will begin in September, but UPenn is not new to the game. It has already started stretching its entrepreneurial muscles with the accelerator, EDSi, which is for innovational edtech ventures.

Barbara Kurshan, the Executive Director of Academic Innovation, said the education and entrepreneurial combination makes sense since the growth of edtech has ignited a whole new audience that want to create schools and build educational businesses.

Kurshan said many of these people need a foundation in education in order to gain insight into the industry. “We believe entrepreneurs need to understand education and need to understand the academic side of this research to be able to implement, design, create new products, and start a business,” said Kurshan.

Whether the applicants come from one industry or the other, Kurshan said there is an amazing amount of overlap between great educators and great entrepreneurs. She said many educators think like entrepreneurs already, but need to learn how to do things like build a business model and manage finances.

Putting entrepreneur-minded individuals into schools is a new trend that Kurshan believes can help schools reach new heights. “Thinking like an entrepreneur is going to be able to help and support the growth of technology in schools,” she said.

Many of the applicants Kurshan sees are international students who are interested in creating schools in their own country. These students want to learn school design and creation in order to run a charter or international school. Kurshan mentions one applicant who would like to use this degree in order to create a program like Teach for America in Indonesia.

Part of the master’s program will be delivered online and students are able to work while pursuing the degree. For more information, visit http://www.gse.upenn.edu/tll/ee


Photo of UPenn Campus. Credit: Lisa Campeau

Michelle Harven

Michelle Harven

Michelle is a current graduate student at Emerson College and an intern at Boston's public radio station. She enjoys exploring the world of educational technology and writing about the ever-changing sector and its potential.