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We are aiming for an incremental return to campus in accordance with guidelines provided by NSW Health and the Australian Government. Until this time, learning activities and assessments will be planned and scheduled for online delivery where possible, and unit-specific details about face-to-face teaching will be provided on Canvas as the opportunities for face-to-face learning become clear.

Unit of study_

CIVL9310: Humanitarian Engineering

Humanitarian Engineering is the application of Engineering design and organisation to improve quality of life, in circumstances where severe conditions of life are preventing the community from achieving those outcomes themselves. It can be anything from large scale infrastructure which benefits provinces to small scale innovations which benefit single families. It can be regarded as developmental aid or as disaster relief. In this unit students will study the world humanitarian sphere and its major and minor players. Students will be expected to critically analyse many of the notions which underpin humanitarian aid by use of various case studies and with reference to scholarly research. The subject will include both historical and contemporary study of engineering application in developmental aid delivered through governments, organisations and individuals. Various humanitarian theories will be studied and applied to specific cases, as well as methods of measuring success. This unit will be first offered in 2017. As well as being a requirement for the Humanitarian major, it is also available to all Civil students as a 3rd year Civil elective and to students from other disciplines as a free elective.


Academic unit Civil Engineering
Unit code CIVL9310
Unit name Humanitarian Engineering
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Jacquie Thomas,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Final exam
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Participation Tutorial participation
10% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Presentation Individual presentation on SDGs
10% Week 03 3 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Assignment Interview report
15% Week 03 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Assignment group assignment Disaster planning refugee camp model
10% Week 10 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Disaster planning refugee camp report
10% Week 10 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Decentralized technologies report
15% Week 12 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
group assignment = group assignment ?
  • Individual presentation: Individually present on a chosen sustainable development goal, its importance and the role of engineers. The individual performance will be marked by grading by peers.
  • Tutorial participation: Preparation, engagement and participation in the tutorial will be assessedeach week over the semester.
  • Interview report: Individually, students will conduct a structured interview with a person who has lived in a developing country. That can either be from birth or during work. The interview will draw out the positives and negatives as well as the role of engineering and IT in development.
  • Disaster planning refugee camp report: In assigned intra-discipline engineering groups of three people, the team is to use the Sphere Handbook standards to design a refugee camp for a given scenario. The team will present their design in the as a joint report.
  • Disaster planning refugee camp model: In the same teams, students will use the Sphere Handbook standards to design a refugee camp for a given scenario. The team will then use a model to present their design in the tutorials as a presentation.
  • Decentralised technologies report: Individually students will research decentralized technologies and select a technology that will beneficial to remote communities. Students will then present their chosen technology during the tutorials as well as handing in a brief report.
  • Final exam: During exams students will sit a closed book exam which will assess the knowledge of the concepts that were taught (including guest seminar content). The questions will be mix of multiple choice, short and long answer.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. explain the professional roles and ethical considerations of engineers working in the context of humanitarian engineering (developing countries, disasters and remote areas)
  • LO2. work in a small team with different engineering disciplines to solve an engineering challenge
  • LO3. use analytical and evaluation skills to present the theoretical and practical considerations for project success and failure in humanitarian engineering.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Information will be diseminated in the first lecture.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.