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Unit information: Engineering for International Development in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Engineering for International Development
Unit code CENGM0032
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Laura Dickinson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The unit aims (a) to enable students to understand the global issues and wider context that inform development engineering and (b) to equip them to improve the lives of people in developing countries.

Students learn what engineers do to aid human development and evaluate the impact that they have. The specifics of development engineering are taught alongside an exposition of global problems in development. The content is based around five themes of Food, Health, Infrastructure, Inequality and Disaster drawn from the Istanbul Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries (IPALDC).

Lectures will cover the following global development issues and address the role of engineers:

" Water scarcity " Water and sanitation " Appropriate engineering " Engineers, society and environment " Disaster risk reduction

These will be supported by a programme of seminars/workshops which may vary from year to year. Example topics include:

" Business led water supply in developing countries " Community led total sanitation " Technology and information transfer " Cleaning up the dirtiest river in the world " Building wastewater treatment system in refugee camps

The unit places an emphasis on structural and technical problems, with students taking a critical view on issues such as: the role of the UN, IMF and other interest groups; the setting of development targets; data availability, collection and validity; methodologies and evaluation of outcomes. Students are expected to conduct self-directed research on these issues to enhance their learning.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion, successful students should be able to:

1. Explain the complexity of development in developing countries. [B8, C3]

2. Analyse the global issues of food, health, infrastructure, inequality, disaster etc. and their interaction with development. [A4, B8, C3]

3. Identify appropriate engineering solutions to problems, whilst also considering the social, financial, political and environmental implications. [A5-6, B8, C3]

4. Critically evaluate the impact that engineering has had and can have on the lives of people in developing countries. [A7, B2, B8, C4]

5. Propose the directions that will achieve the greatest impact in terms of development, in particular, suggesting a role for the engineer which will best employ their skills-set. [A3, B1, B4, C2]

Teaching details

Lectures, seminars/workshops, independent study

Assessment Details

2 hour exam

Reading and References

1. Black, M., No-nonsense guide to International Development, New Internationalist Publications Ltd, 2007, ISBN 1904456634

2. Black, M., No-nonsense guide to Water, Verso Books, 2004, ISBN 1844675092

3. Schumacher, E.F., Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered, 25 years later &with Commentaries, Hartley and Marks Publishers, 1999, ISBN 0881791695

4. Worldwatch Institute, State of the world 2011: Innovations that nourish the planet, Routledge, 2011, ISBN 1849713529

5. Smtih, C., Design with the other 90 Per Cent: Cities, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 2011, ISBN 0910503834