APSC 462: Global Engineering Leadership

Program Overview

APSC 462: Global Engineering Leadership Practicum (3 credits), together with its prerequisite course APSC 461, Global Engineering Leadership (3 credits) are designed to introduce upper-year students from a wide range of disciplines to concepts, theories, and practices of engineering leadership in international settings, exploring how technical problems and solutions fit in broader perspectives.  Appropriate implementation requires adapting to the social, cultural, economic, and political contexts and understanding the values expressed within them. By exploring themes around leadership styles, ethical community engagement, participatory planning development, and understanding differences APSC 461/2 seeks to better prepare students for real-life situations where they may encounter conflict, cultural differences, ethical dilemmas and opposing values.


Course Description

APSC 461 Global Engineering Leadership (3 credits) is an introduction to concepts, theory, and practice of engineering leadership, including characteristics; individual and cultural differences, service and management contexts; managing change, conflicts, and crises; real-world ethics and core values. The course is offered during Summer Term 1 (May-Jun 2020) and students can register for the prerequisite course on the SSC once registration opens. APSC 461 (coursework) is also a technical elective in most Engineering disciplines:

  • Mechanical Engineering: General “A” list Technical Elective (credit not given to Camosun Bridge transfer students)
  • Engineering Physics
  • Integrated Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Civil Engineering: Please consult with your advisor
  • Others: Please consult with your advisor
  • A number of seats are also held for Arts students who wish to explore the intersections of technology, design and society.

Click here to view an example syllabus

APSC 462 Global Engineering Leadership Practicum (3 credits) is an International Service Learning Placement (ISL) and an Impact of Technology on Society elective in all Engineering disciplines. Complex international engineering projects typically require interdisciplinary approaches and individuals working together through the support of strong, ethical leaders. Students in APSC 462 will participate in an 8-week International Service Learning placement with one of ORICE’s community partners, bringing their theoretical knowledge into practice in a collaborative fashion with an interdisciplinary team.


International Service Learning Program 

Student enrollment in APSC 462 requires full participation in:

  • APSC 461 classes on campus from May-June 2020
  • Pre-departure learning sessions from March-May 2020
  • 8 week International Service Learning (ISL) placement from beginning of July to the end of August 2020
  • Mid-placement workshop
  • Return seminar and final course-work on campus in September 2020
  • Re-entry debrief and public engagement presentation on campus in September and October 2020


More information

Students should be in their 3rd year by Summer 2020

Students registered in APSC 462 must complete ASPC 461 prior to their International Service Learning placement. APSC 461 runs in Summer 2020, term 1. APSC 462 runs in Summer 2020, term 2.

In addition to Applied Science students, there are a number of seats in APSC 461/462 reserved for ARTS students interested in further exploring the intersections of technology, design and society in the context of Engineering Leadership. APSC 462 is an Impact of Technology on Society elective in all Engineering disciplines.

For the summer of 2020, there are three International Service Learning placement sites.  Each site offers its own unique range of projects to meet a wide range of student interest.


Tsomanotik‘s communities in rural parts of Chiapas state are facing rising energy costs for fuel and electricity which have increased as much as 38% over the past two years. Tsomanotik is an eco-agricultural organization working in Chiapas and is committed to promoting sustainability and solidarity in community settings.

Tsomanotik is seeking to explore the possibility of a hydroelectric project with minimal inputs that would support the local fishery which is important for supporting the nutrition and economic opportunities of the community. Interns will contribute to a feasibility study and conduct research on waste water management systems and the implementation of a reusable water system at the local fishery while also collecting data and analysis for the project.

Costa Rica

Matapalo Sea Turtles Conservation (Matapalo, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica): “Through the Matapalo Beach Investigation Program, we protect and conserve sea turtle nests and carry on a program of investigation to aid in efficient conservation, protection of endangered species, and the proper planning of tourist activities.”

Quelonios del Caribe (Bataan, Limón Province, Costa Rica): Quelonios del Caribe aims to “manage and contribute to the conservation, research, and education on the coast of Costa Rica while developing initiative to preserve natural resources based on community involvement.”

ASVPA is interested in improving wastewater management systems using low technology solutions. Student interns in this placement will be working on conducting research which includes a cost-benefits analysis for the project design and designing a grey-water recycling system using materials and resources available to the site.


With growing populations and increased energy demands, SELCO Foundation , the community partner aims to dispel myths about the relationship between poverty, people, and technology.

As a student intern, you will participate in a design challenge looking at specific energy access challenges for those living in marginalized communities. An example of the type of project would be studying feasibility and implementation of solar power intervention for small-scale vendors in an informal settlement in India.


In Mexico and Costa Rica you will live in hostel-style accommodations with modest living conditions on the placement site. Accommodation in India will be with a host family.

In addition to its academic requirements, APSC 462 students must also participate in a number of activities to ensure their preparedness for their International Service Learning Placement.  These activities begin at the end of the exam period in April,

Program Dates

Date Activity
April 2020 Program application is open and will close when full. Applications will be considered in the order they are received.
April and May 2020 Orientation and pre-departure learning sessions (all successful applicants will be expected to be in attendance at all sessions)
May – June 2020 APSC 461 course
July – August 2020 APSC 462, 8 week international placement including a facilitated workshop approximately mid-way through (exact dates TBA)
September 2020 APSC 462 Post Placement seminar and assignments due
Sept – Oct 2020 ISL Post-placement reflection sessions and International Development Symposium.

**Please note these dates may be adjusted but will be confirmed prior to offer.

Costs per student include the pre-departure learning program, initial pick-up upon arrival at airport, room and board during the placement and additional costs associated with the post-placement activities.  Costs vary slightly by program due to the cost of living expenses of the country or region.

 Location Program Fee
Mexico $3,700 – $4,000
India $3,100– $3,350
Costa Rica $4,100 – $4,350

Fees are subject to adjustment prior to offering the placement to the student.

Note: Additional expenses not covered in program costs are the responsibility of the student. Costs not included are airfare, visas, vaccinations, tuition, local transportation while in country, transportation from the site back to the airport at the end of the placement, personal items, and daily incidentals.


Regional and International Service Learning Award

This $1500 award is open to all UBC students participating in APSC 461/462. Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Completed 60 credits of undergraduate coursework (3rd or 4th year standing)
  • Have a minimum GPA of 70% in the top 21 credits of the previous academic year. Priority will be given to students that have 75% in the top 27 credits of the previous academic year.
  • Be enrolled in at least 24 credits in the current academic year or enrolled in maximum sufficient credits to satisfy graduation requirements if this is your final year.

When you apply to any eligible program, you will be automatically assessed for the Regional and International Service Learning Award. Admission to regional and international service learning programs is by application.

  1. Review course and program details (please contact ubc.isl@ubc.ca with any questions you may have).
  2. Apply online, using Gateway Application Portal, accessed by following the "Apply Now" link. (On right side of page)
  3. Submit your Application by the deadline.
  4. Successful applicants will be contacted by email to continue selection process (see below).
  5. Students who have been selected to participate in APSC 462 will be force registered in the course.

Selection Process

To apply please fill out and submit an online application. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview. After interviews, you will be notified of a decision; successful candidates will be sent an offer letter with further details on the program and detailed instructions on how to accept. You will have approximately one week after receiving the offer letter to accept and pay a program deposit. Your selection into the ISL program includes meeting eligibility requirements, as well as your initial application and your performance in the interview.

Don’t wait to apply, spaces are limited!

Pre-Departure Overview

The pre-departure learning program is designed to prepare you for an international service learning placement. This will include:

  • Pre-departure learning sessions taking place over the academic term leading up to departure led by staff and community development professionals.
  • Creation of a learning and development plan
  • Participant-led events/presentations
  • Facilitated meetings with your placement team to explore learning topics
  • Post-Placement Overview

Post-Departure Overview

You will participate in post-placement activities in September - October 2020, including:

  • A full day to debrief in September 2020
  • Return seminar and final coursework in September 2020
  • Presentation at an International Development Symposium in October 2020