Development Engineering

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering is an interdisciplinary training program for UC Berkeley doctoral students whose dissertation research includes topics related to the application of technology to address the needs of people living in poverty. Through coursework, research mentoring, and professional development, the program prepares students to develop, pilot, and evaluate technological interventions designed to improve human and economic development within complex, low-resource settings. The DE serves students across engineering disciplines, quantitative social science disciplines (including public health), business programs, information sciences, and natural sciences.

The program builds upon ongoing research in technological innovations, human-centered design, development economics, remote sensing and monitoring, data science, and impact analysis at UC Berkeley. The program is overseen by the Graduate Group in Development Engineering, administered by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and affiliated with: 

This constellation of affiliates—through DIL—is a cornerstone partner in USAID’s Global Development Lab. As such, development engineering students are connected to an ecosystem of researchers and practitioners at Berkeley and also have access to a dynamic global network. To review the development engineering research projects sponsored by DIL, we encourage you to explore the DIL Technology Portfolio.  

Visit Program Website

Admissions

To be admitted to the Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering, an applicant must already be accepted into a PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley. Before applying for the DE, interested PhD students should arrange a consultation meeting with the development engineering graduate student affairs officer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as one of the development engineering faculty advisers. Students must apply at least one semester before their PhD qualifying examination. Admission to the Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering is determined by the development engineering faculty advisers on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

After the initial consultation meeting, a student must submit an application in hard copy to the development engineering graduate student affairs officer (GSAO) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 750 Davis Hall, and then submit the application by email to the GSAO, development engineering faculty adviser (who advised the student prior to student’s application), and to the development engineering chair. The application must contain:

  1. Petition for Admission to the Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering.
  2. Letter of intent summarizing research interests and educational or employment background in issues related to development economics or development engineering.
  3. A list of courses, if any, taken from the required and designated course list and a timeline when the rest will be taken.
  4. Letter of recommendation from a member of the development engineering faculty graduate group or the student’s graduate adviser.
  5. Graduate Petition for Change of Major or Degree Goal (to indicate your interest in adding the designated emphasis).

For further information regarding admission to graduate programs at UC Berkeley, please see the Graduate Division's Admissions website.

Designated Emphasis Requirements

Coursework/Curriculum

The Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering requires a total of five courses, comprised of two core courses and three electives. Electives must be selected from the areas listed below: 1) Problem Identification and Project Design, 2) Evaluation Techniques and Methods for Measuring Social Impact, and 3) Development Technologies. The three electives must span at least two areas.  Only one course can be from the student's home department. All course work should be taken for a letter grade.  See program website for more information.

Required Courses
DEV ENG C200Design, Evaluate, and Scale Development Technologies3
DEV ENG 210Development Engineering Research and Practice Seminar2

Development Engineering Electives:  Three electives from at least two of the thematic modules.
 

Problem Identification and Project Design
CIV ENG 209Design for Sustainable Communities3
DEVP 225Innovation, Product Development, and Marketing3
DEVP C232Foundations of Public Health2
INFO 213User Interface Design and Development4
INFO 214Needs and Usability Assessment3
INFO 272Qualitative Research Methods for Information Systems and Management3
INFO C283Course Not Available3
INFO 287Information and Communications Technologies for Social Enterprise3
MBA 215Business Strategies for Emerging Markets: Management, Investment, and Opportunities3
MEC ENG 290HGreen Product Development: Design for Sustainability3
MEC ENG 290PNew Product Development: Design Theory and Methods3
PB HLTH 290Health Issues Seminars (Designing Innovative Pubic Health Solutions)3
Evaluation Techniques and Methods for Measuring Social Impact
DEV ENG 290Advanced Special Topics in Development Engineering1-3
DEVP 228Strategic Planning and Project Management3
ECON 219BApplications of Psychology and Economics3
ECON 240AEconometrics5
ECON 240BEconometrics4
ECON C270AMicroeconomics of Development3
ECON 270BDevelopment Economics3
ECON 274Global Poverty and Impact Evaluation4
ENE,RES 273Research Methods in Social Sciences3
ENE,RES 275Water and Development4
INFO 272Qualitative Research Methods for Information Systems and Management3
MBA 292SSocial Sector Solutions: Social Enterprise3
MBA 296Special Topics in Business Administration (Applied Impact Evaluation: How to Learn What Works to Lower Global Poverty)1-3
PB HLTH 235Impact Evaluation for Health Professionals3
PB HLTH 252CIntervention Trial Design3
PUB POL C253International Economic Development Policy3
Development Technologies (Appropriate Technologies, Sensors, Data Collection, Data Mining and Analysis)
BIO ENG 168LPractical Light Microscopy3
CIV ENG 210ACourse Not Available3
CIV ENG 271Sensors and Signal Interpretation3
CIV ENG 290Advanced Special Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Control Market and Privacy Tools for Participatory Sensing)1-3
INFO 271BQuantitative Research Methods for Information Systems and Management3
COMPSCI 289AIntroduction to Machine Learning4
COMPSCI 294Special Topics (Behavioral Data Mining)1-4
ECON 291/ENGIN 298BDepartmental Seminar (Behavior Management and Change)1
ENE,RES C200Energy and Society4
ENE,RES C221Climate, Energy and Development3
ENE,RES C271Energy and Development3

Qualifying Examination

All students must apply and be accepted to the Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering at least one semester before their qualifying examination.  At least one faculty member of development engineering must participate in the qualifying examination committee and will evaluate the exam from relevant perspectives. Satisfactory performance on the qualifying examination for the PhD will be judged according to the established rules in the student’s home department. 

If  none of the faculty advisers/committee members on your qualifying exam or dissertation are in the Graduate Group in Development Engineering, consider encouraging one of them to apply for membership in the Graduate Group in Development Engineering. The faculty should contact the faculty chair (see Contact Information tab on right sidebar). 

Dissertation

The dissertation must contain themes relevant to the field of Development Engineering (e.g., technology for economic and social development). The student’s dissertation committee must include at least one faculty in development engineering who can evaluate the dissertation from relevant perspectives.

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Alice M. Agogino, Professor. New product development, computer-aided design & databases, theory & methods, intelligent learning systems, information retrieval & data mining, digital libraries, multiobjective & strategic product, nonlinear optimization, probabilistic modeling, supervisory.
Research Profile

Eric Brewer, Professor. Operating Systems & Networking (OSNT); Energy (ENE); Security (SEC); Developing regions; Programming languages.
Research Profile

Jenna Burrell, Associate Professor.

John Canny, Professor. Computer science, activity-based computing, livenotes, mechatronic devices, flexonics.
Research Profile

Jack Colford, Professor. Public health, epidemiology, infectious diseases, biostatistics, meta-analysis.
Research Profile

Ashok Gadgil, Professor. Fuel-efficient stoves, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, developing countries, drinking water, buildings energy efficiency.
Research Profile

Paul Gertler, Professor. Impact evaluation, health economics.
Research Profile

Maria Paz Gutierrez, Associate Professor. Next-generation building systems, self-regulated facades, biologically inspired technologies, multifunctional materials.
Research Profile

Daniel Kammen, Professor. Climate Change, Engineering, Environment, Energy, Renewable and Clean Energy, Energy Forecasting, Health and Environment, International R&D Policy, Race and Gender, Rural Resource Management.
Research Profile

David Levine, Professor. Organizational learning, economic development, management, workplace, health and education in poor nations.
Research Profile

Kara L. Nelson, Professor. Water and wastewater treatment, water reuse, detection and inactivation of pathogens in water and sludge, appropriate technologies.
Research Profile

+ Kameshwar Poolla, Professor. Cybersecurity, modeling, control, renewable energy, estimation, integrated circuit design and manufacturing, smart grids.
Research Profile

Matthew D. Potts, Associate Professor. Forest management, biofuels, plantation agriculture, land use planning, land use policy, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, tropical ecology, environmental economics.
Research Profile

Elisabeth Sadoulet, Professor. Economics, agriculture, labor management & policy.
Research Profile

S. Shankar Sastry, Professor. Computer science, robotics, arial robots, cybersecurity, cyber defense, homeland defense, nonholonomic systems, control of hybrid systems, sensor networks, interactive visualization, robotic telesurgery, rapid prototyping.
Research Profile

+ Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Professor. High-technology competition, US industrial and technology policies, international economy, US trade policy, US competitiveness, emerging market economies, multinational companies in the US economy, gender gap (economic participation, educational attainment, political empowerment and health), research and development tax credit.
Research Profile

Catherine D. Wolfram, Professor. Climate change, energy efficiency, regulation of business, energy and environmental markets.
Research Profile

David Zilberman, Professor. Marketing, biotechnology, water, risk management, biofuels, natural resources, agricultural and environmental policy, the economics of innovation.
Research Profile

Affiliated Faculty

Daniel Fletcher, Professor. Bioengineering, optical and force microscopy, microfabrication, biophysics, mechanical properties of cells.
Research Profile

Emeritus Faculty

Clair Brown, Professor Emeritus. Innovation, management, economics, labor, employment, labor market institutions, semi-conductor industry.
Research Profile

S. Leonard Syme, Professor Emeritus. Social epidemiology, community interventions.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering

750 Davis Hall

Phone: 510-643-8944

Visit Program Website

Department Chair

Alice Agogino (Mechanical Engineering)

415 Sutardja Dai Hall (CITRIS Building)

agogino@berkeley.edu

Co-Head Graduate Adviser

Clair Brown (Economics)

507 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-643-7090

cbrown@econ.berkeley.edu

Co-Head Graduate Adviser

Daniel Fletcher (Bioengineering)

QB3 Institute, 608B Stanley Hall

Phone: 510-643-5624

fletch@berkeley.edu

Co-Head Graduate Adviser

Tapan Parikh (Information School)

303B South Hall

Phone: 510-642-4583

parikh@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Shelley Okimoto

750 Davis Hall

Phone: 510-643-8944

okimoto@ce.berkeley.edu

Scheduler

Joan Chamberlain

750 Davis Hall

Phone: 510-642-3162

joan@ce.berkeley.edu

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