Ronald & Carrie Ludwig Duke in Silicon Valley Program

Innovation & Entrepreneurship 4-WEEK SUMMER COURSE

Learn How to Launch & Sustain a New Venture

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Duke University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative and Global Education Office for Undergraduates (GEO), offer a four-week, one-course program focused on northern California’s Silicon Valley. The program is designed to give students an intensive course experience in the creation of a new venture, both commercial and social.

The one-credit program will be delivered in a hybrid format during Summer Term 1 in 2022, combining a residential experience in Silicon Valley with remote learning. Over the course of the program, students learn the resources, skills, and planning required to launch a new product or service. Guest speakers will include founders and leaders from many of the country’s most innovative companies, while co-programming engagements will connect you with employees at startups and established firms headquartered in the Bay Area. These experiences together with lectures, case studies, and simulations will provide 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.


Location: Redwood City, CA

Term: Summer

Dates: May 9, 2022 - June 3, 2022 

Application Deadline: February 1

Academic Theme(s): Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Credit Type: Duke Credit

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

Duke Affiliation: Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative

Housing: Hotel studio suite with kitchen

GEO Advising: Request an appointment 

  • 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 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.

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



During residency in CA breakfast is included each day.  Lunch and dinner are included weekdays and during program events on weekends.


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 2022

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

  Duke Students
Tuition $2,600.00
Program Fee $3,000.00
Transcript Fee N/A
Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $8,500.00

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.

  • Remote: May 9, 2022 - May 15, 2022
  • Arrival in CA: May 16, 2022
  • Departure from CA: May 27, 2022
  • Remote: May 28, 2022 - June 3, 2022


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

Amy Bowes

GEO Associate Director


Application Opens: November 1

Final Deadline: February 1

This program will release decisions in two waves: First in Mid-January, 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, please take into consideration the light physical demands required by some of this program’s activities. Activities include walking moderate distances on sometimes hilly, uneven, and/or cobbled terrain, climbing up stairs, using public transportation, and standing during tours and site visits. If you have questions or are concerned about any of these activities, please contact the faculty program director.


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. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript.
  3. Academic letter of recommendation (one)

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