Semester in San Francisco

Semester in San Francisco is a domestic study away program in entrepreneurship with a uniquely experiential focus. Students experience startup life in action, both in and out of the classroom. Through internships and in-class projects led by our faculty of practitioners in the industry, the curriculum comes alive in the real world of business. 

Students live, work, and study in the heart of the city. On-ground classes are held in the Financial District, only a few steps away from the city’s famous cable cars, and a short walk to historic districts in every direction.

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Fast-Track a Business Minor, or Add a Concentration

For your courses, choose from five concentration tracks within business and entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship and New Venture Management, Entrepreneurial Startups, Corporate Innovation and Venture, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or Finance.

You’ll be able to earn up to 16 credits, which is equivalent to a minor at most universities.

Gain Real Industry Experience

Eligible students will be placed in internships within the local tech industry, where you’ll learn firsthand how to work and succeed in this unique ecosystem. And if you’re looking for a truly in-depth experience, spring semester participants have the option to continue working at their placement for credit over the summer.

Experience Northern California

Throughout the semester, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in industry experiences like Founder lunches, pitch nights, networking events, and industry treks. And the student support team organizes frequent activities to help you get the most out of your stay in the Bay Area, one of the most culturally rich and environmentally beautiful regions in the US.

Join the Northeastern Network

The Northeastern network comes with a series of opportunities aimed at increasing competitiveness in the job market. With over 7,000 alumni in the Bay Area alone, you’ll have an established professional community to tap into now and in the future.

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.


A seasoned entrepreneur, Cynthia Dai advises her international clientele on growth strategy and serves as an interim executive. She mentors global social enterprises at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and has taught (social) entrepreneurship, leadership, and teamwork at UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University, and Tsinghua University (China). Ms. Dai has an MBA from Stanford and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with honors from UC Berkeley. She is a former state commissioner and current San Francisco Elections Commissioner.


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. She designed and implemented the city of Boulder’s strategy for community engagement in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She has also held positions with Yale Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Capitalism Inc., and The International Council for Science, and served as director of Forest Trend’s Ecosystem Marketplace.


John Kohler has been Director of Impact Capital at Santa Clara’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and has also been a mentor at the Global Social Benefit Accelerator. He is now pioneering a new investment vehicle, the Variable Payment Obligation, that presents investors with a structured exit alternative to equity. He is co-founder of Toniic, a syndication network of impact investors, and manages investments through Redleaf Venture Management. He has executive level experience at Hewlett Packard, Silicon Graphics, Convergent Technologies and Unisys and was one of the founding executives at Netscape Communications.


PKPK Kopardekar serves as the Director of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Institute where he creates and explores revolutionary concepts and technologies for aviation. In addition, he acts as the Principal Investigator for UAS Traffic Management. He has previously served as the Senior Technologist for Air Transportation System at NASA. In 2017, he was identified as one of the 25 most influential persons in the unmanned aircraft system industry. He holds a patent for Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) and is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).


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.


Jay Ruparel

Jay Ruparel has 24 years of experience in building and leading tech startups and enterprises. He is the co-founder and CEO of VoicePlug, and previously co-founded and served as CEO of Azure Knowledge Corporation and as COO of Styx Infosoft. In 2018, he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and listed with Silicon India’s Top 50 CEOs. His companies were listed amongst the fastest growing in the country in 2018 and 2019 by both Inc. Magazine and Deloitte. He teaches and advises with California Science and Technical University, Entrepreneurship Development Institute, the Young Presidents Organization Entrepreneurship Council, and Entrepreneurship Development Center, MICA.


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.

Student Testimonials

“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



“The faculty members for the Semester in San Francisco 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 San Francisco added another layer of perspective in my entrepreneurship knowledge.”

-Arthur Doelp, Semester In San Francisco

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/independent study opportunities. Email: [email protected]




Sophia PetersonSophia Peterson is the Project Coordinator for Northeastern’s Semester in San Francisco program. She is also a primary contact for on-ground organizational and program-activity-related needs throughout the semester. Email: [email protected]