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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Caroline Brown 2012-13

Caroline Brown, St Edmunds, 2012 - 2013


Caroline is from South Africa and obtained an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in 2011. Aside from interning at WSP’s Green Engineering Division during her bachelor’s degree, Caroline has worked extensively with underprivileged children living in South African townships. The exposure to these extremely poor living conditions led Caroline to pursue further studies which focussed on applying her engineering skills to the context of improved infrastructure in urban slums. 

Dissertation title:

Assessment of low cost, low carbon, incremental housing upgrades for South African informal settlements

Students report:

Studying the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development provided me with the ideal opportunity to significantly improve my sustainable engineering design skills, broaden my understanding of the types of challenges faced when working in developing countries, and learn to apply decision making tools that can be used to overcome such issues. Furthermore, the vast range of electives made available during the MPhil allowed me to tailor the programme to suit my specific interests – including subjects that differed substantially from my undergraduate degree such as Environmental Design for Architecture and Climate Change Policy and Land Development.      

One of the most important, and indeed unexpected, benefits of studying this MPhil is the continuous interaction one has with ones classmates and lecturers. The daily discussions held between passionate and diverse students from over 16 countries made for an extremely unique learning environment. Unlike most of my classmates, I had only 9 months’ work experience before embarking on the MPhil, and their advice and lessons learned from working in a range of industries worldwide helped guide the career choices I made after graduating.  

In October 2013 I joined Adam Smith International, a London-based development consultancy firm. As a member of their Infrastructure and Climate Change Team, I am currently managing the design and implementation of small-scale water infrastructure projects in Southern Africa. The Projects are funded by UKAID, and aim at improving poor communities’ resilience to the increasing effects that climate change has on their livelihoods.