PhD in Entrepreneurship and Organization

A PhD in Entrepreneurship student and faculty member discussing their work

The first program of its kind in Canada, the Conrad School’s PhD in Entrepreneurship and Organization offers emerging entrepreneurship researchers the unique opportunity to study alongside our world-class faculty within Waterloo’s distinctive innovation ecosystem.

The program equips students to conduct independent scientific research in the domains of Entrepreneurship and Organizations. This program builds on the fundamental theoretical foundations of the organizational behaviour and strategy literatures. It is different from traditional Management PhD programs, as it applies an entrepreneurial lens and studies behaviour in entrepreneurial contexts.

Program Structure

The PhD program includes intensive coursework, a comprehensive exam, a thesis proposal, and rigorous research work. Students will gain a strong understanding of the strengths and limitations of a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as theories used in entrepreneurship research, while also developing their skills to carry out their own independent research. 

This program is offered full-time only, on campus, and takes 12 terms (4 years) to complete.

Application deadline 

  • February 1


BET 701 Entrepreneurship Theory

This course will offer insights into the main theories and issues in the studies of entre/intrapreneurship and innovation. It will also discuss the complex and dynamic reality of the entrepreneur and the innovating organization as well as explore research traditions, methodologies, and approaches in entrepreneurship research.

BET 702 Organization Behaviour

This course will offer an understanding of classic and contemporary issues in organizational behaviour. Drawing on theory and research in psychology, social psychology, and organizational behaviour, this course will explore individual, interpersonal, and group processes in work organizations.

BET 703 Business Strategy

This course will examine the current state of knowledge in strategic management. Topics may include the sources of competitive advantage, the role of industry evolution and technology, the organization of top management, and managerial decision-making and cognition. It will also cover alternative theoretical perspectives and available empirical evidence related to these topics.

BET 704 Business Research Methods

This course will examine the different stages in the research process beginning with how to frame research questions, speculate hypotheses, understand the merits of alternative research methods, and cover topics and provide examples in areas such as experimental design, survey design, case studies, and archival research. By the end of the course, students will be prepared to critically evaluate research methods and design choices for their own research. 

In addition to the above four courses offered through the Conrad School, students will also be required to successfully complete two graduate-level method or data analysis courses available through other departments at the University of Waterloo. 

Comprehensive Examination

Students will take a comprehensive exam in the fourth term. The exam will measure the breadth and depth of the student’s knowledge of the academic discipline and the qualitative and quantitative methods in that discipline.

Students must complete the comprehensive exam before proceeding to their thesis.


As part of the degree requirements, each student will present their thesis proposal to a Thesis Examination Committee. The exam will include a critical assessment of students’ thesis proposal based on a written report provided in advance. The Committee will examine the student’s understanding of the proposed research, suggested theoretical framework, methods, and whether the proposed research makes an original contribution to the candidate’s academic discipline.

The thesis must contain original research which makes a distinct contribution of knowledge to entrepreneurship and organization research.


Students will accomplish independent and original research work. Working closely with an academic supervisor, the work will involve both theoretical and empirical components.

Please note that securing a supervisor is not required when applying.

The program will focus on entrepreneurship and organization; however, within this area, students can focus on several areas of research. Explore the research currently being conducted at the Conrad School for more details.