Statements of Excellence for Admission to Graduate School in Engineering
The Humanitarian Side of Engineering
There are scores and scores of humanitarian jobs out there for engineers like you. Engineering is one of the most useful fields to get into, and its diversity offers you a lot of freedom.
Let’s look at some of the organizations that provide work placements and paid opportunities for engineers.
Engineers Without Borders
There are more than 60 independent Engineers Without Borders organizations out there, and they operate in different ways, but they are united by the belief that engineering can solve problems for people.
Engineers Without Borders UK works with partner organizations and the education sector to allow people to use science, technology and engineering to aid human development. In 2015 at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) UK, a flagship initiative addressing engineering education called the EWB Challenge was endorsed by both the Engineering Council and The Engineering Professor’s Council. They’ve worked in Rwanda, Bangladesh, Peru, the Philippines and Cameroon, and recruit and support graduate and early career engineers to volunteer oversees for between 3 and 12 months, but there are paid positions available too. Have a look at their site at ewb-uk.org.
If you’d like to work with Engineers Without Borders Canada, who also help people in developing countries use technology to improve their lives, check out www.ewb.ca.
Jobs at The United Nations
The United Nations also looks for engineers to work at its different agencies, but you’ll find it easier to get hired by certain agencies that others. For example, the IAEA, or International Atomic Energy Agency hires Nuclear Waste Technology engineers, and Unattended Monitoring Systems engineers. You might alternatively be called upon to work as a weapon inspector in a conflict zone.
UNOSAT is a free satellite mapping service for the humanitarian community that’s produced satellite image analysis for emergency response during 270 natural disasters over the last 10 years. You could join them as a Satellite engineer or an environmental engineer.
UNOPS, or The United Nations Office for Project Services isn’t very well known, but it’s the agency that other UN agencies contact when field operations are necessary. The team there have built roads in El Salvador, shelters in Haiti and schools in Afghanistan, and they hire civil engineers with more than 7 years’ experience.
UN HABITAT is the United Nations Human Settlements Program and promotes socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities. They hire Structural Engineers, Transport Engineers and others to help make cities in the developing world safer, greener and better for people with few resources.
For all the UN job openings an engineering could want to know about, check out unjobfinder.org, where you’ll see all the experience, education and competencies you’ll need to bag the positon.
For example, the Field Missions office was recently looking for an Engineer to analyze and advise on the planning, design, construction and maintenance of major systems and facilities and related structures needed for logistics support of UNAMID with a Master’s degree or equivalent in Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or another related field; a minimum of 7 years in progressively responsible roles in engineering or a related field. Engineering experience in international field/peacekeeping or military operations is highly desired.
So how are you going to gain all these career elements? Starting with a Master’s degree could work nicely. Let’s have a look at some of your options.
Masters Programs for Engineers With Humanitarian Intentions
The M.Sc. in Thermal Energy and Process Engineering at Aalborg University in Denmark focuses primarily on thermal energy technologies and systems, aspects of energy system modelling, heat- and mass transfer, control engineering and experimental work. This program is perfect for anyone passionate about the development of non-fossil fuels and the design of new, innovative energy technologies and systems to produce competitive and efficient solutions for the future.
At just over 12,500 EUR for international students at the time of writing, this 2-year, full-time course will set you up perfectly to later head towards humanitarian work with full force.
The M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, is another similar course aimed at providing you with a state-of-the-art education in solar energy, power generation, energy utilization, turbomachinery and the transformation of energy systems. Graduates of this program have gone into positions in industry, governmental agencies and consultancies, and there’s no reason why this degree couldn’t guide you into work abroad in the developing world.
Tuitions fees for international students are in the realm of 15,000 EUR at the time of writing. You’ll spend 2 years in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, studying Renewable Energy Technology; Airbreathing Propulsion; Applied Refrigeration and Heat Pump Technology; Design of Photovoltaic and Hybrid Systems; Strategies in the Global Climate Agenda; Theory and Methodology of Science for Energy Research; Global Energy Markets and Systems in Transition; plus many more amazing, modern courses.
For a similar program in the USA, what about the M.Sc. in Renewable (Solar) Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell? It offers professional training designed to prepare students to perform state-of-the-art work on energy systems. It costs over 24,000 EUR for international students.
The M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering offered at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA, is a course-work lead program you could study on for just over 38,000 USD a year, if you’re an international student. You’ll have the opportunity to research catalysis, reaction kinetics, complex fluids, microelectronics, microfluidics, bioinformatics, sustainable development, CO2 capture, biomedicine, solar energy, thermodynamics, MEMS, cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, process synthesis and control, modeling, biofuels plus many more subjects.
The M.Sc. in Engineering Technology (Occupational Health and Safety) at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, USA offers thesis and non-thesis options. You can do the M.Sc. in Engineering Technology with concentrations in
Engineering Technology as well as Occupational Health and Safety, which will give you the opportunity to go into a broad range of technical and industrial management positions. You’ll over modules like Current and Future Trends in Engineering and Technology; Safety Technology and Engineering; Anthropometric Factors in Accident Prevention; Advanced Topics in Technology; plus many more subjects that could really help you make engineering more safe in developing countries.
For something a little different, there’s the M. Eng. Chemical and Biological Engineering Master’s program at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado Springs, USA, which was ranked 14th among all graduate programs, 8th among public graduate programs and won research awards nationally.
The ChBe Department you would study at has an active program in renewable energy research, where they look into the production and use of hydrogen, the materials for photovoltaics, biorefining and biofuels research. This 2-year, full-time course also has modules in Chemical and Biological Engineering; Transport Phenomena; Chemical Reaction Engineering, plus many more.
Ready to dive into a Master’s program right away? There are a lot of options, especially in Europe where education is more affordable and the quality is high. Research and dissect every program that interests you, and when you need help writing your personal statement of purpose, shoot us an email. We have a long-standing history writing powerful statements for hundreds of students and engineers just like you.