Science, Technology, and Culture of Craft Brewing: Belgium




Have you always wanted to understand the craft brew process while enjoying one of the most charming countries in Europe? This program is for you! 

If you are planning to take the Science, Technology, and Culture of Craft Brewing course (ENGR 1933), you can apply for the travel add-on course (ENGR 1920) to gain an additional credit. During the travel portion in Belgium, students will describe, analyze, and characterize the entire brewing process in a European context!  

The travel program will take place during Spring Break 2023 in Belgium. The program will travel to various location to explore the craft brew process; the proposed itinerary includes Leuven, Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels.  


*A mandatory Agreement Meeting for accepted students will take place on Wednesday, November 16 at 5:30pm on Zoom.


To learn more about the experience, check out this video: 


What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • Evaluation of brewing options and equipment for commercially relevant operations
  • A way to relate brewing process variables to style characteristics
  • Ways to justify brewing choices based upon brewing science, engineering and economic considerations

Belgium is known for its many types of beer and longstanding practice of beer-making. While in Belgium the group will tentatively travel to the following cities: Leuven, Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels. The itinerary tentatively includes a visit to a Hops farm, a maltery, and visits to various large and small breweries.


Where You'll Live: 

Students will be staying in hotels for the duration of the program abroad. 

You can expect the following at the hotels:

  • Double or triple rooms with a shared bathroom
  • Heat and Air conditioning
  • Sheets, blankets, towels, and washcloths
  • Breakfast included each day
  • Wifi
What You'll Study: 

ENGR 1933 is the course that can count for specific requirements for your degree program.

ENGR 1920 is the study abroad add-on portion of the program; it is a 1 credit addition.

Student MUST be taking ENGR 1933 in order to apply to ENGR 1920. Students MUST be 21 years of age to participate in this program. 

You will be able to evaluate brewing options and equipment for commercially relevant operations, relate brewing process variables to style characteristics, and justify brewing choices based upon brewing science, engineering and economic considerations.

Engineering students can view how these courses will fulfill degree requirements here:


Other students: please check with your academic advisor for fulfillment of degree requirements.

We have worked with a provider to create the program in-country. While in Belgium, you will be accompanied by faculty and staff from the University of Pittsburgh who will be your leaders and additional staff from our provider. 

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Jodi Suckle

Bonjour, Shalom, Sawadee-ka! I'm Jodi, a Global Programs Manager in the Swanson School of Engineering. My study abroad experiences to France and Turkey fueled my passion for travel and international education. I have helped students travel to, and participate in programs on 6 continents, and love enabling students to experience and learn about the world. I grew up in New York and have lived in Israel, Thailand, and Guatemala. Every time I go somewhere new my favorite thing is learning about the history, cultures, and traditions of the place, and trying new food of course. Come talk to me about engineering Panther Programs and Plus3, or if you're an international exchange student new to Swanson and Pitt. 

Schedule an appointment

SSOE students: schedule an appointment with me using Pathways via this link!
non-SSOE students-- send me an email and we'll set up a time to meet!

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Dr. Robert Parker

Dr. Robert S. Parker is the Associate Dean for Graduate Education and a Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. In his more than 20 years of home and professional beer brewing he has developed an appreciation for hops of all types, Belgian yeasts, anything served from a nitrogen tap, and the science and culture of beers from around the world. When he's not pursuing his teaching passion in the area of his hobby, Bob uses systems tools to address challenging problems at the engineering/medicine interface. 

Mr. Robert Toplak

Mr. Toplak is the Director of Strategic Business and Finance Operations for the Swanson School of Engineering. He is an active home brewer and provides classroom support for ENGR 1933, Engineering a Craft Brewery, by co-designing and brewing beer of various styles for classroom sensory sessions and helping to instruct students during on-campus brewing demonstrations. Rob appreciates all beer styles but has an affinity for true Belgian or Belgian-style beers, particularly farmhouse ales.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Program Fee  (see  "What's included" section) $3100 $3300

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Meals and Personal Expenses $500
If you are not a U.S. citizen there may be a cost associated with applying for a visa and/or traveling to a embassy or consulate varies
 Roundtrip Airfare varies


What's Included: 

As a part of the program costs, the following are included in the program:

  • 1 credit course
  • All ground transportation
  • All Accommodations
  • Health insurance
  • All breakfasts, some lunch/dinners
  • Admission and participation to all events and excursions

Students are responsible for their own flight to/from Belgium, any meals not included in itinerary, and miscellaneous personal costs. 

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad.

**Note that Pitt Global Experience Office courses/programs such as this one, operate outside of normal tuition and fee schedules and cannot be combined nor included in full-term tuition pricing. 


 Questions about funding study abroad? 

Visit our budgeting page for more information. 

For global scholarship opportunities, check out:

  • the Pitt GEO scholarship page for links to national, provider and private scholarship samples
  • PittFund$Me  for Pitt sponsored funding including Pitt wide global scholarships, Nationality Rooms, VIH, etc.
  • PittFund$Me  for the SSOE Global Experience Scholarships!


What Else You Need to Know: 

Application requirements: 

  • Undergraduate and graduate students who are 21 years of age or older.
  • Open to all Pitt students, not just Swanson School.
  • Must have applied for a passport or already hold a passport by the application deadline. Need to apply? See instructions here.
  • Must be enrolled in Science, Technology, and Culture of Craft Brewing course (ENGR 1933) for SP 2023. 
  • 2.75 GPA​