Concordia University

Rwanda Field School in Engineering and Sustainable Development (TBD)


Green Growth in Rwanda: What is ‘development’?

2020 Summer Program

The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, the Centre for Engineering in Society, and Concordia International are pleased to offer the intensive course ENCS 485 – Field School in Engineering and Sustainable Development.

The short- term program will consist of assigned readings and three classroom sessions in Montreal, followed by a 3-week trip to Rwanda. Topics will include location and context-specific history and evolution of development, globalization, history of colonialism, introduction to post-colonial theory, sustainability initiatives, technological planning and analysis, and participatory data gathering.  Each student will be required to complete a project-based research paper on a topic approved by Dr. Brandiff Caron, Assistant Professor, Centre for Engineering in Society, who will lead the course.

Why Africa? By the year 2050 the current population of Africa will double. One-third of all people on earth will be Africans.

Why Rwanda?  With a population of 12 million and a landlocked territory barely six times the size of the island of Montreal, the East African Republic of Rwanda already is the continent’s most densely populated country. Furthermore, a generation ago, one million Rwandans perished during the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis, leaving the entire nation in shambles.

Much has changed. Rwanda today is politically stable, safe, energetic, and youthful. Two-thirds of all Rwandans are under 30 years old. Rwanda boldly aims to reinvent itself as a knowledge-based, technology-enabled, middle-income society by 2050, intending to become ‘the Singapore of Africa’.

Brandiff Caron is a science and technology studies specialist, and will help students look closely at effective strategies, challenges, and lessons learned through Rwanda’s ongoing campaign to achieve rapid, environmentally-responsible socioeconomic transformation on a national scale, in a post-trauma, postcolonial context marked by unprecedented climate change, dramatic population growth, and rapid urbanization.

The course will be based on contemporary scholarship around development initiatives that focus on technological intervention. An intensive program of experiential learning will feature site visits in rural and urban settings (many short trips by minibus with hostel and budget hotel accommodation), conversations with Rwandan stakeholders, and interactions with students and professors at University of Rwanda campuses in Kigali and Huye.

Program dates



Participating studenst must be enrolled in Concordia undergraduate course ENCS 485: Field School in Engineering and Sustainable Development (3 credits) taught by Dr. Brandiff R. Caron. This intensive course will provide opportunities to learn first-hand about Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation, with its commitment to sustainable low-carbon green growth, poverty-reduction, resilience in the face of climate change, and environmental protection.

Estimated costs and bursary

Concordia will charge program participants for 3 credits of undergraduate Concordia tuition and a program fee (TBD) to cover in-country accommodations, transportation, and some other program expenses.  

Students are responsible for booking and paying their own transportation to/from Kigali, Rwanda; mandatory health and travel insurance; vaccinations and anti-malarial meals other than the breakfasts that will be provided each day; any travel documents you may need (i.e. passports and maybe visas).

To offset costs, Concordia offers a bursary (amount TBD) to students who qualify. Please note that this bursary cannot be combined with any other mobility scholarship, mobility bursary or mobility award.

NOTE: Please note that the above mentioned bursary cannot be combined with any other in-house mobility scholarship, mobility bursary or mobility award.

Eligibility requirements  

  • Must be a Concordia student enrolled in a Concordia Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree Program while participating in the program.
  • Undergraduate students must have completed a minimum of 24 credits toward their degree. Graduate students must have completed at least 9 credits towards their degree; there must be credits earned from the current program. Transfer credits, whether internal or external, do not count.
  • Preference will be given to students who have a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA and are currently registered. Students who have between 2.50 and 3.00 GPA are eligible to apply.
  • The selection committee reserves the right to interview applicants.

Host institution

 While the program takes place throughout a variety of sights in Rwanda, the field school is offered in collaboration with the University of Rwanda.


Students will be housed in shared hostel and budget hotel accomodations in Kigali, Rubavu and Hoye.

How to apply

  • Attend an information session at the Concordia International office (X-103, Annex X, 2080 Mackay):       
    • Dates TBD
  • After you have attended an information session, submit online a complete Concordia Field School Abroad Application, and arrange to have one Academic Reference sent to Concordia International (instructions on form).

Please note:

  • Admissions decisions will be communicated shortly after the deadline.
  • Students admitted to the program will have to make a non-refundable deposit to Student Accounts (deadline to be determined in admission letter). Please be aware, however, that any deposit you make will first be applied to any outstanding balances you owe to Concordia.
  • Students admitted to the program will have to attend a mandatory pre-departure information session (time and date to be determined) at the Concordia International office (Annex X, 2080 Mackay).
  • Graduate students and students from other universities must first register as “Independent Undergraduates” to be able to register for these courses. If admitted to the program, you will be prompted to complete this step after you have received your admission letter.
  • You are responsible for obtaining your Rwandan visa upon your arrival in Kigali for estimated $30 USD.
  • All information on this website is subject to change without notice.

For more information, please contact:

Maral Abajian, Field School Coordinator, Concordia International

The program is subject to a minimum enrollment of 12 students to take place; can accommodate a total of 15 students and can be cancelled at any time and for any reason.

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