INNOVATE: Global Issues in Engineering and Business: China

Are you interested in exploring the relationship between technology, globalization, and leadership in the global marketplace with students from multiple countries and U.S. universities? Then INNOVATE is for you! 

You will enroll in a spring semester course and travel abroad during spring break.

You will spend ten days abroad in three cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou. In China, you will participate 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. 

INNOVATE students will visit both 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 taught during the spring semester. 

 Students have the option to do additional writing course-work so that they can apply the class toward a W requirement. 

Engineering students:

This 3 credit course (ENGR 1600 - Global Engineering Technology) should be reviewed by the faculty director of your department for how it will count for requirements. You can take elect to take the course to fulfill a "W" grade. 

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. 

Click below for more information on the course content and syllabus.

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. Diane Hardy Saran

Buna! That’s hello in Romanian.  After returning from being a Peace Corp volunteer in Transylvania- I decided to work in the field of international education helping international students.  Life took me back to Buffalo, NY (where I grew up- land of chicken wings)- and I worked for SUNY Buffalo for many years assisting international students and scholars.  In 2010, I moved to the ‘Burgh- and am now assisting engineering students to study abroad.  For fun I enjoy volunteering with my therapy dog Nora, yoga and fitness, international films, crocheting, and travel (of course). Come talk with me about studying abroad! |  412-624-9823 | 152 Benedum Hall -   |  


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. 

Larissa Allen

Hello! My name is Larissa Allen, and I am one of the TAs for INNOVATE 2020! I graduated from the Swanson School of Engineering with a degree in Bioengineering in 2018 and am now a second degree ABSN student in the School of Nursing here at Pitt. My entire undergraduate experience was shaped through study abroad, and I am excited to be working again with the International Programs office to make this year’s INNOVATE successful. After spending two semesters abroad in Singapore and South Korea, studying abroad through INNOVATE, and working as a peer advisor with the Swanson International Programs office, I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have about INNOVATE and beyond! I cannot wait to return to China and share the experience with all of you!  Feel free to email me!

Michael Cannizzaro

Hello! My name is Mike Cannizzaro, I am one of the INNOVATE TAs and I'm a first year master's student studying electrical engineering here at Pitt. I graduated from Pitt undergrad over the summer (also in electrical engineering), and I participated in Innovate last spring! I had such an incredible experience with Innovate, and I'm so excited to be back!
Email me at

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State

Tuition (3 credits)

$2580 $2780
Program Fee ( (see the "What's included" section) $2120 $2120
Total Billed by Pitt $4700 $4900

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. 
Questions about Funding study abroad?  Check out the study abroad’s funding search page and note that SSoE has funding specifically for Pitt engineering students.

When You'll Go

Traveling to and from China
Because of the short nature of our study abroad program, your program includes the cost of the flight and transportation to and from the Pittsburgh Airport. 

While in China - Itinerary
Click here to see an example schedule of the program. This is subject to change but provides a good idea of the program's schedule. 

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 stdudents 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!)