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Requirements and Resources

The Humanitarian Engineering and Computing minor is designed to graduate engineering and computing majors who are globally-aware, culturally-sensitive, and socially conscious, and who would use their knowledge to design solutions that enhance the lives of and opportunities for people on a local, national, or international level. Students will select coursework supporting their interests from four broad categories, engage in a service/humanitarian focused activity or research, and complete a humanitarian-focused capstone project in CPB, CSE, ECE or MME.

Independent Study Projects

Independent Studies projects can be service or research type. To meet the requirement for the minor, a project must:

  • Be pre-approved by the Humanitarian Engineering and Computing Steering Committee (See the Humanitarian Engineering and Computing FAQ for approval process)
  • Have a service or humanitarian focus
  • Be supervised by an instructor
  • Earn a minimum of two credit hours as an approved Independent Study course.

Service or Humanitarian Focused Project

The service or humanitarian focused project must meet all the same requirements listed above including being pre-approved by the HE&C steering committee. Some opportunities for projects include (but are not limited to): a service or humanitarian focused project with the Center for Social Entrepreneurship; a Grand Challenge Scholars project with a service or humanitarian focus; a project with the Over-the-Rhine DsignBuild Studio.

Students may also fill the requirement by participating in an Engineers Without Borders (EWB) club sponsored project. EWB's recent project included building a reservoir for water in Rwanda, Africa for the Munini Primary School. EWB also helps promote sustainability within the local community. Check out the Engineers Without Borders website for more information.

Research Projects

The following activities are examples of current research projects. Students are encourage to contact faculty members leading the research.

Research Project through Miami University Center for Assistive Technology (MUCAT)

The Miami University Center for Assistive Technology is an interdisciplinary center working with Scripps Gerontology Center as well as the Center for Social Entrepreneurship in the Farmer School of Business. Research projects within the center are focused on socially relevant problems and development of engineering solutions. For more information about how to get involved, visit the  MUCAT website.

Some examples of current projects are:

  • Detecting risk of falls in elderly (a collaboration between MME and Scripps)
  • (Re) Design of a cane for walking (an undergraduate research project)
  • Design of a controller for surgical tools (a collaboration with industry)
  • Augmented reality tools for people with color blindness (a computing and engineering project)
  • Energy harvesting for cardiac pacemakers (a collaboration with Technical University of Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
  • Advanced material design for bio-implants (a collaboration with industry)
  • Tissue engineering for wounded soldiers (a biomedical engineering application)

Research Project with a Faculty Member

Students can work on a project that has a humanitarian or service focus with a faculty member. There are various projects throughout the departments of the College of Engineering and Computing that could be approved by the HE&C committee.


  • 3D Scaffolds for Bone and Cartilage Engineering
  • Development of a Water Purification System Prepared from Renewable Keratin Sources
  • 3D Printing of Hydrogel Materials with Bio-mimetic Properties
  • Quantum Dots and Phenylboronic Acid for Glucose Sensor


  • Color vision research (assistive devices for colorblind people)
  • Forecasting the spread of epidemics, like the Zika epidemic.
  • Miami-Illinois Language: User Extensible Dictionary
  • Wound-care training project ( augmented reality is used to improve the realism of the simulation)


  • Solar light simulator for photovoltaic based power electronics test fixture
  • Wide bandgap based power electronics for electrified transportation
  • High voltage DC power distribution system for fusion energy reactor
  • Benign human behavior and its impact on energy consumption and energy policy


  • Design and implementation of cycle for developmental disabilities
  • Redesign of pediatric sippy cup
  • Design of a game system to support cerebral palsy research
  • Design of a virtual reality game system for haptics research

Study Abroad/Away

Participating in an approved study abroad / study away program with a service component is another way to earn the minimum two credit hours required for the service-learning portion of the minor. Some of the past study abroad / study away trips that would count include:

Young Rwandan boy wearing an oversize Miami shirt at the Engineers Without Borders project at his school.

  • Business, Sociology, Service Learning and Indian Culture Studies
  • Design/Build in Ghana
  • Education in a Cross-Cultural Setting: non-credit program
  • Engaging Native American Youth: Shawnee Culture Camp (credit program canceled for 2015)
  • Globalization, Culture and Aging in Thailand
  • Health Care Service Learning In Central America: Belize
  • Integrating Spanish and Health
  • Computing in Italy
  • Lespa 4 Haiti (2013)
  • Over the Rhine Residency Program
  • Social Entrepreneur Corps
  • Technology and Language in Belize

Senior Capstone Project

All students in the College of Engineering and Computing take a capstone course in their major. Students completing the HE&C minor must complete a capstone that is pre-approved or designated as counting towards the HE&C minor. Some examples of past capstone projects that would qualify are:

Students working on a Senior Capstone Project 

Computer Science and Software Engineering

  • Eye-tracking HFOSS project; allows people with movement impairments to control computer mouse by eye movement.
  • Campus navigation app (intended to be accessible to the blind)

Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Smart Grid Model Emulation
  • Automatic Analysis of Electrocardiogram
  • Solar-Powered Battery Charger
  • Capacitive Deionization Water Purifier

Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering

  • Water Sanitation
  • May We Help – Trampoline harness for therapy of physically disabled child
  • Moringa Protein Sand Filter for Water Purification

Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

  • Braille Reader
  • Pediatric Robotics
  • Wheel Chair Design
  • Polymer for Implants

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sign up for the Humanitarian Engineering & Computing (HE&C) minor?

To declare the minor contact the HE&C advisor in your major department for his/her signature, and submit the form to the Dean's office.

Who is my HE&C faculty advisor?

Would any project be appropriate for my Senior Capstone?

No, the capstone must be approved by the HE&C committee. See the list of previous HE&C capstones that would fulfill this requirement.

I don't know if I should use my minor in place of my thematic sequence, who should I talk to?

Set up an appointment and talk with your HE&C advisor. They can help you decide what works for you.

How do I know if a class is a service-learning course?

When looking for classes to add in BannerWeb, there is an option to search for classes based on an Attribute Type. Find service learning and make sure it is selected. All courses that will appear should have the service learning attribute designation.

How do I get approval of service or humanitarian-focused projects or courses?

The Steering Committee is responsible for pre-approval of the following courses or activities to meet the requirements of the minor.

  • Study Abroad course with a Service component
  • Independent Study course (with a humanitarian or service focus)
  • Project for capstone courses

For approval of one of these items/activities, a student must request and complete a petition that can be obtained from the H E&C Advisor in your department. Your advisor will assist with any questions and bring the petition to the Steering Committee for review.

How many extra credits do I have to take to get the minor?

The number of credits required for the minor is 18 hours; however, several hours can count for both your major and the Miami Plan.

Can I major in Humanitarian Engineering & Computing?

No, there is only a humanitarian engineering & computing minor at Miami.

Does the senior capstone requirement count for my major?

Yes, the senior capstone requirement counts for both your major and minor.

The College of Engineering and Computing