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2014 2015
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    • 2014 2015
Chloe McKenzie

Student Profile

‘I think Christchurch is the best place in the world to be... It has been the most amazing time to study here...’

Chloe McKenzie Studying towards a BE(Hons) in Civil Engineering
(read profile)

Civil Engineering

Qualifications

BE(Hons), ME, MEngSt, PhD

See also Engineering

Introduction

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.

100-level courses

The first year of the BE(Hons) is called the Engineering Intermediate Year. See Engineering for more information on the Engineering Intermediate.

Civil Engineering – required Intermediate courses

  • ENGR 100 Academic Writing Assessment (0 points, 0 fees)
  • ENGR 101 Foundations of Engineering
  • EMTH 118 Engineering Mathematics 1A
  • EMTH 119 Engineering Mathematics 1B
  • EMTH 171 Mathematical Modelling and Computation
  • PHYS 101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves and Thermal Physics
  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes
  • ENGR 102 Engineering Mechanics
  • At least one 15-point elective course

200-level and beyond

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 or environmental fields.
  • Structural engineers apply knowledge of construction methods and properties of materials into design and construction of safe buildings and bridges.
  • Water engineers deal with the storage and distribution of water for drinking and irrigation, design and construction of river control structures, and protecting coastal regions.
  • Geotechnical engineers deal with the ability of soils to provide stable foundations and the design of stable slopes and retaining walls.
  • Transportation engineers plan, design, construct and maintain safe, efficient, reliable and sustainable transportation networks involving roads, pathways, railways, airports and harbours.
  • Environmental engineers deal with environmental impacts of major projects, and environment-friendly recycling, treatment and disposal of waste.

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

For further career information, please go to www.canterbury.ac.nz/careers

Contact

Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering
Telephone: +64 3 364 2250