Learn the ins and outs of ice cream manufacturing as knowledgeable instructors take you from "Cow to Cone" at the annual Penn State Ice Cream Short Course.

Who Should Attend

The program instructs professionals in the nuances of commercial ice cream manufacture. It is taught for a diverse audience, including personnel from:

  • production and quality control
  • research and development
  • companies providing goods and services to the ice cream industry
  • sales and general management of large and small manufacturing companies

Each year about 120 students from all over the world attend the program. In its 128th-year history, the course has attracted more than 4,400 participants from every state in the nation and every continent except Antarctica.

The student roster reads like a Who's Who of ice cream. Representatives from mom-and-pop operations, as well as industry leaders, have traveled to University Park to learn the secrets of ice cream making. Participants represent Baskin-Robbins, Ben and Jerry's, Blue Bell Creamery, Borden, Colombo, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Friendly, Good Humor/Breyers, Haagen-Dazs, Hershey, HP Hood, International Dairy Queen, Mars, Inc., Nestle, Sealtest, Schrafft, Wells, and other well-known ice cream manufactures.


This 7 day course is offered annually in January.

At this year's short course, students will attend more than 20 workshops on specialized areas of ice cream technology including flavoring, refrigeration, freezing and hardening techniques, and the manufacture of frozen yogurt and novelty frozen desserts.

The Berkey Creamery serves as a laboratory for research. Students should be prepared to study and review materials outside of class an optional closed-book examination follows the morning class session on the last day.

Certificates will be awarded after the exam and class awards will be presented at the evening banquet.

History of the Course

Penn State's Ice Cream Short Course is the oldest, best-known, and largest educational program dealing with the science and technology of ice cream. It also is believed to be the first continuing education course in the United States.

Beginning in 1892, when Penn State was known as The Pennsylvania State College, the School of Agriculture offered a class in dairy manufacturing during winter, "when farm work is least pressing and the boys can best be spared." Tuition was free and students were charged $5 in incidental expenses and laboratory fees.

By 1925, ice cream had become so popular that a separate course devoted exclusively to the subject was established. Today, the College of Agricultural Sciences still offers the course in January, which is normally the slowest time for the ice cream industry. The Department of Food Science sponsors this program.

Just about every major ice cream company in the world has a Penn State connection, whether it is someone on the staff who has attended the short course or who is a Penn State graduate.


In 128 years, the short course has had only a handful of directors. Dr. Chester Dahle took charge of the course in 1924. He was succeeded by Dr. Philip Keeney, who taught more than 1,800 people the art of making superior ice cream for over 30 years.

When he retired in 1985, Dr. Arun Kilara assumed leadership until 1999. Dr. Robert Roberts took charge of the course in 1999 and continues to provide leadership into the 21st century.

Program Director

Robert F. Roberts

Robert F. Roberts, Professor and Head of Food Science

Ice Cream Short Course

When January 7, 2024 to January 13, 2024
Where The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, University Park

Contact Us


Conferences and Short Course Office
301B Ag Administration Building

University Park, PA 16802

Contact Us


Conferences and Short Course Office
301B Ag Administration Building

University Park, PA 16802