Built on the success of the Villanova Engineering Service Learning (VESL) program and offered through the Center for Humanitarian Engineering and International Development, the minor in Humanitarian Engineering will support the intellectual development of current Villanova University undergraduates who have an interest in humanitarian initiatives with a global perspective, and will foster collaboration with program partners through the provision of technical services that include engineering design and research related to sustainable development. Open to engineering  students only, the learning objectives associated with this minor include:

  • Understanding the technical and social aspects of poverty alleviation
  • Applying engineering fundamentals to meet the needs of humanitarian organizations
  • Developing skills in community development using participatory methodologies
  • Understanding the relationship between ethical engagement and sustainable development in a global setting

The ultimate goal of this program is to ensure ethnical engagement and impact through collaboration with global partners.


This program requires a total of 18 credits, including:

EGR 2002 - Introduction to Humanitarian Engineering (3-credits)

  • Provides background information about developing communities with a focus on historical issues related to colonization, development theory and poverty alleviation efforts
  • Introduces issues related sustainable development with an emphasis on engineering support, ethical engagement in community development and whole systems thinking
  • Introduces practical skills in community engagement through a series of hands-on mini project activities, designed to provide students with the necessary skills to conduct field work with international partners through the VESL Seminar course

VESL Seminar Series (each 1 credit) - Provides experiential opportunities for students to collaborate with program partners in real-time on projects related to sustainable development, humanitarian technology, and poverty alleviation.

  • EGR 5001 - VESL Project Seminar
  • EGR 5002 - VESL Leadership
  • EGR 5003 - VESL Capstone

Two Technical Electives (3-credits each)**:

  • CEE 4606 Capstone Design 2*
  • CEE 4607 Special Topics in CEE*
  • CHE 5332 Engineering for Sustainable Development
  • CHE 5715 Alternative Energy
  • CHM 1056 Water
  • CHM 4511 Environmental Chemistry
  • ECE 4810 Intro to Electrical Energy Systems
  • ECE 4970 Design Project EE*
  • ECE 4971 Design Project CPE*
  • ECE 5850 Renewable Energy Systems
  • EGR 2001 Eng. Humanistic Context
  • EGR 4000 Undergraduate Research I
  • EGR 7120 Intro to Sus Eng for Intl Dev
  • EGR 7121 Sustainable WASH
  • GEV 1750 Geo-Techniques
  • GEV 3521 GIS for Urban Sustainability
  • GEV 3570 Land Use Planning & Mgmt
  • GEV 3580 Natural Res and Conservation
  • GEV 4332 Water Resources Planning
  • GEV 4517 Sustainable Development
  • ME 5006 Capstone Design II*
  • ME 5130 Intro to Sustainable Energy
  • ME 5140 Design of Gravity Water Networks
  • ME 5000 Special Topics*
  • NUR 3122 Imper for Global & Pub Health
  • NUR 7081 Nutrition and Global Health

Two Professional Electives (3-credits each):

  • ACC 2420 International Accounting
  • COM 3403 Intercultural Communication
  • COM 3447 Globalization, Work, & Organiz
  • CST 2100 Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • ECO 3108 Global Political Economy
  • ECO 3127 Econ Underdeveloped Area
  • ECO 4203 Pol Eco of Development Aid
  • EGR 2930 Catholic Soc. Engineering
  • EGR 7120 Intro to Sus Eng for Intl Dev
  • EGR 7121 Sustainable WASH
  • FSS 1122 Intermediate French II
  • FSS 1134 Business French
  • FFS 1139 Intercultural Comm in French
  • GEV 1002 Geo of a Globalizing World
  • GEV 1005 Geospatial Analysis and Society
  • GEV 3515 Geography of Africa
  • GEV 3525 Geography of Asia
  • MGT 2250 Global Corp Responsibility
  • MGT 2350 Global Business Management
  • MGT 2352 Business in Emerging Markets
  • MGT 2360 Global Leadership
  • MGT 2370 Global Business Ethics
  • PJ 4600 Global Poverty & Justice
  • PSC 1200 International Relations
  • PSC 2210 Globalization
  • PSC 2220 International Law
  • PSC 2240 International Political Economy
  • PSC 2350 African Politics
  • PSC 2360 Latin American Politics
  • PSC 2370 Third World Politics
  • PSC 2390 Indian and South Asian Politics
  • PSC 3230 Development and Aid
  • SPA 1122 Intermediate Spanish II
  • SPA 2993 Community Internship
  • SPA 3200 Intro to Spanish Translation

* “SDURIS (Senior Design, Undergraduate Research, or Independent Study) on a topic relevant to humanitarian engineering may be substituted, with prior approval from the Director of the Humanitarian Engineering minor program.”

Academic Framework and Program Timeline*

After declaring the Humanitarian Engineering minor freshman year, a typical course of study may look like this:

Sophomore Year

  • Fall: Professional Elective
  • Spring: Technical Elective
  • Fall or Spring: Introductory Course EGR 2002
  • Fall or Spring: VESL Seminar EGR 5001

Junior Year

  • Fall: Technical elective
  • Spring: Professional elective
  • Fall or Spring: VESL Leadership Seminar

Senior Year

  • Professional elective
  • Fall or Spring: VESL Capstone  - may also be completed the summer after Junior year

*In some cases students might need to take more than 5-credits during the final year of the program, and in some cases summer programs would supplement the above framework. For example, during any summer, students could complete a VESL field assignment along with a course to accumulate between 1-7 credits.

Updated 2/22/2021


Jordan Ermilio, Director
Center for Humanitarian Engineering and International Development
Phone: (610) 519-6859


Engineering Service Learning

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