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Engineering for a Better Environment: Brazil
Florianopolis, Brazil
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Panther Program Housing Options: Hotel
Language Prerequisite: No prerequisite Number of Credits: 3
Internship/Research?: No Open to Non-Pitt Students: Yes
Language of Instruction: English Program Length: 2 weeks
Courses of Study: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Natural Sciences Certificate Program: International Engineering Studies, Latin American Studies
Minimum GPA: 2.50 (for engineering students only), 2.75
Program Description:
engineering for a better environment: brazil

Program Overview 
The Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE) and Engineering International Programs is pleased to present Engineering for a Better Environment: Brazil. This two-week (spent in Brazil), three-credit course (the entire course is taught during summer semester) studies issues of renewable energy and environmental sustainability in one of the leading green countries in the world. Through a combination of classroom lecture and site visits, students will explore issues related to the use of renewable energy in Brazil, including bio fuels, hydroelectric power, and other emergent green energy technologies. 
The program consists of a series of mandatory pre-departure class sessions, held during the summer term in Pittsburgh. These class meetings are typically held on weekday evenings in the weeks leading up to departure (thus allowing students doing a summer co-op or internship locally to participate). This course is designed for SSOE students with an interest in sustainable energy, but students in other disciplines with an adequate technical background will be considered for the program. Students from the Swanson School of Engineering MUST verify with their academic adviser how the course can apply in their major to fulfill degree requirements PRIOR to enrolling in the course.  Typically, the three credit course fulfills a technical elective for engineering majors (with advisor's final aprpoval).

Location Information 
Florianópolis is the capital city and second largest city of Santa Catarina state in the Southern region of Brazil. It is composed of one main island, the Island of Santa Catarina, a continental part and the surrounding small islands. It has a population of 427,298, according to a 2009 Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics estimate, the second most populous city in the state. The metropolitan area has an estimated population of 1,096,476, the 21st largest in the country. 
The city is known for having a very high quality of life, being the Brazilian capital city with the highest HDI (0.905) according to the UN. The economy of Florianópolis is heavily based on information technology, tourism and services. The city has 42 beaches and is a center of surfing activity. As a result of this, Florianópolis is growing as a second home destination for many Paulistas, Argentines, Americans and Europeans. Most of the population lives on the island's central and northern parts. The southern half is less inhabited. Many small commercial fishermen populate the island. The fishing boats, the lacemakers, the folklore, the cuisine and the colonial architecture contribute to the growing tourism and attract resources that compensate for the lack of any large industry. Villages immersed in tradition and history, such as Santo Antônio de Lisboa and Ribeirão da Ilha still resist the advances of modernity.


This course is taught during the summer prior to the program abroad.  If you are not in Pittsburgh during the course, Dr. Abad will allow you to enroll via distance learning for this course. 
Renewable energy use in Brazil will be explored from a variety of perspectives: technological, historical, political, economic, contemporary cultural. Through classroom discussion and an assortment of group exercises, students will learn to frame contemporary energy production and utilization issues in societal and global contexts and demonstrate mastery of the issues through written and oral communication. The pre-departure class sessions conducted during the summer semester will feature a series of expert speakers who will present on some of the more salient topics connected to the course. 

Please click here for last year's course syllabus: Engineering for a Better Environment Syllabus.pdf

On-Site Faculty

 Dr. Jorge Abad's research interests are combined by fundamental and applied topics. Fundamental topics include: mechanics of sediment transport, high-resolution description of hydrodynamic and morphodynamics in subaerial and submarine meandering channels, long-term prediction of river morphodynamics, development of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models for environmental flows, environmental hydrodynamics, and transport and mixing processes. Applied topics include: river restoration, bank protection using instream-structures, development of GIS-tools for river management, development of CFD models for hydraulic structures (dropshafts and fish-passage canoe-chutes). Dr. Abad’s group seeks understanding of geophysical processes in laboratory-scale (theoretical, physical experiments and numerical approaches) and field-scale (theoretical, numerical and field work).

Program Dates 
August 10 - August 22, 2014 (dates are tentative and subject to change) 

Recommended Courses
The following courses fulfill the engineering humanities and social science requirement and will prepare you for a broader understanding of the culture.
  • PORT 0001 - Elementary Portuguese 1 (or any other level of Portugeuese language)
  • PORT 1061 - Survey of Brazilian Literature
  • HIST 1522 - History of Brazil
  • SOC 1441 - Energy, Society, and Behavior


In-State Program Fee: 2014 - $4,000
Out-of-State Program Fee: 2014 - $4,200
University of Pittsburgh Administrative Fee: $300.00. 
Mandatory Brazilian Visa Fee: $250.00  (approximate and can change)
What's Included: Tuition for three Pitt academic credits, all accommodations, daily breakfast, and some additional group meals, local transportation in country, all site visits with all entrance fees included, on-site orientation in Brazil, mandatory health and accident insurance 
Additional Expenses: 
Estimated Round Trip Airfare: $1,700.00 - $2,000.00 
Personal Expenses: $300.00- $500.00  

Estimated round trip from Pittsburgh to Florianopolis: $1,700 - $2,000 

Housing Information
Participants will be provided with hotel rooms for the duration of the program.

Admissions Requirements 
  • SSOE student in good standing, or an approved student from another school or university
  • Minimum 2.50 GPA for engineering students
  • Sophomore standing or higher
  • Required participation in 2012 summer semester in Pittsburgh for class meetings
  • Some knowledge of Portuguese is helpful, but not required

Past Experiences 

"Studying abroad in Brazil was one of the best decisions I have made in my educational career. The balance between the educational site visits and free time with the other students/professor made the trip very fun. I learned a lot by seeing how companies function in other cultures and retained so much information because it was so interesting. I would HIGHLY recommend Engineering for a Better Environment:Brazil to anyone looking for a short but excellent study abroad trip."

- Jake Coloney 


Contact Information

Peer Advising Walk-in hours in 152 Benedum Hall: 
11-5 Monday and Tuesday
9-5  Wednesday

Dr. Diane Hardy Saran
Associate Director, International Engineering Initiatives
Swanson School of Engineering

Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
This program is currently not accepting applications.