Semester in San Francisco


Study Entrepreneurship with Design Thinking in San Francisco

When it comes to studying entrepreneurship, there is no other place in the world like the San Francisco Bay Area, the birthplace of Silicon Valley.

The Semester in San Francisco program is an opportunity for Northeastern University undergraduate students to experience life in a vibrant city, learn directly from industry professionals, and continue on the path to achieve their academic goals.

On-ground classes are held at Northeastern’s San Francisco location within WeWork, a stylish co-working community in the Financial District, which is only a few steps away from the city’s famous cable cars, and a short walk to historical districts in every direction.



The Northeastern Network

The Northeastern network comes with a series of opportunities aimed at increasing competitiveness in the job market. The collaboration between the D’Amore-McKim School of Business and the San Francisco location helps students grow and nurture their networks on the West Coast. Participants can return to the Bay Area post-program or later on in their careers and have an established presence and professional network that will allow them to directly tap into their career goals, lifelong learning, or wherever the future may take them.

A Program Designed for Experiential Learning

This highly experiential program offers three areas of concentration: Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Marketing. Students can work toward one of these areas, earn an entrepreneurship minor, or take courses as open electives. Details of the courses and application deadlines can be found on the Global Experience Office’s website. Internships and independent study are also offered, giving participants the freedom to gain hands-on professional skills and authentic work experience at a startup or growing company. Students consult with their advisors in advance to carefully map out a plan and select courses that align with their academic goals and leverage the opportunities in San Francisco.

Student Testimonials

“I really enjoyed my time as part of the CAMD for a summer semester. The ability to develop friendships and interact with designers will be invaluable towards building my career. I hope to continue being a part of the design community in the future.”

-Ava Nordling, Semester In San Francisco, Summer I 2019



“Our teachers connected us to tons of valuable SF design events that enabled me and my classmates to feel empowered as young professionals. We actually launched into the design world with concrete skill development on site, which was unique to this program.”

-Sanjay Selvan, Semester in San Francisco, Summer I 2019 



“You get to learn about entrepreneurship in the heart of entrepreneurship, and it is more hands-on than textbook based. Our professors encourage us to get out as much as possible, and go to meetups and other events.”

-Noi Yamagata, Semester in San Francisco, Fall 2018  



“The faculty members for the Semester in Silicon Valley program were phenomenal. The projects were intensive, but because the instructors were very engaging and open with students, we were able to apply what we learned in the classroom immediately to what we were working on. I wouldn’t have been prepared to get out of school without this program. Semester in Silicon Valley added another layer of perspective in my entrepreneurship knowledge.”

-Arthur Doelp, Semester In San Francisco, Spring 2018


“The SSV program allows me to interact with business in many different ways, all at the same time. I study business academically, work as an employee, and create the foundation of a startup. With mentorship, I learn from my everyday experiences. My professors care about the future. Teaching us is another way for them to shape the future of the industry. It’s inspiring to be in an environment with motivated students, teachers, and professionals. Engaging conversations happen daily, and perspectives change constantly.

-Autumn Martin, Semester In San Francisco, Fall 2017


Click here for more student testimonies.

 Beyond the Classroom

Students in the program are encouraged early and often to make new connections throughout the semester. They will have opportunities to meet investors and founders, mingle with Bay Area alumni, and participate in a mixture of cultural and industry-related activities. Outside of the program, there is also time to explore San Francisco’s endless districts, neighboring cities, and popular travel destinations throughout Northern California.


Photo Gallery


Meet the Faculty

Alina Adams is a serial entrepreneur who has founded high-tech companies across multiple industries. With advanced degrees in both engineering and business, she has an emphasis on new technologies in the biotech, hardware/internet of things space. She works with companies, investor groups, accelerators, and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond to build a supportive ecosystem for innovation and value creation. Adams is a member of several global organizations that help entrepreneurs, assisting startups with business development strategy, fundraising, and growth strategy.

Aleks Gollu is a veteran of the Bay Area venture startup ecosystem, with expertise in supply chains, transportation, and telecommunications. Gollu holds a BS degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and MS and PhD degrees from University of California, Berkeley, all in EECS with a focus on system management. He was co-founder of OTelNet, a pioneer of SMS-based cell phone applications, which was acquired by Telecommunication Systems in 2002. He founded PINC Solutions in 2004. PINC has since become the premier provider of yard management and transportation visibility solutions. His most recent startup, 11Sight, provides a video interaction platform for businesses to establish the first contact and to accelerate lead conversion. Gollu is a member of Keiretsu Forum. He holds four patents with two pending.

Katherine Hamilton is a consultant specializing in environmental policy, education, and communications. She’s worked on climate policy and finance with organizations including The Nature Conservancy, the Governor’s Climate and Forest Task Force, and the philanthropy initiative Joyride Collective. Her consulting work has also included designing and implementing the city of Boulder’s strategy for community engagement in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She has taught at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business and served as a board member for the Colorado Carbon Fund and Wildlands Restoration Volunteers.

Hamilton previously served as director of Forest Trend’s Ecosystem Marketplace,  a nonprofit news, data, and analytics service focused on incentives for conservation, where she co-authored the book Voluntary Carbon Markets: A Business Guide to What They are and How They Work. She has also held positions with Yale Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Capitalism Inc., and The International Council for Science. Hamilton holds of a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University and bachelor’s from the University of Michigan. She is currently accepted to the Fulbright Specialist Roster.

John Kohler has been director of Impact Capital at Santa Clara’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and has also been a mentor to social entrepreneurs at the Global Social Benefit Accelerator.  In 2011 he authored a report on impact investing entitled Coordinating Impact Capital: a New Approach to Investing in Small and Growing Businesses, co-authored a chapter on equity investing in New Frontiers of Philanthropy (Oxford Press-2014), and recently published a study on Total Portfolio Activation for Impact (Miller Center-2016).  He is now pioneering a new investment vehicle, the Variable Payment Obligation, that presents investors with a structured exit alternative to equity.  In addition, he is co-founder of Toniic, a syndication network of impact investors. Kohler manages investments through Redleaf Venture Management.  He has 20 years of executive level positions at Hewlett Packard, Silicon Graphics, Convergent Technologies, and Unisys.  He was one of the founding executives at Netscape Communications. He led investments at AdRelevance (JMXI), Mosaic Communications (TWX), NetGravity (DCLK), RedCreek Communications (SNWL), and Wireless Online.  John serves as a board member at PACT, an NGO based in Washington D.C., and on Pact’s microfinance company in Myanmar.  He received his bachelor’s degree concentrating in international economics from UCLA and completed executive programs at Wharton and Stanford business schools. Over the last 15 years, he was a managing member of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund and currently advises ACDI/VOCA’s impact fund and USAID. Other recent advisory roles include the Vatican Impact Investing Conference and Catholic Relief Services.  He is a nationally accredited soccer coach, an avid skier, and a sailor.

Rick Rasmussen is a Silicon Valley native with entrepreneurial, executive, government, and academic experience focusing on startups and growth-stage companies.  He works extensively with governments and economic development agencies looking to connect with Silicon Valley.  He is an active member of the Sand Hill Angels investment group. Rasmussen earned an electrical engineering and computer science degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a dual MBA degree from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Columbia’s Graduate School of Business in New York City with honors.  He currently lectures on entrepreneurship at both UC Berkeley and Stanford University.


R. Paul Singh has been a founder and CEO of five startups; Veraz went public and Espresso Logic, CyLAN, and Internetware being acquired. He is now the CEO of Startup Strategies where he works as a mentor to startup CEOs regarding various business and go-to-market issues. Singh has co-authored three books on internet related topics. He has taught various classes at TiE Silicon Valley and IEEE in addition to being a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley, CMU, UCSF, and University of Rochester. Singh holds a BSEE from Delhi University India and an MBA from St. John’s University.


Naeem Zafar is a faculty member at the University of California Berkeley, Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology and the professor of the practice at Brown University.  He has taught entrepreneurship and new venture finance since 2005.  As a serial entrepreneur he co-founded and served as the CEO of several companies including Bitzer Mobile, which was acquired by Oracle in November 2013. He is currently the CEO of TeleSense, an Industrial internet of things company. Zafar has published several cases in Harvard Business School publishing and has authored five books. He has an Sc.B. degree from Brown University.



Key Program Contacts

Naeem Zafar is the faculty director of the D’Amore-Mckim, School of Business, Semester in San Francisco program.  Zafar also co-instructs the Entrepreneurial Finance course and manages the internship/indepeneent study opportunities.




Gloria Balderas is the Assistant Director of West Coast Development and Operations, based out of San Francisco.  She is the primary contact for all on-ground and non-academic-related inquiries of the program.