INNOVATE: Global Issues in Engineering and Business: China

This program is on pause for 2022 but is expected to return in summer 2023.

We have been doing this program since 2008! We partner with The Asia Institute. This provider, who handles all of the logistics for the program, has been an amazing partner for this program.

In the past, we traveled over ten days abroad to three Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou. While in China, we participated in meetings with key business, academic, and government leaders and engage in professional site visits to many leading multi-national and domestic Chinese companies. 

 In the spirit of international collaboration, the program is designed to promote interaction among students of various cultures and backgrounds. INNOVATE prepares tomorrow's leaders to grapple with the issues of technology and globalization, not just in the abstract, but also through direct experience. Outside of the formal framework of the program, the conversations that occur during dinner and sightseeing excursions will give you the opportunity to reflect on what you have learned and to challenge your thinking about your own culture.

To learn more- watch this video: 


What You'll Accomplish: 

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

  • An understanding of business and engineering innovation in China
  • The ability to adapt and thrive while traveling through China
  • A deeper understanding of the role that history and culture play in the development of a technology and business

In the past- INNOVATE students visited Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai.  

As the capital of China, Beijing has both a long history and a vibrant, cosmopolitan modernity. You will see 1000-year-old temples next to cutting edge 21st century architecture. Beijingers are both sophisticated and patriotic, and love to show off their city to "foreign friends." The city is always changing and yet it still struggles with issues of development, economic inequalities, and how to blend its local tradition with global culture.

Shanghai, meanwhile, is the world’s most populous megacity, and the first Chinese city to open to foreign trade. Today, Shanghai remains China's most important economic center. You will enjoy a mix of eastern and western cultures in this exciting city. 

Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai, is known for its canals, bridges and classical gardens.

Where You'll Live: 

Double occupancy hotel lodging in 3-4 star hotels for the duration of the trip is included. 

You can expect the following at the hotels: 

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

This is a 3-credit course 

Engineering students-This 3 credit course (ENGR 1600 - Global Engineering Technology) have the option to do additional writing course-work so that they can apply the class toward a W requirement. Please see below how departments have decided how the course can count for requirements:

Below are how the course counted for respective degree requirements in Spring 2020.  How the course will count for 2023 will be updated soon. 

Bioengineering: Advanced Engineering/ Science/Technical Elective or Humanities/Social Science:

Chemical engineering: Please contact Dr. Bayles to confirm how the course counts

Civil/Environmental engineering: ENGR Elective for CE Majors and Environmental Program Elective for ENVE Majors

Electrical and Computer engineering: Technical/Open

Industrial Engineering: IE Technical elective

Mechanical Engineering: ME Technical Elective

Materials Science: Please contact Dr. Nettleship to confirm how the course counts

Engineering Science: Please contact Dr. Smolinski to confirm how the course counts

Business students:

This experience (ENGR 1600 - Global Engineering Technology) can count as the following:

1.  A Marketing elective -OR- a Supply Chain Management elective (may apply it to either the Certificate in Supply Chain Management or the SCM major)


2.  One of two required foreign culture requirements.

The course is focused on understanding globalization and technology with a particular emphasis on China.


All other majors- please check with your academic advisor. 


Update syllabus for 2023 will be provided soon. 

INNOVATE: Global Issues in Engineering and Business (ENGR1600)

Course Content Overview: This course is focused on understanding business and technology in the era of globalization, with a particular emphasis on China. The first part of the course is focused on preparation for an intensive, 10-day study tour of China that will occur during the spring break. The latter half of the course is focused on reflections based on the study-tour and a better understanding of issues facing both the U.S. and China. While the course will generally focus on globalization, innovation, and supply chains, we will also address other relevant topics.
The course includes:

  • Preparation for the intensive, 10-day study tour of China.
  • Background readings and complete short writing assignments that link topics discussed in class to your particular field of study.
  • Guest speakers who provide the necessary background for the program and serve as the basis for comparative discussion and analysis. Topics will include: history and politics, economics, contemporary culture and demographics, and technology trends.
  • Documentation of the experience, primarily through an end-of-semester symposium upon return from China. You will complete individual posters addressing a theme from the conference and write a final paper on a topic of your choosing. 
  • Reflections of the study-tour and a better understanding of issues facing both the U.S. and China.
  • You can opt to take the course for a "W" requirement.
Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Dr. Rajgopal

Dr. Rajgopal is a professor of Industrial Engineering and has been on the faculty at Pitt since 1986. He also serves as the graduate program director for the Industrial Engineering department. He is an advocate for study abroad and has led a number of study abroad programs. 

Alicia JF Olalde, M.A.

Konnichiwa! After working for the JET program in Japan for just over two years, I decided to pursue a career in international education. I returned to the US via a few months of travel -slowing making my way west with many stops in stunning locations and with amazing people. Whenever possible, I continue to love exploring new countries and cultures! I have been fortunate to work both as an administrator and as a classroom educator in higher education; my areas of interest are international, adult and comparative education.  I enjoy assisting engineering students seize international opportunities! Reach out to me at!

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!


Lauren Smith-Lemesh M.Ed.

Om Swastiastu Pitt! My name is Lauren, and I am one of the Global Programs Managers in the Swanson School of Engineering. I studied abroad in Indonesia during undergraduate, and worked as a peer study abroad advisor once I returned. After my study abroad trip, I knew that I wanted to support students to have life-changing experiences abroad too. Let's talk about your interests and find a program that will help you achieve your goals! 

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!

  • Log in to Pathways or use the Navigate app.
  • Select Appointments > Schedule an Appointment
  • Select Pitt Global as the Care Unit.
  • Select 152 Benedum as the Location
  • Select ENGR Global  as the service
  • Select my name and find a time that works for you!

Having trouble or don't see a time that works for you? Just email me!

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State

Study Abroad Tuition (3 credits)

This charge is in addition to your semester tuition fee

Program Fee (see the "What's included" section) TBD TBD
Total Billed by Pitt TBD TBD

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Meals and Personal Expenses $300
If you are not a U.S. Citizen and require to travel for a visa application (Depends on if you have to travel to apply for the visa) Dependent on travel costs required

Total Estimated Program Cost

  In-State Out-of-State

Total Estimated Cost of Program
(Includes items billed by Pitt and additional expenses, does not include visa application costs if you are not a U.S. citizen)

What's Included: 

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

  • Tuition for 3 Pitt credits
  • All Accommodations
  • Airfare to and from China
  • Airport transfers (in-country) and all ground transportation
  • Health insurance
  • Most meals
  • Admission and participation to all events and excursion
  • Visa processing fee (please note, if you are not a U.S. citizen you might be required to apply for a visa at your countries embassy or consulate, this could result in additional fees you will have to pay). 

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while 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 from all majors are eligible to apply
  • Must have applied for a passport or already hold a passport by the application deadline. Need to apply? See instructions here. 
  • Must be in your second, third or fourth+ year at the time of application
  • 2.75 GPA

Past INNOVATE students want you to know…
"The friends I have made during this trip have that spark of adventure inside of them, and it was a pleasure to enjoy this experience with them." 
-Andrew Welby (Check out his blog!)
 "Leaving China definitely made me feel depressed.  Even though I was only there for a short time, I knew I was not close to being ready to leave.  I learned so much about the country in such a short amount of time and honestly was able to have the time of my life. "
- Sean Kurtz (Check out his blog!)
"The trip is coming to an end—we just had the closing dinner.  The Pitt graduate that spoke made me want to move here because of how easily she adjusted.  The trip flew by, and the slideshow of pictures made me realize how many places we all saw in such a small amount of time.  I also realized how close everyone got."
- Victoria Portier (Check out her blog!)