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Master of Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship


About the Program

MILE Student studying at home in their own time.


Our Master of Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship (M.I.L.E.) program was designed by seasoned entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs using The National Content Standards for Entrepreneurship Education published by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education.

Our highly qualified faculty deliver an integrated curriculum focused on practical applications of entrepreneurial and innovative concepts and skills. Unlike many other programs, all of the courses in our program are entrepreneurship courses and not from other disciplines. Taught completely online, our program allows students to continue working while pursuing their degree.

Our entrepreneurship program has been honored by Fortune Small Business magazine as one of the five top "E-Schools".

Graduates of our M.I.L.E. Program learn to identify and evaluate existing entrepreneurial opportunities in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Graduates leave the ME Program with the entrepreneurial skills necessary to successfully plan, launch, operate and grow a new venture. Our M.I.L.E. Program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the international accrediting agency for business schools.

Students completing the Master of Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship degree will learn how to:

  • Be innovative and creative thinkers who will recognize entrepreneurial opportunities and recognize when entrepreneurial opportunities can be created.
  • Create and establish successful entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Lead entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Develop and maintain an ethical culture within an entrepreneurial venture.
  • Communicate effectively with the internal constituencies of an entrepreneurial venture, including officers, managers, employees, and agents.
  • Communicate effectively with the external constituencies of an entrepreneurial venture, including customers, investors, lenders, suppliers, and regulatory agencies.
  • Build and grow successful entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Maintain and harvest entrepreneurial ventures successfully.

The Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship Program requires 30 semester hours.  This includes a 21 hour core and a 9 hour concentration.

The Core consists of:

  • Entrepreneurial Innovation (ENT 601)
  • Entrepreneurial Creation (ENT 610)
  • Entrepreneurial Feasibility Analysis (ENT 640)
  • Advanced Entrepreneurial Finance (ENT 650)
  • Planning a New Venture (ENT 655)
  • Entrepreneurial Stratgey I (ENT 660)
  • Entrepreneurial Strategy II (ENT 670)

The Entrepreneurship Concentration focuses on launching or growing an entrepreneurial firm.

  • Entrepreneurial Planning (ENT 600)
  • Entrepreneurial Growth (ENT 630)
  • Entrepreneurial Marketing (ENT 645)

The Innovation and Leadership Concentration focuses on identifying, driving, and leveraging innovation for internal opportunities, typically within an existing organization.

  • Project Planning and Estimating (PMC 610)
  • Project Schedule, Risk, and Contracts (PMC 620)
  • Intrapreneurship (ENT 635)

MILE students typically complete 6 credits of coursework per semester for a total of 30 credits at the completion of the program.  Students who begin in spring or fall semesters can complete the program in five semesters while students who begin in a summer term can complete the program in six.  View the plan of study.

All graduates are invited to attend the graduation ceremonies on our beautiful campus in the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. Those who come will have the opportunity to meet other members of the graduating class and faculty who may also be participating in the celebration.  


The mission of the Master of Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship degree is to inculcate entrepreneurial vision and entrepreneurial will in our graduates. The first part of our mission requires that we develop in our graduates the skills to identify entrepreneurial opportunities that exist: those opportunities that represent untapped markets and under-served markets; and those opportunities that can be created by applying existing technologies to new fields and new markets. Of equal importance is the requirement to develop the skills to create entrepreneurial opportunities: the invention, development, and exploitation of entirely new ideas, products, and services; and the creation of new industries, infrastructures, and ways of doing business.

The second part of our mission requires that we develop the self-confidence in our graduates that is required to actually establish and grow entrepreneurial ventures. Self-confidence comes from the mastery of entrepreneurial skills necessary to start a venture, establish it successfully in a competitive marketplace, to grow the venture effectively, to develop value in the venture, and, ultimately to harvest it.

Our mission encompasses all types of entrepreneurial ventures: not for profit and government venues; and for profit business ventures.  


Graduate School Admission Requirements 

Applicants to the Master of Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship program are diverse. To support the diverse applicant pool, prospective students are strongly encouraged to present their best possible case for admission. You will be among peers who are passionate about innovating and leading from within organizations, or by creating and growing new entrepreneurial ventures. Accordingly, students must submit required items, and should submit any, or all, of the preferred/optional items as may be necessary to build their case for acceptance. 

Required Items:  

  • Transcript  
  • Resume

Preferred Items:  

  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Essay, addressing topics such as the rationale for entering the program, how you will meet the challenges of graduate-level academic study, your passion to persist throughout the program until graduation, goals, and aspirations after earning the degree. 
  • Documentation of Leadership/Innovation/Entrepreneurial Achievements
  • Awards 

Additional Optional Items:

  • Interview with the program director or another faculty member

*If deemed necessary to support an applicant's case beyond other materials submitted.

Application Deadline(s) for Priority Consideration*:   

  • For Fall Admission - July 15
  • For Spring Admission - November 15
  • For Summer Admission - March 15

*Applications received after the date for "Priority Consideration" might be processed, but it should be anticipated that the entry date could be delayed until the next semester. 

Course Offerings: Entirely online

Costs & aid

Although tuition and fees tend to change from year to year, in state students are expected to be able to finish the program for less than $10,000. Out of state and international students can expect to finish the program for less than $30,000. There are special rates for those who are out of state and using military benefits.

Distance Tuition Rates

University Scholarships, the Graduate School and the College of Business have limited scholarship options for graduate students. University scholarship applications are due via an online portal in early February, while Graduate School and College of Business opportunities are communicated via email and are generally solicited between March and June, for the following academic year. The university offers a payment plan through an external vendor, and students can apply for federal loans through 


M.E. Faculty
Alexandra Watson Distance Programs Manager & Advisor 
Robert Carton Ph.D.; Associate Professor of  Entrepreneurship
Robert Lahm Ph.D.; Professor of Entrepreneurship, Graduate Program Director
Frank Lockwood Ph.D.; Professor of Entrepreneurship


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