Humanitarian Engineering

Humanitarian Engineering is the application of engineering to meet the needs of communities and in particular focusses on appropriateness and sustainability. It covers a spectrum of activities from disaster response and preparedness to long-term sustainable community development, within Australia and overseas. It is a complementary skill to existing engineering disciplines. Humanitarian engineers analyse and design infrastructure and appropriate technology to support the well-being and welfare of individuals and communities in disadvantaged circumstances. This includes developing countries as well as marginalised or remote communities in Australia.

Humanitarian Engineering is now being offered as a discipline for study within Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering programs at UNSW. If you are interested in Humanitarian Engineering, you can now incorporate this in your Bachelor of Renewable Energy (Honours) or Bachelor of Photovoltaics and Solar Energy (Honours) programs by studying 24 Units of Credit composed from:

    • for PV and Solar Energy (SOLAA3707) students this must be taken as a Discipline Elective
    • for Renewable Energy (SOLABH3707) students, this must be taken as a course substitute for one of SOLA3010/SOLA2052/SOLA2053 or SOLA5057
  • One other professional elective in Humanitarian Engineering. Approved professional electives for Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering students are:

Note: Program length of BE (hon.) PV, RE and Science/Law/Commerce/Arts double degrees with Humanitarian Engineering minor will increase by up to 18 UOC.


Students may also like to pursue an Honours Research project related to Humanitarian Engineering and select other General Education courses to further support their interest in Humanitarian Engineering. There are a number of courses across UNSW that are available to students as General Education courses. Examples of such courses are provided below.

ARTS2248 Disaster and Society

ARTS2751 International Development

ARTS2752 Local Politics of Development

ATSI2015 The Science of Indigenous Knowledge

ATSI3003 Indigenous culture and environment

COMM1000 Creating Social Change: From Innovation to Impact

EDST2070 Culture, Identity and Education

GENC2100 Global Finance

HUMS1004 Thinking through Disability: People, Policy and Practices