Ronald & Carrie Ludwig Duke in Silicon Valley Program

Innovation & Entrepreneurship 4-WEEK SUMMER COURSE

Program Alert

Due to a high volume of applications, Duke in Silicon Valley is now closed to new applications for summer 2024.

Learn to Launch & Sustain a New Venture

Apply Now

Duke's Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Duke's Global Education Office for Undergraduates (GEO) offer a four-week, one-credit program hosted in northern California’s Silicon Valley. You'll get an intensive course experience in the creation of new ventures, both commercial and social. This exploratory program is open to students of all majors.

The one-credit course will be delivered during Summer Term 1 in 2024. Over the course of the program, you'll learn the resources, skills, and planning required to launch a new product or service. You'' hear from guest speakers including founders and leaders from many of the country’s most innovative companies, while co-programming activities will connect you with employees at startups and established firms headquartered in the Bay Area. Together with lectures, case studies, and simulations, these experiences will provide you an in-depth understanding of how new enterprises are formed, inspiring you as you work with teammates to create and pitch your own venture. The program includes modules on innovation and design thinking, prototyping and product design, competitive strategies, value-based negotiation, venture financing, team dynamics, and ethics in entrepreneurship. You’ll also explore the dynamics that created Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial culture, how other startup hubs are developing around the world, and the legal and regulatory issues currently facing some of Silicon Valley’s most successful ventures.

This program is intended for students of all backgrounds and majors who are interested in exploring their innovator mindset.


Location: Redwood City, CA

Term: Summer l

Dates: May 13 - June 8, 2024 (Tentative)

Application Deadline: Priority Deadline - January 12; Final Deadline - February 1

Academic Theme(s): Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Eligibility: There are no prerequisites. Non-Duke students and DKU students are not eligible to apply to this program.

Duke Affiliation: Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Finances: Limited funding is available for full-time undergraduate Duke students who attend this program.

Housing: Hotel studio suite with kitchenette

Primary Contact: Kevin Hoch

  • Site visit to Apple

  • Site visit to PayPal

  • In class with Dr. Clayton M. Christensen

  • Site visit to TESLA

  • Guest speaker from Zume Pizza

  • Site visit to Google

  • In San Francisco

  • Hiking Windy Hill

  • Site visit to Google

  • Guest speaker at Apple

  • Students attending a guest lecture


All students enroll in the signature program course for one Duke credit. No pass/fail option or auditing is permitted. 

I&E 271A* / ECON 281A / MMS
Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise 

(SS) 1.0 Credit

At its core, entrepreneurship is creation. It is not the marginal improvement of the status quo, but instead bringing an idea into the world that did not previously exist. Ultimately, it is the intersection of conception and execution.

This exploratory course is primarily focused on the conception and early-phase execution issues that are core to the entrepreneurial lifecycle. The skills required to conceive of a new idea and initially move it into reality are fundamentally different than the skills required to grow an existing business into a large-scale, efficient organization. Entrepreneurship is not running a large business on a small-scale, but instead the process of creation. We will be analyzing explicitly the feedback between creation and execution. A cornerstone of this course is experiential learning designed to put you in entrepreneurial situations that will require the use of the tools we will be covering throughout the term.

The course also explores the culture of innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship which has resulted in Silicon Valley being a hub for new technology and startups. Consideration will be given to if/how the Silicon Valley culture can be duplicated in other parts of the world, particularly as many Silicon Valley firms expand around the globe, as well as move into a hybrid workplace environment.

Prerequisite: No prior coursework is required and the program is open to all majors. Students should not be deterred from applying if they have not previously taken relevant coursework.

*Relation to I&E Certificate: This course satisfies either the gateway or elective course requirement for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate program.



Breakfast is included each day at the hotel.  Lunch or dinner is included a few times a week when a meal is part of a required activity.  Students will need to make their lunch or dinner when a program activity is not occurring. Kitchenettes are provided in each room.


Student accommodations in Silicon Valley will be near major technology companies and office parks, to provide easy access to the entire San Francisco Bay Area.

Students who are not enrolled in the Duke in Silicon Valley program will not be permitted to share housing with enrolled students.


Summer 2024

These costs are estimated based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

  Duke Students
Tuition $2,840
Program Fee $4,200
Transcript Fee N/A
Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $10,040

Non-Duke students are not eligible to participate in this program.

Costs FAQ

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.



This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: May 13 (Tentative)
  • Departure: June 8 (Tentative)


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.


Program faculty director(s) can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the GEO representative listed.

Kevin Hoch

Managing Director for Education

Christine Lee

GEO Program Coordinator / Advisor


Application Opens: November 1

Priority Deadline: January 12

Final Deadline: February 1

This program will release decisions in two waves: First in Mid-January after the priority deadline and then Mid-February. Applications must be received by the final deadline of February 1 to be considered. Application opens November 1.

Interview: Some applications may require an interview.

PriorityPriority is given to applicants who submit all materials by the deadline and meet prerequisites. Applicants are encouraged to apply early, as this is a very popular program.

Non-Duke students: Non-Duke students are not eligible to apply to this program.

*Special Note for First Year Applicants: Program acceptance cannot be determined until after Dean’s Checks are completed in January. This should not deter any first-year students from applying!

Physical Requirements

Before applying to this program, you should assess and determine if you are physically or emotionally able to participate in the following physical demands required by some of this program’s activities:

  • Walking approximately a mile in a day, sometimes for two or more days in a row, sometimes on hilly, uneven, or cobbled terrain
  • Climbing and descending stairs
  • Using public transportation, including sometimes crowded buses or trains
  • Standing during tours and site visits
  • Entering into older buildings with narrow and sometimes steep staircases, at times with limited or no access to elevators
  • The possibility of warm/hot temperatures while residing in locations without air conditioning

If you have questions or are concerned about these or any other program activities, please contact the Duke Office of Global Health and Safety (


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

Submit the following items using MyExperientialEd:

  1. Online application
  2. Duke in Silicon Valley Questionnaire
  3. Transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript.

Interview: The program director will contact you to schedule an individual interview.


Every summer, the Duke in Silicon Valley blog is updated with participant bios and student blog posts about the experience. Find out why students say the program is, "challenging, thought-provoking, exhausting, invigorating, incredibly valuable, and everything in between."

Duke in Silicon Valley 2018 group

"Everyone who I have been able to meet, with many thanks to generous Duke alumni plus so many more, has eagerly welcomed our group of 25 students into their workspaces and openly shared their experiences, mistakes, values, and goals."

Camaren Dayton '21
Mechanical Engineering, Visual Arts, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Pansy Tseng at Netflix

"Since I am going into the finance industry, I came into this program with the desire to learn more about the innovative technological side to finance as well as the strategic funding component of scaling a startup."

Pansy Tseng '20
Economics, Finance, and Visual & Media Studies

Ehime Ohue at TESLA

"I have come to realize the importance of being a self-starter that constantly creates her own path, practicing reflection frequently to help with knowing your story, and constantly being aware of problems around you and thinking of creative ways to solve them, even if they seem far-fetched."

Ehime Ohue '20
Public Policy Studies, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Bryant Huang Silicon Valley 2018

"Prof. Azhar put us on the spot and made us think unconventionally – all part of his goal to simulate what it’s like to be a part of a startup.  I think that we were all a bit anxious at first, but by the end of the class, we were all sold by his teaching style and excited to draw from his entrepreneurial experience moving forward with the summer."

Bryant Huang ’21
Economics, Computer Science, Innovation & Entrepreneurship