Natural Resources Engineering


Bachelor of Engineering with Honours

Hydro station on EPE field trip


Natural resources and environmental engineers improve or maintain the sustainability of natural resources through creative design and wise application of technology. Natural resources engineering takes into consideration both the impact of humans on natural systems and the impact of natural systems on humans.

Natural resources and environmental engineering is the application of the physical (and social) sciences, using a system-based approach to design technology for the sustainable development, management and conservation of our natural resources. These resources include land, soils, water, the atmosphere, renewable energy and biological resources (such as plants and animals). Wastes are also considered resources, which can be recycled in a variety of ways and end products utilised.

UC is the only university in New Zealand that offers this programme.


100-level courses

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

Five compulsory courses taken by all Engineering students:

* No EFTS, no fees.

Plus courses specific to Natural Resources 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 electives.

More information:

The professional years

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

See all courses required to complete a BE(Hons) in Natural Resources Engineering.

The First Professional Year of the Natural Resources Engineering programme is the same as the Civil Engineering degree programme. Courses include fluid mechanics, surveying, materials, solid mechanics, soil mechanics, and environmental engineering. A field camp also forms part of the First Professional Year of the programme.

The Second Professional Year includes courses offered through Civil Engineering on infrastructure management, fluid mechanics, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering and design, and introduces specific Natural Resources Engineering courses. These topics consist of ecological engineering, integrated catchment analysis and design. 

During the Third Professional Year, students have more flexibility. All final year students must complete a Natural Resources Engineering research project, and a selection of courses which can focus on water resource engineering, ecological engineering, bio-resources engineering, engineering in developing communities, hydrology, waste and wastewater management, and energy.

Communication skills are nurtured throughout, as all professional engineers need to be able to provide detailed engineering reports and effectively take part in presentations, public hearings and inquiries.

Career opportunities

With their holistic approach to engineering in relation to natural resources, specialist engineers in this field are well placed to make a positive contribution to the development of sustainable lifestyles, something of vital importance to the future of humankind.

Natural resources engineers are scarce in the professional workplace and there are plenty of exciting jobs, including research and academic opportunities in New Zealand and all around the world.

Recent graduates have found positions with professional engineering consultancies, local and regional councils, primary industry companies, central government departments and Crown Research Institutes.

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

More information

Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering

Phone +64 3 369 4222

Physical location
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

Tom Logan

Tom Logan

'Many of UC’s courses are very relevant to operations research and are world class...'

Maddy Wright

Maddy Wright

'I'll have an input into making a difference to our environment...'