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Market-Driven Academic Program Ventures

Initiative Overview 

Market-Driven Academic Program Ventures (MPVs) are intended to function akin to venture capital funding. The Office of the Provost, in partnership with the Graduate College, will provide "start-up" resources for new, innovative academic programs that align with current market opportunities and that have the potential to provide key professional opportunities for future students. Although the primary focus is on innovative master's degree programs, cutting-edge, reputation-enhancing, sustainable undergraduate programs are also considered.

MPV proposals should focus on new degree programs, or significant redesigns of existing degree programs, that have significant market appeal and that are highly distinctive with respect to competitor programs. These programs can be on-campus, online, hybrid, or remote programs in collaboration with other universities or colleges at satellite locations or within the facilities of corporate partners. Successful MPV teams will receive resources for support for a formal market study and upon analysis and approval, release time for the first year of instruction, partial support for directing the new programs, and discretionary funds to foster and advance partnerships when applicable. Assessment of the quality and number of applicants, course outcomes, student progression, professional outcomes of graduates, and finances will be directed at assuring the success, quality, and sustainability of each MPV.

Application Materials

MPV teams should submit a white paper (limited to 5 pages) that includes:

  • Title and description of the program
  • Rationale and high level learning outcomes
  • Innovation (what approaches and attributes make this proposed program distinctive to Drexel and uniquely valuable to prospective students and industries, including analysis of potential overlapping and/or competitor programs both within and outside of Drexel)
  • Timeline and approach
  • A definition of the degree program(s) including:
    • Departments and academic/research programs involvedFaculty expertise
    • Degree requirements and plan of study
  • A business plan including:
    • Preliminary market study
    • Anticipated enrollments
    • Anticipated outcomes and assessment plan
    • Budget justification and sustainability

Application Process

Submission should be submitted via the Drexel University Funding Portal. Within this portal you will see the application, materials, and directions. We will send reminders as the deadline approaches. Please look for program updates which we will explicitly highlight.

  • Deadline for 2016 applications: Monday, April 4, 2016 by 5 p.m.

2016 Awardees

In 2016 the Office of the Provost and the Graduate College received innovative 25 MPV proposals. Five new programs were selected as awardees and two more programs were selected to receive direct marketing support. The Office of the Provost plans to host additional MPV information sessions and open the MPV competition again in 2017.


Creative Writing, MFA The master of fine arts in creative writing is an experiential, career-focused and civically engaged program for novelists, playwrights and screenwriters who inspire, publish and produce.
Global Health, MA and MS This master’s program prepares the next generation of global health leaders to solve the world’s most difficult health challenges, respond to humanitarian crises, think globally while assisting local underserved communities, and address health issues that transcend geographic boundaries.
Peace Engineering, MS and Certificate
The peace engineering program builds upon the partnership between the U.S. Institute of Peace’s PeaceTech Lab and Drexel’s College of Engineering in educating a new generation of professionals to identify challenges and implement solutions at the intersection of peacebuilding and engineering.

Transdisciplinary Science, Computing, Engineering, and Design (TranSCEND), MS

The tranSCEND MS is a research-intensive program that combines a firm foundation of technical knowledge with the creative and collaborative aspects of design, emphasizing boundary-crossing industries such as mobile app development, wearable devices, “Internet of Things” and robotics.
Urban Strategy, MS and Certificate The MS in urban strategy program collaborates with the Lindy Institute of Urban Innovation to train the next generation of engaged urban strategists including designers, engineers, lawyers, public health workers and economists, to solve complex, interdisciplinary urban problems.

Direct Marketing Support

Bioinformatics, MS and PhD The programs in bioinformatics meet the high demand for trained scientists and professionals with expertise in both computational science and biology since the explosion of big data in the field of biology.
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) The new DBA is a cross-disciplinary, industry-centered program aimed at providing business executives with evidence-based scientific tools to apply to their business decision-making and the capabilities to contribute as thought leaders.

More Information

Please contact James Herbert, Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate College (, or M. Brian Blake, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost (, if you have specific questions about the MPV program.