Guide to Online Entrepreneurship Degrees

Jennifer King Logan

Written By: Jennifer King Logan

Published: 2/24/2022

Online entrepreneurship degree programs are designed to train students in assessing business opportunities, creating and implementing business plans, and managing multiple aspects of a business operation on their own, including financial management and marketing. These skills are particularly important in the current U.S. economy, as sole proprietorships are on the rise. A growing number of people are now functioning as independent contractors, who work collaboratively with other small business owners to provide products and services. Whether an individual chooses to start their own business or assume a management role in an existing organization, an online degree in entrepreneurship aims to help students develop their leadership skills.

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Program Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Entrepreneurship

To graduate with a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship, students typically need to earn a total of 120 credit hours. Major courses and electives are designed to help students hone their analytical and decision-making skills while learning about business operations and information systems. Most students need at least four years of full-time study — possibly more for part-time students — to complete the requirements for this degree.

It's possible to earn an entrepreneurship degree on campus or online, and the admissions requirements for both options are typically the same. Along with the application form, high school transcripts, and a possible fee, applicants may be asked to provide the following:

  • Official scores on standardized tests
  • Letters of recommendation
  • An essay or personal statement
  • A list of extracurricular activities
  • Work experience
  • A minimum GPA, such as 2.5 or higher

Common Courses for Entrepreneurship Degrees

The curriculum for an online degree in entrepreneurship is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in business principles. Coursework and projects help students build their skills in analytical and strategic thinking, collaboration, and communication. A few online programs require an internship or a capstone project that enables students to gain real-world experience. This online program often includes general education classes and the following entrepreneurship courses.

Entrepreneurship

This introductory course is designed to provide a broad overview of business topics that concern entrepreneurs. Students may learn how to recognize promising business opportunities, develop a viable business plan, and obtain financing, such as loans and venture capital investments. Course materials may also address business law and ethics.

Essentials of Accounting

Sometimes split into two semesters, this course introduces students to the basics of financial and managerial accounting. In addition to learning general accounting practices, students discover how to assess the data contained in financial documents and use their conclusions to make sound business decisions.

Financial Management

In an entrepreneurial business organization, the owner is frequently responsible for managing an organization's finances. This course teaches the fundamentals of effective financial management by explaining budgeting, financial reports, cash flow, resource allocation, and other vital financial issues.

Organizational Behavior

Future small business owners can benefit from understanding how people interact in groups within a work environment. Students may learn how key concepts in organizational behavior can be used to help grow an organization, improve employee performance, enhance team interactions, and inspire innovation.

Principles of Management

From planning and organizing to staffing and controlling, this course is designed to explore the core functions of management. Projects help students build critical thinking and decision-making skills, and coursework covers management theories, leadership, ethics, and social responsibility.

Principles of Marketing

An understanding of the four fundamentals of marketing — product, price, promotion, and distribution — helps students think strategically about selling their products and services. Coursework may also include coverage of market research, which is an essential tool for identifying and appealing to an organization's ideal customers.

Specializations

Students whose career goals involve creating their own business ventures and running start-ups  have several educational paths they can follow. One possibility is to earn a bachelor's degree in business management — or a related bachelor of science or arts degree — with an entrepreneurship concentration. Many schools also offer an online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with entrepreneurship-specific electives added to the business core.

Another possibility is to pursue an entrepreneurship bachelor's degree that students can customize to fit their needs by choosing relevant electives. For example, students can create their own specialization in entrepreneurial business strategy by taking online courses in strategic analysis and business growth strategies. Similarly students could create a specialization in online business operations by opting for courses in e-commerce and digital marketing.

While any educational path in this field can potentially provide learners with the business management knowledge and problem-solving skills they'll need to run a successful business, a more focused degree covers various types of entrepreneurship in more depth, such as small business and non-profit organization management.

Interested in learning about similar programs? Explore online bachelor's degrees in marketing, organizational leadership, or supply chain management.

Accreditation for Online Entrepreneurship Degrees

Many colleges and universities establish their standing in the higher education community by undergoing accreditation. In this process, an independent agency analyzes a school's academic programs, faculty members, facilities, and other services to confirm they meet high standards for rigor and excellence. Schools can also seek accreditation for individual degree programs.


Online bachelor's degree programs in entrepreneurship may be accredited by either the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, depending on the size and type of school.

Accreditation is an important factor for students to consider when deciding which school they want to attend for an online entrepreneurship degree. Enrollment in an accredited program is required to qualify individuals for federal financial aid. Students may also need to have studied at an accredited online college or university in order to transfer credits to another school or be accepted into a master's program, such as an MBA program. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation both provide databases of accredited schools.

Funding an Online Entrepreneurship Degree

Whether studying on campus or online, all students enrolled in accredited programs in entrepreneurship have equal access to financial aid. Prospective students can apply for many types of financial assistance by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. There are also some privately funded scholarships available that are listed below.

This $5,000 annual scholarship is available to any student who demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit in their academic and community activities.

Business and entrepreneurship majors with a 3.5 or higher GPA are eligible for this $1,500 scholarship.

To encourage female leadership in business, one $2,000 award is given annually to a female college student majoring in business and entrepreneurship.

Applicants attending an accredited U.S. college must be small business owners and at least 25% Asian and/or Pacific Islander to qualify for these $1,000-$5,000 scholarships.

Do you want to reduce the cost of college with financial aid? Check out our Guide to Financial Aid for Online Students to learn more.

Careers with an Entrepreneurship Degree

An online degree in entrepreneurship may be a smart choice for students who are intent on working for themselves and starting their own businesses, but this degree option does not limit students to one career path. Because the courses found in an entrepreneurship program are similar to those in a general business management program, students work on developing the skills they may need to qualify for various occupations in business. Some graduates may decide to gain experience by working in other organizations before venturing out on their own. The following are some of the career opportunities available to entrepreneurship graduates.

Solo Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner

From professionals who offer their services as hairstylists, landscapers, lawyers, and accountants to enthusiasts who open retail shops and restaurants, there are countless individuals owning and operating small businesses. What they all need — in addition to expertise and skill related to their chosen market segments — is a working knowledge of small business management. These entrepreneurs typically manage all of the finance, operation, and marketing aspects of their businesses by themselves, at least in the earliest stages. Because there is such diversity within this occupation, it is not possible to pinpoint an expected annual salary or growth projection.

Business Management Analyst

After several years of on-the-job experience, business degree holders may be qualified to become management analysts. Adept at strategic thinking, management analysts use reports and financial documents to evaluate all aspects of an organization, and then they make recommendations for improving productivity and quality while reducing unnecessary costs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management analysts can expect to earn annual salaries near the median of $87,660. This is a growing occupation, with a projected 14% growth over the next 10 years.

Operations Manager

Businesses of all sizes and types in a wide range of industries need operations managers who are skilled at keeping the day-to-day activities on track. Operations managers are typically responsible for productivity and efficiency across the organization, so they routinely look for ways to improve processes, utilize resources more effectively, and enhance quality. The BLS estimates the median annual wage for general and operations managers to be $103,650.

Marketing Manager

Business graduates with a talent for outreach and promotion may be interested in becoming marketing managers. Based on their assessment of the market for their products or services, marketing managers help develop new offerings, marketing plans, and pricing strategies. They also frequently coordinate with their organization's advertising and promotions team to build the market's awareness of their brand. Marketing managers earn a median annual salary of $142,170, and the BLS projects a 10% increase in openings for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers over the next decade.

Professional Associations in Entrepreneurship

Students and graduates can enhance their entrepreneurial skills and professional credentials by joining an industry association or organization. Members enjoy opportunities to stay up-to-date on industry issues and connect with peers through an organization's publications and events. Many organizations serve as advocates, representing the needs of entrepreneurs when state and federal government agencies are setting policies that affect small businesses. The following are a few examples of associations dedicated to entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

  • The National Association for the Self-Employed supports solo entrepreneurs and micro-business owners employing up to nine people with educational resources, legal help, access to health insurance, and discounts on travel and other business needs. Students can join for a reduced annual fee.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business is primarily an advocacy organization for small business owners. Membership benefits include legal assistance, business education opportunities, and discounts on business-related expenses.
  • The National Association of Women Business Owners represents more than 11.6 million women-owned businesses as an international networking and policy advocacy organization. Its discounted Next-Gen membership is available for undergraduate and graduate students.

Is an Online Degree in Entrepreneurship Worth It?

All students must decide for themselves whether a particular degree is worth pursuing. Everyone has personal circumstances, such as financial needs and other obligations, that should be factored into their decision. The following are some points to consider when choosing whether to pursue an online bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship:

Potential Benefits

Entrepreneurship degrees give students specialized knowledge. By opting for a degree or concentration in entrepreneurship, as opposed to a general business degree, students gain a deeper understanding of what it means to start and run a business. Course materials focus on the financial, legal, and strategic aspects of small business operations.

An entrepreneurship degree helps equip students with skills that they can utilize across a broad range of business occupations. Graduates are not limited to starting their own businesses. Instead, their general understanding of business allows them to move into a variety of management roles.

Entrepreneurs have one of the highest job satisfaction rates in the nation. Data from an ongoing survey shows that entrepreneurs have a satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5, placing them in the top 10% of occupations in terms of career happiness.

Potential Drawbacks

Entrepreneurship entails a high degree of risk. Even before the COVID pandemic, the cumulative closure rate of startups was around 90% after 10 years in business. More than 20% of new businesses fail in their first year, and another 30% in the second year.

Entrepreneurs may have to work long hours. The concept of an entrepreneur enjoying complete freedom on a flexible schedule may be a myth. Several research studies have determined that many small business owners work 60-80 hours per week, especially in the early years of a business.

Online students may have to put more effort into building relationships with peers. Entrepreneurs rely on their networks of fellow professionals to grow and manage their businesses, and many start establishing these connections in college. In the online environment, some entrepreneurship students may find it challenging to reach out to others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Study Entrepreneurship Online?

Yes, you can earn a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship online. However, it's not a very common program, so you'll have a limited number of options to select from if you want to earn this degree title, specifically. However, there are related programs in the field of business that help students develop the same skills — such as organizational leadership, communication skills, and strategic problem-solving — and cover similar material. Be sure to choose an online entrepreneurship program that aligns with your career goals.

How Long Does It Take To Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship?

Most full-time students take about four years to complete the 120 credit hours needed to earn an online bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship. Part-time students may need five or more years, but students who've already completed some coursework — for example, by earning an associate degree in business — may be able to complete the program in less than four years.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Entrepreneurship?

An online degree in entrepreneurship can lead to a variety of career options. Since entrepreneurship programs are fairly similar to general business management programs, students in these programs also work on developing the knowledge and skills needed to operate their own businesses or work in existing organizations. Graduates may decide to open for-profit businesses or non-profit organizations, or they may choose to become business managers, analysts, consultants, or executives.

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