Certificate Program


University of Memphis Entrepreneurial Journalism Certificate Program


What is it?

This 12-credit graduate certificate program will equip students not only to start their own media-related businesses but also to work as “intrapreneurs” within existing companies, bringing the innovative ideas and solid understanding of business strategy these organizations need to evolve. Students will hone their ability to use social media and the cutting-edge digital tools necessary to market and create content for media businesses. Our certificate program builds on a unique partnership between faculty from the journalism department and StartCo, a local organization that helps to fuel entrepreneurship and nurture startups in Memphis with instruction and mentoring from experienced innovators and investors.

Why would I want to get this certificate?


  • The media industry is in a period of massive change. Think of all the new technology, from smartphones to social media, that we didn’t have just a few years ago and have changed how we get information and entertainment and connect with others. Regardless of whether you want to work in anything from television news or magazines to public relations or advertising, traditional careers are increasingly rare. Learning about entrepreneurship will help you to understand what is going on in media today and help you to get a job or create your own.
  • Maybe you want to start your own business. Maybe you want to freelance, either permanently or until you find your dream job. Maybe you want to become an “intrapreneur,” or somebody that helps existing media businesses figure out how to become more innovative and adapt to these changing times.
  • Democracy depends on journalism, and if both are going to survive and thrive, we need new news startups. We need people that understand new business models and can find new ways to sustain independent watchdog reporting.
  • Entrepreneurs aren’t just business majors! We need creativity and writing, multimedia, reporting, design and social media skills.
  • It is important for all professionals interested in media careers to understand the unprecedented disruption new digital technologies and changing economic realities have wrought on the practices and the business models of traditional media organizations. Students need to be equipped to recognize opportunities for new products and businesses and ways traditional organizations can evolve to meet new demands.
  • It’s fun. No, really. It is. You will get to work with some of our city’s smartest and most creative people on interesting projects. Our program is not about writing formal papers or taking tests. We learn by doing.


What is required to get the certificate?


JOUR 7100: Entrepreneurial Journalism (3 credits) This class will introduce students to the basic principles of entrepreneurship, media disruption, design thinking, and new business models for news. The class is usually team taught in partnership with StartCo. You will work in teams to develop your own startup business plans and investor pitches.

JOUR 7330: Social Media Theory and Practice (3 credits) You will read research, theory, and commentary by some of the most formative thinkers in our field examining the impact of social and new media, and then you will apply these core concepts to your real-world use of digital tools. We will be actively using tools like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and many others to produce and curate content and interact with other professionals.  Entrepreneurs must leverage these digital tools in the promotion of their business and to understand the communities they serve.


UNIV 7100 StartCo Programming StartCo offers a variety of courses, workshops, and opportunities  for entrepreneurs to learn more about how to build their business.

  • StartCo BarCamp, SocialCamp, MobileCamp (2 credits)
  • BusinessPlan BootCamp (1 credit)
  • StartCo ad hoc mentoring (3 credits)

JOUR 7650 Startup Practicum (3 credits) Students will put the skills and knowledge they’ve learned thus far in the entrepreneurial journalism certificate program to work in this course in a real-world setting. Each student will be engaged in an intensive semester-long project that will involve building prototypes/products, creating content and/or advertising or public relations materials for media-related startups. Students may be developing their own media-related startup or working with an existing local startup.

MGMT 7270 Venture/Building/Sustaining a Successful Entrepreneur (3 Credits)

FIR 7648 – Evaluating/Financing New Projects (3 Credits)

ACCT 7412 – Legal/Accounting Aspects of Entrepreneurship  (3 Credits)

How do I apply?

Submit the following materials to graduate coordinator Dr. Joe Hayden at jhayden@memphis.edu and program director Dr. Carrie Brown cbrown14@memphis.edu

1. Cover letter expressing interest in the program and qualifications

2.  Resume/CV

3.  BA or BS degree transcript

Once accepted, in order to graduate with the certificate students must complete certificate program course requirements within a period of six years with a B or above average.

Need more information?

Please feel free to contact program director Dr. Carrie Brown at cbrown14@memphis.edu or on Twitter @brizzyc

Other things you might want to consider if you are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation:

  • Think about getting involved with Meeman 901 Strategies, our student-run public relations and marketing firm. Talk to Professor Darrin Devault about how you can join. This startup will be working with the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship on campus  to improve its ability to meet clients’ needs.
  • Check out the happenings at the campus Crews Center for Entrepreneurship. They have lots of cool events and a new building. They often give away prizes and other support to students.  Meet new people and who knows, maybe rub elbows with the founder of the next Facebook!
  • Learn more about Memphis Innovation Bootcamp, which sometimes has opportunities for students to participate. Learn principles of design thinking as taught at Stanford.
  • Use and follow the #jpreneur hashtag on Twitter. A great way to share ideas and relevant links with the many other journalism entrepreneurs around the country and world.



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