To obtain the Master of Science in Product Innovation degree, students must complete
the following 30 hours of coursework.
User Research in Applied Environments
User Research in Applied Environments covers basic methods of user research as it
relates to new product creation, including human-centered design and customer discovery.
Students will work in a team environment and will learn how to pair qualitative, team-based
interviewing techniques with quantitative market research to identify and explore
important needs and market opportunities.
Business Foundations for Entrepreneurs
Introduction to the fundamental business concepts an entrepreneur needs to know to
evaluate and launch a successful new venture. Topic areas include recruitment, selection,
motivation and management of employees, market analysis and the marketing mix, financial
strategies and accounting for funds, economic considerations, and the management of
Legal, Social and Economic Context for Product Innovation
In this class, we will cover a variety of issues important to product development,
including intellectual property and liability issues, industry and competitor analysis,
supply chains and sales channels, and social and environmental issues. The course
will combine readings guest lectures, and project work that applies concepts to the
students' specific projects.
Principles of Product Design and Prototyping
Principles of Product Design and Prototyping develops foundational skills in product
design, including hands-on experimentation with digital design and prototyping tools
(e.g. Autodesk, Solidworks, Adobe). This course will pair readings, lectures, and
hands-on mini-workshops to build confidence and capability in product design in the
context of the student' own ideas.
In this class, we will explore the relationship between design, product development,
and product management in a business environment. Product strategy, lifecycle management,
go-to-market strategies, and user and functional testing will be covered, as will
techniques of project and product management using tools widely deployed in innovative
corporate and startup environments to track user needs, manage product iterations,
and execute design sprints.
Choose 9 hours from the Product Innovation Practicum or the New Venture Development
Product Innovation Practicum
In this practicum students will have an opportunity to develop new products that are
based on validated needs within their chosen industries, from the idea and discovery
phases through to products that are ready to be commercialized. Students will apply
concepts from their design and development classes to their product ideas, and will
form relationships with corporate and entrepreneurial partners that allow for those
products to be tested in real-world pilots.
New Venture Development
Focuses on the identification and analysis of new venture opportunities and how entrepreneurs
acquire the human and financial resources needed to develop successful businesses.
Topics include market analysis, development of products and services, negotiation,
developing and executing business plans, and new venture financing. Students are required
to complete summer assignments before the course begins in the fall semester. Prerequisite:
SEVI 5213 or an undergraduate degree in business or permission of the instructor.
New Venture Development II
A large-scale, real world, 10-week project involving hands-on work addressing issues
faced by managers in partnering firms.
Innovation & Creativity
This class will provide a framework for developing, assessing and implementing innovations
in start-ups and established businesses. Focus is on creative decision making, managing
for innovation, strategic analysis of innovations, and implementation of innovations.
Aimed at entrepreneurs, brand managers, and managers in industries where innovation
is a key strategic capability.
New Product Development and Strategy
Behavioral and social science concepts applied to retail shoppers, buyers, and consumers
of products and services. Attention is given to research on the cognitive, affective,
and experiential aspects involved in the acquisition, consumption, and disposal of
products and services by individuals and households.
Product management, market research, marketing communications, retailing and distribution,
consumer behavior, and social and ethical implications of marketing.
Supply Chain Strategy, Governance and Change Management
Evaluate and select appropriate supply chain strategies, change management approaches,
and governance structures for business situations. This course leverages plan, source,
make, deliver, customer service, and new product development capabilities to meet
strategic and financial goals in demand-driven value networks.
Sustainability in Business
The course focuses on theoretical and practical bases for pursuing sustainability
in business and society.
Emerging Technologies in Industry
Business leaders present technologies used by their companies. Focusing on Arkansas-based
companies, technology needs for the industry and innovative ideas for solutions or
advancements are discussed. Students work to develop solutions to address company
needs or further develop a company's current technology.
The Master of Science in Product Innovation will prepare students to usher new products
from the idea through the commercialization phases within existing companies or in
new ventures. The program aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities
to improve the probability of commercial success for innovative new products and services.
The degree will consist of a 2-year, 30-hour program that includes full summer, fall
and spring terms. Classes will meet online during the week and one Saturday per month
at the University's Global Campus in Bentonville.
Saturday Class Dates
Students will choose a project-based practicum related to some aspect of new product
development - developing a new product, building a product-focused business, or working
with an existing brand to advance their product portfolio - with the support of faculty
experts and mentors from various industries, such as outdoor recreation, biodesign,
digital products, and others. The small cohort size of each group enables students
to have a high level of engagement with faculty and project sponsors, ensuring a more
customized learning experience for a variety of professionals. Students also have
the opportunity to participate in a product incubator program and test new product
concepts and prototypes.
The student can choose from one of two practicum options:
- Product Development Practicum – The self-paced practicum experience will be in partnership
with a project sponsor in the industry of the student’s preference. With a faculty
advisor and project sponsor, the student will develop customized deliverables and
timeline to advance the product development goals of the sponsor organization.
- New Venture Development Practicum – This team-based practicum with other interdisciplinary
master’s level students will enable the student to develop their skills in creating
a new product-based business through business modeling, product development, and product