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Jan 30, 2014 02:36 PM EST

Auburn University To Offer Beer Brewing Degree Next Fall

Auburn University in Alabama will be tapping into the growing beer market next fall with the addition of a beer brewing degree to the list of innovative majors offered at the school, The Auburn Villager reported.

The public institution's Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Hospitality Management will be offering new graduate certification in brewing science, but faculty from the business school and engineering school will help draft the curriculum for the degree.

"There has been an explosion of very good quality of craft breweries that have opened and will continue to open in the state in years to come," Dr. Martin O'Neill, Head of the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Hospitality Management, told The Auburn Villager. "There wasn't a corresponding delivery on the educational front. If you wanted to get an education in craft brewing you had to leave the state in order to get that education."

The beer brewing program will offer six courses covering a mixture of science, engineering and facilities, brewing materials, and the business of brewing.

The program took about four years to move from idea to program launch. It received the accreditation from the Commission of Higher Education last summer, The Auburn Villager reported.

"There are a lot of people that have a great idea, but they don't know how to get that idea to market," O'Neill said about the relevancy of the program. "They produce a good product but they don't know how to sustain the business long term. And obviously it is a very hands-on industry so we are requiring that all students undertake a practicum."

Auburn University wanted to capitalize off the expansion of the craft brewing industry by becoming one of the few institutions to offer a degree in the field.

The graduate program will be available  to a handful of applicants in fall 2014. 

The University of California, Davis, A-B Tech Community College, Blue Ridge Community College and Rockingham Community College also offer degrees in brewing beer.

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