This week’s feature is the Humanitarian Engineering Minor at Oregon State University, which is part of the Humanitarian Engineering Program. From the website:

Our mission is to cultivate science and engineering-based solutions that provide access to basic human needs, enhance lifequality, and advance the level of community resilience in the local and global community. 

The Humanitarian Engineering program at Oregon State University focuses on: education, service learning models, academic research and local/global research. To hear from our students, check out our blog. Follow our facebook page for the most current information about the program and related opportunities! 

More information about the minor can be found in the catalog.

Two Interesting Courses:


Introduces methods for designing solutions to address needs of low-resource or other vulnerable peoples using tools from engineering and social sciences, and investigates techniques to bring ideas to market sustainably through social entrepreneurship. Multidisciplinary teams will step through the design process, including detailed needs assessment and customer discovery, critique and application of theoretical frameworks, exploration of the diffusion process and relevant system/institutions, prototyping, plans for technical and user experience testing, and considering implementation.

HEST 310, INTRO TO COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND COMMUNITY-BASED DESIGN Includes study of civic problems and issues, design-thinking concepts and application to co-design of engineering, science and technology-based solutions with social impact, and development of dispositions for effective community engagement through field study and service-learning. Recommended course for student wanting to complete a HEST internship.

Five Complementary Majors at Oregon State University

Unique Opportunities Within the Minor

A credit-bearing field study opportunity in Guatemala is offered through a two-course sequence.


An introduction to the technical, social, environmental, and economic issues surrounding energy needs for households in developing countries and the technologies and policies needed to help address them. Students are introduced to concepts about global development, needs assessment and co-design, qualitative and quantitative evaluation, and local socioeconomic conditions. This course is preparation for the 10-day Summer HEST 242 faculty-led study abroad course in Guatemala. Students from any major are invited to participate in this multidisciplinary course series.


Through immersion in rural communities during this 10-day interdisciplinary study abroad course, students will gain a deeper understanding of household energy needs in developing countries, as well as the social, environmental, technical, and economic issues surrounding technologies and polices to help meet these needs. The outcomes produced by a variety of household technologies such as biomass cookstoves will be evaluated through qualitative and quantitative data gathering, including experiments, observations, and surveys, giving students the chance to practice their research and cross-cultural communication skills under a variety of circumstances.

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