Study Programme

This Master’s programme prepares professionals for the exciting and fast-paced world of business development and entrepreneurship. It combines the rigour of an economics education with the relevance of providing the knowledge and skills for new business development. The rigour of an Economics qualification is reflected in analytical courses such as Empirical Economics, Financial Management, Entrepreneurial Finance, and a targeted Research Project (advancing the lean startup method). The relevance of applying theory while keeping the bigger picture of new business development in sight, is especially emphasised in courses such as Intrapreneurship, Entrepreneurial Marketing, Strategy and Innovation, and Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Next to these core courses there are electives taken from other domains to broaden your horizons within the programme and enable you to tailor it to your ambitions and affinities. The final Master’s thesis enables you to demonstrate mastery of that what you’ve learned in this programme.

Each semester is divided into two periods. The academic year consists of eight courses worth 5 EC each, two courses worth 2.5 EC and a Master’s thesis worth 15 EC. There is a short break over the Winter holidays..

Course schedule

Download the full course schedule and go to the courses webpage to find more detailed information on the content. Please note that the names of the courses may change next year.


Your Master’s thesis is the culmination of the MSc in Business Development and Entrepreneurship. Worth 15 EC, you will write and complete the thesis during periods 3 and 4. Your thesis is a piece of work that, when well-researched and skillfully written, will not only contribute new knowledge to your field of study and express your unique viewpoint to future employers, but will give you a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

In the MSc in Business Development and Entrepreneurship you can complete your thesis in a number of ways. You have the opportunity to write your thesis on a ‘real-world’ challenge faced by an existing organisation. This implies that you conduct your own independent research on an issue of importance to the organisation you’re working with, and record the outcomes and implications in your thesis. You can also develop your thesis in the context of one of the ongoing research programmes at the Utrecht University School of Economics, or new initiatives explored by the academic staff of the Business Develepment and Entrepreneurship track. Finally, you have the opportunity to choose your own thesis topic and develop an appropriate research question with your thesis supervisor.

Each year we select a winning Master's thesis for each of the 1-year master’s programme of the Utrecht University School of Economics. These theses need to be written and completed in semester 2 and are chosen for its relevance, academic merit, and particularly for its integration of a ‘real-world perspective’ into an economics issue. From these winning theses, one overall winner is selected by a jury. This thesis is recognized with the U.S.E. Master's Thesis Award. The author of the winning thesis of U.S.E. is awarded with a certificate and cash prize during the Master’s Graduation ceremony.

Educational methods

  • Lecture: to all students
  • Guest lectures with professionals from the field
  • Seminar: groups of 50-60 students. Ocassionally, depending on the nature of the seminar, course coordinators may provide a further explanation in brackets, e.g. seminar (workshop) or seminar (review session). This teaching format still enables interactive small-scale teaching.
  • Tutorials: groups of 25-30 students
  • Tutorials take many forms. Some are used for general discussion of important concepts and topics, some to solve quantitative problems using analysis and mathematics, some to present and discuss case studies or review literature.
  • Project: groups of max. 5 students
  • Assignments range from performing a statistical analysis to investigating the validity of an interesting hypothesis using empirical methods, doing a case study on a company’s strategy with respect to M&A or risk management, or writing a country risk report. In many cases, you will present your findings and discuss them with your fellow students and professors.
  • Writing academic essays and thesis
  • Field trips to organisations and institutes

Examination methods

The assessment typically consists of a mix of:

  • written exams;
  • written assignments such as writing an essay, a research proposal, a policy note, or conducting a panel data study; and
  • for certain courses your classroom performance will contribute to your overall grade.