Online, Summer, Session D, 1 credit hour

Instructor: Evan Thomas

Course Description

A true understanding of global engineering requires students to engage in a significant field-based experience in low- or middle-income context.  The Global Development Practicum meets this objective and is an important component of the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering & Resilience program, so it is required of all Mortenson Center Professional Master's and Graduate Certificate students.  The practicum provides students with an opportunity to synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired in Mortenson Center coursework and other learning experiences, and to apply theory and principles in a situation that approximates some aspect of professional practice in engineering and international development.

Learning Goals

  1. Understand the meaning and importance of global engineering practice.
  2. Understand the purpose of field methods including community-based needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation, and household surveys.
  3. Understand and observe common elements among planning models and be able to develop a plan for an engineering intervention addressing a global issue, e.g. water supply, housing, energy
  4. Understand major implementation issues, common barriers to implementation, and strategies for minimizing barriers to implementation.
  5. Identify and observe strategies for scaling up and sustaining engineering solutions.
  6. Apply planning, monitoring and evaluation skills to real-world problem solving.
  7. Enhance practice skills of leadership, effective teamwork, and the mastery of competencies in global engineering.

Textbooks and Materials

There is no required text. Readings will consist of textbook chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles and reports. All required readings will be provided. 

Method of Instruction 

Students will work on one of the Mortenson Center ongoing research projects under the supervision of a global development professional. Students are matched with a project according to their topic of interest including water, sanitation, public health, transportation infrastructure and more. The practicum will be conducted remotely. Students will conduct activities described in the practicum Scope of Work and will meet with their supervisors on Zoom to report progress.


Deliverables (50% of final grade): students will conduct all the tasks assigned by the supervisor and will submit all the related deliverables.

Final report (50% of final grade): students will submit a final report describing their practicum activities and including reflections about the experience. Details about the expected content and format will be provided.

Late Policy

The grade for late assignments will be reduced by 5 percentage points (on a 100-point scale) per day that the assignment is late. We may agree to make exceptions to this policy on a very limited basis, provided that the reason is very compelling and provided that you ask in advance.

Extra Credit (TBD points)

Extra credit assignments are not anticipated but may arise as the course progresses. 


There will be no exams in this course. 

Grading Scheme

At the end of the term, the scores on all assignments are weighted by the percentages given above to determine a course score. Student grades will be determined as follows based on their course score rounded to the nearest single decimal place:


A: 100.0 to 93.0 percent

A-: 92.9 to 90.0 percent

B+: 89.9 to 87.0 percent

B: 86.9 to 83.0 percent

B-: 82.9 to 80.0 percent

C+: 79.9 to 77.0 percent

B: 76.9 to 73.0 percent

C-: 72.9 to 70.0 percent

D+: 69.9 to 67.0 percent

B: 66.9 to 63.0 percent

D-: 62.9 to 60.0 percent

F: 60.0 to 0 percent