Civil Engineering


Bachelor of Engineering with Honours
Postgraduate Certificate in Engineering
Master of Engineering
Master of Engineering Studies
Doctor of Philosophy

Civil Engineering bridge building competition


Civil engineers design, construct, project manage, and commission a wide range of facilities and infrastructure such as buildings, bridges, towers, dams, roads and railways, pipe networks and treatment plants. These facilities provide people with a reliable, safe, sustainable and modern environment to live in.

Electric power depends on civil engineers for the design and construction of dams, canals and transmission towers. Many towns and cities are protected against flooding or the effects of fire and earthquakes by infrastructure designed and constructed by civil engineers.

Civil engineers have responsibility for managing people, equipment, resources, time and money. Communication skills are vital, as all professional engineers need to effectively disseminate complex information to people of diverse backgrounds, by providing detailed engineering reports, presentations and taking part in public hearings and inquiries.

This is a broad field, and students may take courses to focus on a more specific area of civil engineering during their professional years of study to suit their interests.

Why study at UC?


100-level courses

The first year of the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours is called the Engineering Intermediate Year. For Civil Engineering students, this is made up of:

Five compulsory courses taken by all Engineering students:

* No EFTS, no fees.

Plus courses specific to Civil Engineering:

In addition you must study at least 15 points of elective courses 

To ensure a total workload of 120 points in the first year. It is advisable to check with the College of Engineering student advisor for suggested elective/s.

More information:

The professional years

Once you have completed the Engineering Intermediate Year and successfully applied for entry into Civil Engineering, you will study that discipline within the three professional years.

See all courses (Years 2-4) required to complete a BE(Hons) in Civil Engineering.

The First and Second Professional Years consist of compulsory courses that provide a wide, basic knowledge for the civil engineering professional. These include fluid mechanics, geotechnical engineering, surveying, materials, management, soil mechanics, structural design, transportation and water quality. An external field camp also forms part of the First Professional Year's programme.

In the Third Professional Year, students choose their courses to either specialise in a specific area of interest or generalise their courses. Courses can include traffic planning, structures, water engineering, geotechnical engineering, fire engineering and engineering in developing communities. A compulsory research project is required for all students.

Laboratory, tutorial, design office and field classes complement the theory presented in lectures and demonstrate its relevance to practical applications. As well as individual assignments, students also regularly work in teams on projects, and written and oral presentations are key components of many courses. Lecturers place a heavy emphasis on the importance of good communication skills.

Career opportunities

There are excellent career opportunities for civil engineers, with a strong demand for graduates in New Zealand and around the world in a diverse range of fields.

Most new graduates are employed by consultants (who design and manage), contractors (who build and maintain) or central, regional and local government (who develop and manage the infrastructure of countries, cities and communities).

Many civil engineers become experts in a specialised area of civil engineering such as structural, water, geotechnical, transportation, fire or environmental fields.

Some UC civil engineering graduates go on to run their own companies, enter into partnerships, or become researchers for government agencies or business.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Civil Engineering.

More information

Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering

Phone +64 3 369 4141

Please see the Department's website for up-to-date location details.

Postal address
College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha
University of Canterbury | 
Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Laura Goodman

Laura Goodman

'It’s super easy to integrate yourself into the university community and make it a home away from home...'

Andrew Maebiru

Andrew Maebiru

'I want to help people in my country with their engineering needs...'