Brewing and Fermentation Science Certificate Program

Dylan Parks


When Dylan Parks, assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Biology, tells people he used to be a beer scientist, they usually get the wrong idea.

“They’re usually like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. You get to drink beer every day,’” he says. “Well, sure, but you have to drink it throughout the process, even before it’s fermented. Then, it’s just sugar water that doesn’t taste very good.”

That process of turning sugar and water into a refreshing drink that you wouldn’t mind kicking back with at the end of a long day is one that intrigues Dr. Parks still today, he says, noting that it’s a complex science rooted in the fundamentals of microbiology.

“It completely blew me away once I got in the brewing lab and saw how much went into making beer and making it good,” he says. “Not to be too dramatic, but this is something that people have been passionate about for thousands of years. It goes back to the very beginning of civilization.”

glass of beer

Now, it’s a process UTA students can learn in the University’s new certificate program in brewing and fermentation science. Through completion of the four courses required for the certificate—“The Science of Brewing,” “Fermentation Science,” “Brewing Lab,” and “Sensory Evaluation, QA/QC, and Product Design”—students will have gained foundational knowledge about the science of fermentation and brewing as well as hands-on and practical experience in a brew lab.

In addition to coursework, the certificate requires a 16-hour internship at a local fermentation or brewing facility. Currently, students will learn at Lakewood Brewing Company, which is based in Garland, Texas, and partnerships with other breweries throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are in the works. At Lakewood, students will gain hands-on experience with equipment at the company’s large brew house and its pilot system.

“Not only will this provide students with the opportunity to get hands-on experience, but it will also help them build relationships with professionals in the industry,” Parks says. “Lakewood has been a prominent leader in the industry for over 10 years, and its brewing research and development process hinges on the blend of art and science, which pairs well with a science-forward program such as ours at UTA.”

Parks, who is heading up the certificate program, is excited about the possibilities not only for UTA students, but also the University as a whole.

“UTA is a hub for Dallas-Fort Worth, and this whole area is growing with microbreweries and craft breweries. They’re popping up everywhere,” he says. “One of the challenges people in the industry are facing is finding people who are well-qualified for this kind of exacting science. If we can produce students who are very good at it, not only will we be putting our graduates in the workforce, but we’re building up our reputation as well.”

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