Forest engineering is a hybrid of engineering, forestry and management. It requires people who can combine skills to solve engineering problems in the natural environment, with a focus on balancing economic, societal and environmental requirements.
Forest engineers construct and evaluate the operational systems that make the forest industry ‘work’. This can include:
- designing and building new roads
- developing or modifying forestry equipment
- planning harvest operations
- optimising transport logistics
- integrating new technologies
- supervising employees and contractors
- ensuring safety standards are maintained.
Forest engineers work with public and governmental agencies. They look after the environment, and may steer projects through the resource consent process. Forest engineering graduates know the forest environment and forest products and processes, and they provide the essential link between the forest and the final product.
Studying Forest Engineering includes courses and expertise taught through the School of Forestry and the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering. There is a real focus on 'hands-on' engineering practices, with many field trips to expose students to real-world engineering problems and opportunities. The Forest Engineering programme at UC is the only one of its kind in Australasia.
The first year of the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours is called the Engineering Intermediate Year. For Forest Engineering students, this is made up of:
Five compulsory courses taken by all Engineering students:
- ENGR100 Academic Writing Assessment*
- ENGR101 Foundations of Engineering
- EMTH118 Engineering Mathematics 1A
- EMTH119 Engineering Mathematics 1B
- PHYS101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves and Thermal Physics
* No EFTS, no fees.
Plus courses specific to Forest Engineering:
- CHEM111 Chemical Principles and Processes
- EMTH171 Mathematical Modelling and Computation
- ENGR102 Engineering Mechanics
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 electives.
- To see how this qualification is structured, see the degree diagram on the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours page.
- See the Regulations for the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Intermediate Year.
- For guidance on how to structure your Intermediate Year, visit the College of Engineering website.
The professional years
Once you have completed the Engineering Intermediate Year and successfully applied for entry into Forest Engineering, you will study that discipline within the three professional years.
The First Professional Year emphasises basic engineering subjects including forest engineering, forest economics, materials, mechanics and forest measurement.
In the Second Professional Year, this knowledge of engineering principles is consolidated and students are introduced to the principles of forest management, design, geotechnical engineering, infrastructure management, geospatial technologies in forestry and wood science.
At this stage, there is an opportunity to specialise in solid wood processing by studying at either the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, or the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. Through formal exchange programmes, students spend 8–12 months in either Vancouver or Blacksburg, taking courses in solid wood processing. No tuition fees beyond the usual UC fees are due.
The Third Professional Year includes courses in harvest planning, transportation and road design, and forest engineering research. We also allow students to choose a number of electives from both Forestry and Engineering subjects, including advanced geotechnical or economics courses, or to discover new areas of study, such as international marketing.
Forest engineers have a wide skillset that provides work opportunities both at home and abroad. Graduates can take up employment in the forest industry, but because of the multidisciplinary nature of forest engineering, job opportunities are also available in areas including general engineering consultancy, local and regional councils, government agencies, resource management and research.
Careers in these organisations are challenging, creative, stimulating and offer great scope for advancement.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Forest Engineering.
Please see the School's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800