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What is Humanitarian Engineering?

‘Humanitarian Engineering’ is defined as the use of science and engineering to invent, create, design, develop, or improve technologies which promote the well-being of communities which are facing grand humanitarian challenges (fast growing populations, poor, disaster-hit, marginalised, or under-served communities).

The postgraduate course in Humanitarian Engineering is an interdisciplinary innovative educational programme for Humanitarian Engineers which promotes appropriate, sustainable, and holistic solutions to global challenges by integrating science into a broader practical scheme. This unique and cutting-edge programme will enable you to tackle global problems (energy, water, natural disasters, humanitarian logistics, conflict and wars, global health, mixed in with overpopulation, poverty and underinvestment in low-income countries) in an interdisciplinary way and equip them to address causes, consider preventative approaches, and implement suitable responses.

It is a flexible programme that provides students with an academically rigorous postgraduate level interdisciplinary training in the fields of Humanitarian Engineering, spanning from international development to humanitarianism and disaster emergencies. It involves a strong practical component with exposure to the ‘real world’ of organisations and practitioners and experience that boosts employability.

Who is it for?

The course is - by its nature - not a ‘just for Engineers’ course, instead it is for people with background in any of the following subjects: Science (e.g. Chemistry, Physics), Social Sciences (e.g. History, Politics, Sociology), Law, Health, Management, Business and Economics as well as Engineering.

The programme spans a broad range of disciplines and is ideal for students who are looking to explore all the professional and disciplinary facets of humanitarian challenges.

What will you study?

The course develops enterprising, outward-looking graduates who are both equipped to meet society’s newest and pressing challenges, and employers' demands for advanced skills and knowledge, while translating these skills into your chosen arena. Different stakeholders, beneficiaries and users (e.g. industry, policy-makers, and local communities) are involved in the programme, so that knowledge is orientated towards real world problems and challenges.

Those of you who are less tied to the bounded nature of a particular discipline are able to develop and seek learning between, beyond and across disciplines. The programme brings together an exciting group of European and International students with a diversity of academic and professional backgrounds who establish an international alumni network involved in humanitarian engineering research and practice.

At the point of application, you will choose one of three variants. Each variant offers different core and optional modules tailored to one of three pathways: general Humanitarian Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering with Sustainability, and Humanitarian Engineering with Management.

If you are having keen interest in Engineering might wish to pursue the MSc in Humanitarian Engineering with Sustainability, which focuses on renewable energy, and sustainable cities, operations, and infrastructures.

If you wish to pursue Business-related issues might prefer the MSc in Humanitarian Engineering with Management, which offers opportunities to explore project management, communication and leadership, and management of sustainable supply chains.

Course Structure

Core Modules:

  • Ethics, Theory and Practices (15 credits)
  • Humanitarian Engineering: Ethics, Theory and Practices (15 credits)
  • An introduction to Global Health (15 credits)
  • Water and Environmental Management (15 credits)
  • One Humanity; Shared Responsibility (15 credits)
  • Disasters, Resilience and Urban Data (15 credits)
  • Renewable Energy (15 credits)
  • Project (45 credits)

Optional Modules

Your choice of optional modules will help you to further tailor the programme to your interests. 

Optional core module:

  • Humanitarian Law (15 credits)

List A:

  • Sustainable Cities and Infrastructures for Emergencies (15 credits)
  • Sustainable Operations and Humanitarian Supply Management (15 credits)

List B:

  • Communication and Leadership (15 credits)
  • Design for Sustainability (15 credits)
  • Project Management (15 credits)

For a PgD (120 credits), students must take all core modules for 90 credits, and any combination of optional modules for 30 credits (excluding List B modules). The project will not be undertaken in such cases.

For a PgC (60 credits) the student must take any combination of core modules for 60 credits or any combination of core and optional modules for at least 30 credits of core modules and a maximum of 30 credits of optional modules (excluding List B modules).

* The modules mentioned above may be subject to change. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.


Each module will run intensively over one week and will be taught by a variety of methods: seminar, lecture, field research.


The core modules are assessed in a variety of ways: essay, poster, presentation, student-devised assessment.

Career Opportunities

Graduate Destinations: 

Graduates of this programme will work across a broad range of areas. Students are expected to come from a broad array of international and professional backgrounds and go on after graduation into a wide variety of professional positions. Many Humanitarian Engineering graduates will work with the governments of developing countries managing the development process (e.g. central banks, ministries of finance, rural development, and education). Others will go on to multilateral development institutions like the World Bank, the IMF, or the United Nations; others to NGO Leaders of all sizes and descriptions; and still others will go on to work in the private sector, in jobs as diverse as professional services, manufacturing, and investment banking, to name just a few. Some students may decide to pursue PhD studies.

Work Experience Opportunities: 

During the programme, students will have the opportunity to get involved in projects managed by organisations and professional services in developing and transitional countries.

Visit the Humanitarian Engineering - MSc, PGCert, PGDip, PGA page on the University of Warwick website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Warwick

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