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Program Overview - Burke Center Certificate in Free Enterprise Studies

The Program

The Certificate in Free Enterprise is a twelve credit-hour program in conjunction with the John J. Burke Jr. Center for the Study and Advancement of Free Enterprise. This certificate program is designed to prepare students of any major with the intellectual understanding and the skills to succeed as leaders and constructive participants in all aspects of the 21 st century global economy. The Certificate in Free Enterprise engages students in concepts and practical endeavors that transcend traditional entrepreneurship, which generally focuses on small business start-up activities. Students who complete this certificate program in conjunction with their bachelor’s degree will have the knowledge and skills to (1) function effectively and successfully as informed leaders and responsible members of a society subject to highly competitive market forces and (2) to validate needs and create and implement effective solutions in their respective areas of study.

Real-World Applications

There is a growing need in all disciplines for the ability to identify problems, verify their importance and develop and implement workable solutions. Every course of study strives to fully immerse students in the foundations and intellectual depth of that discipline. However, there are also generally accepted processes that encompass problem definition and salience and solution development and implementation that transcend specific disciplinary domains. This certificate seeks to instill students with this capability, grounded in theory but augmented through application – and importantly in a Jesuit and Catholic institution, with the moral and ethical insights to assure the attainment of serving the common good.

For Business majors, this could be launching a new venture that responsibly meets a previously inadequately served consumer or industrial need. For Science majors, this could be advancing a scientific discovery to better serve humankind. For Social Science majors, this could be defining, creating and implementing a non-profit organization that effectively serves an unmet or poorly met societal need. For Theology majors, this could be identifying a formerly unmet spiritual need and creating and implementing an effective solution within the Church.

In all cases, students develop a mature and informed perspective of the economic, societal, political and moral parameters that govern market dynamics in free societies. They also develop the fundamental skills to identify and quantify legitimate unmet or underserved needs in any context and to bring forward effective, well-grounded solutions under conditions of limited or scarce resources.


All Spring Hill College undergraduate students who are rising juniors, regardless of their specific major field of study, are eligible to apply for admission to this certificate program. The certificate is open exclusively to degree-seeking students and is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of the four required courses and all requirements for the bachelor’s degree. Students who do not complete the requirements for the bachelor’s degree are not eligible to receive this certificate.

Apply for the Certificate

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