I have searched through the many threads about the different brewing schools available, and have some great generalized information about most of the schools in existence! Unfortunately, I am seeking a more in depth look at two schools in particular:
1) UC Davis, Master Brewers Program
2) Heriot-Watt University, MSc Brewing and Distilling
What is the best way to decide between these programs?
Can anyone who has attended either of these programs give a small description of your life as a student at one of these programs?
A little background on myself may be of help:
I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. I am currently working in a pilot plant doing process development work. I am a huge beer enthusiast and got my start homebrewing 2 years ago. My goals are to get a job at a craft brewery to gain experience and eventually move on to starting my own someday.
Personally I went with Heriot-Watt, and learned a lot over the last year. Plus you get to live in Scotland . But I don't think there is any perfect way to decide, really.
I know that both of these schools are great! What you should consider is that you already have a great education, and that getting a masters is not required. I was making this same choice in 1993. I made an error in judgement, and it cost me tens of thousands of dollars. I funded my own education, and asked two friends if they would start a brewpub with me when I returned. Of course they were all for the idea while I was spending my money, but backed out as soon as I returned.
I wish I had worked first, and then started a business with the money I had at the time. I should have used the capital of the new business(especially if you have investors) to fund my education. This is what one of my classmates at Siebel did. Oh I am now starting a brewery with a partner I trust, and its 15 years later. My classmate had his brewery running in less than a year after he graduated.
With an Engineering degree what you learn will be based on your effort much more than your choice of school. I love brewing and don't regrete making this my career, but how you approach the beer business makes a big difference.
Not quite what you requested, but have you considered the American Brewers Guild distance education course? I was able to complete it while working full time and found it met my needs; there are quite a few other alumni here also. If you can afford the time and money for a residential course, that will probably be better; otherwise the ABG is an excellent alternative.