Innovation Academy

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The Innovation Academy (IA) is a leading-edge undergraduate program that is poised to provide students with the skills of the 21st-century worldwide economy. We are proud of the foundation and culture of innovation we are delivering to all of our IA students.

Our curriculum provides a clear path towards gaining a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace—complete with four years of specifically designed courses in creativity, entrepreneurship, ethics, and leadership. Earning the Innovation minor along with a degree provides for a powerfully launched career.

Jeff Citty, EdD, UF Innovation Academy

Intro to IA

Along the way, we host compelling guest speakers, work with sophisticated prototyping tools, showcase projects at competitions, and leverage university resources such as incubation space and an app development lab. Being an academic program centered on creatively designing human-centered innovations to solve large and small problems provides a tremendous opportunity for students to excel in forward-thinking and turn their ideas into reality.

Many Majors, One Minor

The Innovation Academy (IA) is the University of Florida’s groundbreaking undergraduate program, located at one of its most dynamic research universities that attracts unique students from thirty majors and integrates them into a spring-summer cohort filled with energy, collisions that become ideas, and one common minor: Innovation.

From the unique curriculum to the collision of ideas to the flexibility of the spring-summer cohort, the Innovation Academy is not your average program. A minor in innovation is not for everyone. It is for that special breed of competitive, forward-thinking student.

A student willing to explore both the arts and sciences to cultivate the skills needed to land a rewarding job and build a successful career in the modern global economy. Innovation Academy attracts Innovators. Risk takers. Entrepreneurs. Idea people.

The Competitive Edge you are looking for comes with UF IA students at the Innovation Academy at UF:

  • Collaboration with experts and peers
  • Experience with a vital mix of disciplines
  • Learned strategic risk-taking
  • Experimentation with rapid prototyping
  • Exploration of play, passion & purpose
  • Charting the path from creativity to unique professional ventures

The Curriculum

The UF Innovation Minor is exclusive to IA students. The Innovation Minor courses are designed to provide a core knowledge base and a skill set to prepare IA students for the 21st-century economy.

Required Courses

  • Creativity in Context
  • Creativity in Action
  • Principles of Entrepreneurship
  • Fostering Innovation through Leadership
  • Ethics in Innovation
  • Innovation Academy Senior Project 

    TOTAL CREDITS: 15–16

Catalyst Challenge

Catalyst is Innovation Academy’s summer showcase that serves as a launching point that inspires students to move their ideas forward beyond the classroom and apply their innovative solutions to the communities they live in after the second Innovation minor course ends. IA students in the Creativity-in-Action course present their ideas, prototypes, informational posters, and persuasive pitches at Catalyst.

Innovation Academy holds one showcase at the end of Summer A and one at the end of Summer B every year. The Innovation Academy invites members of the community, family, friends, fellow innovators, and people passionate about innovation to attend.

Program Perks & Benefits

LIVE, LEARN, LEAD where INNOVATION thrives @ Beaty Towers
The IA Living Learning Community (LLC) at Beaty Towers is open to students admitted to the Innovation Academy, and allows students in the same academic program to live and study together year round, if they choose. The IA LLC aims to create an environment that invites opportunities for formal and informal interactions between residents, staff, and faculty through programs and activities that integrate in-class and out-of-class experiences.

Curriculum Enhancements

Arduino programming, Adobe Illustrator driven laser cutting, 3D modeling with Fusion 360, iteration, and prototyping skills, and the Innovation Mindset Course.


IA students enter their ideas and creations into various competitions such as The Big Idea, MuniMod, and many more!

University of Florida’s Innovation Academy Summit event

Incubation Space

UF encourages interested students to apply to use incubation space at the Gator-Hatchery or the Launchpad Scholars program to foster innovation and growth.

Speaker Series

Inviting various industry professionals & thought leaders to speak to IA students as guest lecturers.

Study Abroad

The fall semester off is ideal for study abroad—giving students a large window of time to work with when studying abroad.


IA has caught the attention of many employers and leaders who have sought upper-level students to work for them full-time in the fall when all other students return to campus or can only work part-time.

Internship Opportunities

IA offers a successful Fall Internship program with local startup companies in Gainesville where students work in teams and earn 4 credits in the process. IA also curates an independent internship database to support students looking for opportunities nationally.

Students with UF’s Innovation Academy work in the 3-D printing lab and laser-cutting lab at UF’s Infinity Hall in Gainesville, Florida.

Join Us

Any prospective UF freshman can apply to the Innovation Academy Program as part of the University of Florida application. To apply to the Innovation Academy, freshman applicants should indicate interest in the Innovation Academy and complete the additional essay on their UF undergraduate admission application. For more information, visit

Support Us

The next generation of Gator Innovators need your support. Giving to the UF IA Innovation Fund is a unique opportunity to invest in a distinct new way of teaching and learning. This funding helps to provide immersive student experiences, curriculum development and materials, and co-curricular programming that move our vision forward in graduating innovators who utilize design thinking to solve global challenges through experimental and creative problem solving. When supported, innovation blossoms. Support us today at

Their Story

“Having problem-solving skills is the most important element that a lot of younger professionals don’t think of. They feel that they have their degree… so they should just have the promotion handed to them – not the case! Your education, skill sets, experiences, and other qualifications have you in the door but won’t take you any further.

It does not warrant you promotions or progressions in your career – you have to do more than that to advance. That’s when the innovative mindset, the critical thinking, the problem-solving skills come in, that is what pushes us forward.

Because I have the Innovation minor, I often go for the problem-solving opportunities. This has expanded my career in a way that it did not for other people. For example, if you are that person that always brings new solutions to the table, always asks the questions, while others don’t, then additional doors will open for you.

While I do my core responsibilities well, I have that innovative mind; I always look for process improvement opportunities… I optimize my capacity, so I have more bandwidth to search for new opportunities… I’m able to think through questions, scenarios, and come up with the different solutions. That’s why I have advanced faster than people who have started at the same time as me.”

Danna Regnier
Member of the Inaugural Ia Cohort, Class of 2017 Assistant Vice President, Enterprise Supply Chain Organization, Citi Bank

Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems