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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5595M Engineering in Emergencies - MEng

15 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Professor Barbara Evans

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

CIVE5596MEngineering in Emergencies - MSc

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module is about engineering responses to complex emergencies. The module has a particular focus on appropriate engineering interventions to provide minimum sanitary services and water but will also cover the interaction between engineering, medical services, security and food provision. It will examine the international context within which complex-emergency response is organised and also explore the transition from emergency response to development with a particular focus on post-conflict situations.


On completion of this module, students should be able to ...

This module aims to enable students to participate effectively as part of a team in a complex emergency such as a natural disaster or major refugee movement. It aims to equip students with state-of-the-art information and knowledge relating to the effective provision of water and sanitation in emergency contexts. It will provide students with an understanding of the global context of emergencies and conflicts, the international institutional response and the standards and protocols that govern interventions in emergency settings.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the module students will:

1. Understand the nature, prevalence and significance of emergencies, complex emergencies and conflicts globally;
2. Be able to assess the public-health dimensions of emergencies and identify critical interventions to minimise the risk of a critical environmental or public-health incident;
3. Have knowledge of the international institutional framework for emergency response;
4. Be aware of the international standards and protocols relating to shelter, water and sanitation in emergency situations and be able to interpret these in terms of practical interventions on the ground;
5. Have knowledge of a range of successful infrastructure and management approaches which can be used to deliver shelter, safe water and sanitation in emergencies;
6. Be able to monitor and evaluation emergency responses in terms of their effectiveness in optimising public health outcomes;
7. Have an awareness of state-of-the-art knowledge and knowledge sources relating to emergencies, post-conflict situations and the emergency-development transition.


Definition of emergencies, complex emergencies, conflict and post-conflict scenarios; global prevalence of emergencies/complex emergencies; typical conditions in emergency situations; assessing the public health risks associated with emergencies; the international institutional framework for emergency responses; international standards and protocols for emergency responses (the SPHERE guidelines); Effective delivery approaches for water and sanitation in emergencies; monitoring and evaluation of emergency responses; references and resources in emergencies; coordinating with other sectors (health, education, shelter, security); best practice and innovation in humanitarian aid.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning12.002.00
Group learning15.005.00
Private study hours111.50
Total Contact hours38.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The assignment for this course is to assess a case study of a real-life emergency situation and design and appropriate engineering response. The assignment will be carried out in two parts, the first part in a group to facilitate group work and collective decision making, and the second part as an individual producing a report and set of recommendations. This will require extensive critical background reading on the specific case study as well as the general technical literature.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group ProjectAnalysis of needs in a complex emergency20.00
ProjectDesign of a water, sanitation and hygiene intervention for a complex emergency80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resubmission of Design of a water, sanitation and hygiene intervention for a complex emergency (100%)

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:52:56


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