Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

This program is not currently accepting applications for new students.


The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City delivers exceptional entrepreneurship education and research programs. Faculty members in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at IEI are productive scholars who regularly publish in top-tier academic journals in entrepreneurship and related fields. We are committed to building one of the best doctoral programs in the country and training the next generation of entrepreneurship professors.

Students will complete two sequences of courses, one dealing with existing research in the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation and a second dealing with research methodologies. Through these courses, students will develop a solid grounding in the entrepreneurship and innovation literature. In addition, students will develop the research skills needed to (1) identify compelling research questions, (2) use theory to identify possible answers to those research question, (3) frame research projects to explore the validity of those answers, and (4) analyze the data generated by that research project using the statistical tools and techniques necessary for publication in leading management journals. All students in the program will take 6 hours of courses per semester for the first two years and 3 to 6 hours of courses per semester afterwards while working as research assistants for designated faculty and conducting dissertation research.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • SLO 1: Evaluate Theoretical and Empirical Contribution: For any given study published in the entrepreneurship and innovation literature, students should evaluate the strength of the paper’s theoretical contribution, and evaluate the usefulness of the paper’s empirical contribution in terms of statistical conclusion validity and causal inference. KPM: At the program level, we measure this SLO as whether the student completed all first-year coursework with a passing grade. Course-level rubrics are the purview of the instructing faculty. As a program, whether the student successfully passes all first-year coursework is evidence of making satisfactory progress towards the PhD degree.
  • SLO 2: Deduce and Determine a Literature Gap and Empirical Strategy. Given a set of studies and a related dataset, students should deduce a valuable theoretical gap within that literature, and using a provided dataset, be able to determine and execute an appropriate statistical test of a hypothesis derived from the identified theoretical gap. KPM: We measure this SLO as whether the student successfully completed his or her second-year coursework, and whether the student successfully passes his or her comprehensive exam. There is, by design, no formalized rubric for grading the comprehensive exam. The standard for passing the exam is whether a majority of the doctoral faculty in the Department would grant a “revise and resubmit” decision on the submitted paper. The “revise and resubmit” standard is explicitly the standard that the student would find as a researcher submitting papers to academic journals. The real-world nature of the grading process exposes the student to the subjective standard he or she will face as tenure-track faculty.
  • SLO 3: Derive an Original Research Question and Theoretical Contribution. Working independently, students should derive an original research question in the entrepreneurship and innovation literature, be able connect that question to a delineable theoretical contribution to an entrepreneurship conversation, and design an appropriate empirical strategy to evaluate that research question. KPM: We measure this SLO as whether the student successfully defends his or her dissertation proposal at the end of the third-year in the program. Defining the originality of a research question and its potential contribution is at the discretion of the student’s dissertation committee Chair.
  • SLO 4: Persuasively Argue the Validity of Original Research. Students should persuasively argue and defend the validity—the usefulness of the research question and supporting statistical conclusion validity—of his or her original research. KPM: We measure this SLO as whether the student successfully defends his or her dissertation research at the end of the fourth year of the program. There is, by design, no set rubric for this evaluation. To be successful as tenure-track faculty, the student should be able to defend his or her research to a diverse audience of scholars who may or may not have familiarity with the student’s research question.

Total credits required for graduation; 45 credit hours
Total residency requirements, if any: 42 credit hours

Required Theory Courses (12 credit hours):
ENT 5691Doctoral Seminar In Theoretical Foundations Of Entrepreneurship I3
ENT 5692Foundations Entrepreneurship3
ENT 5693Technology, Innovation, And Entrepreneurship3
ENT 5694Doctoral Seminar In Theories Of The Firm And Strategy3
Required Methodology Courses (15 credit hours):
ENT 5587Special Topics6
ENT 5681Multivariate Statistical Methods-II3
ENT 5682Structural Equation Modeling3
ENT 5683Mathematical Models For Entrepreneurship3
ENT 5699Dissertation and Research in Entrepreneurship and Innovation1-12
Required Elective Courses (6 credit hours):

Students will select two electives in consultation with their advisor. In all cases, the timing and composition of electives will be chosen with the approval of the student's advisor so that these courses will support the doctoral candidate's research focus.

Comprehensive Exams
Students are expected to take their comprehensive exams after the completion of their course requirements.  Exams are administered by the RIEI faculty. However, a second failure will result in termination from the program.

Comprehensive examinations in the co-discipline may also be required either as part of major comprehensive exams or as separate exams.

In addition to the course work, research papers, and comprehensive exams, each Ph.D. candidate must successfully complete a dissertation in Entrepreneurship. The dissertation must be an original and independent piece of work.

Each dissertation is supervised by a five-member dissertation committee. The proposal must be approved by the dissertation committee before the end of the student’s third year in the program. After the dissertation has been written to the satisfaction of the dissertation committee, the student presents the dissertation to the faculty and other Ph.D. students, and the student must defend the dissertation in a final oral examination by the committee. All dissertation requirements must be completed by the end of the sixth year in the program.

Teaching effectiveness training
All first-year students are required to participate in UMKC’s teaching effectiveness training program. International students must pass a SPEAK test as part of the training. Teaching assistants assigned to teach core courses will receive additional guidance from faculty course coordinators. Each student will have the opportunity to independently teach at least two classes before graduating.

Financial support
We offer full tuition waivers and very competitive stipends to a limited number of students who are in the Stand-Alone Ph.D. program or the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program with Entrepreneurship as the Coordinating Discipline. In addition, students are encouraged to compete for fellowships offered through the UMKC School of Graduate Studies.

Annual Evaluation
A student must complete a formal evaluation by the supervisory committee every year during the summer. Students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.3. Unsatisfactory performance on any of the requirements can lead to termination from the program.