NZ’s first graduates in Global Humanitarian Engineering

Saving the planet, being the change and making a difference, all at the same time, just ain’t that easy. This might be the degree you need to get started.

No, it’s not a Bachelor of Marvel Super Heroes. It’s called Global Humanitarian Engineering, and comes in the form of a Diploma attached to the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours course at the University of Canterbury.

The novel diploma study links Arts courses in the humanities and social sciences with engineering fieldwork that is both practical and helpful.

Students do practical work on community-identified engineering issues and projects as an integral part of the course. These projects can range from water supply to a community to assisting in disaster relief areas or developing solutions for healthcare problems. It’s the only course like it in Australasia.

Read more about the Diploma in Global Humanitarian Engineering

It takes hard study to get into this super hero programme

And all this planet saving is not for the feint of heart when the books come out. Ideally you should have 14-18 credits in L3 maths and physics (and chemistry for some engineering majors) to get into the Engineering pathway. Then you need to be up for the honours programme.

The Diploma in Global Humanitarian Engineering is intended to produce graduates who can demonstrate knowledge and skills beyond their specialist engineering discipline. By showing they can work or apply their skills to different areas and to humanitarian efforts, these grads will open themselves up to a much wider range of opportunities, nationally and internationally, than their standard engineering peers.

First graduates keen to use skills and qualifications for good

In the first graduation ceremony for the new programme, Quinn Hornblow received his BE(Hons) degree in Natural Resources Engineering, as well as his DipGlobalHumanEng.

Read Quinn’s engineering story

While studying Natural Resources Engineering, Quinn took on the Diploma, which allowed him to shape his studies around international human welfare efforts. Quinn was able to put his skills into action with a study trip to Nepal during his second year.

“We joined a group of Australian students for a series of in-country workshops and language lessons then got the chance to travel to some pretty remote villages to learn about their way of life,” he says.

“It was such an eye-opening experience to see first-hand how foreign aid influences these places. It has given me an appreciation for the importance of community consultation, not just overseas but on local projects here in New Zealand too.”

Another new graduate of the programme is Stanley Sarkies who combined mathematics, environmental science and social studies into his degree and diploma with an eye on finding creative and sustainable uses of our natural resources. Read Stanley’s story.

MORE: interested in Engineering? Find a course to get you started