Entry requirements for the MEM

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The MEM is a limited entry course with special requirements.

To enter UC's Master of Engineering in Management programme, you need to have:

  • Graduated with a four-year (Honours equivalent) degree in Engineering or Science with or without a postgraduate diploma. Applicants without a degree in one of these areas can still apply for admission but this will be subject to special consideration by the MEM Director and the Dean of Engineering. Relevance and standard of undergraduate studies are the main criteria for approval.
  • Applicants without an undergraduate degree (such as NZCE or equivalent) must apply in the first instance for consideration based on industry experience.

Work experience

  • New Zealand applicants: None required. Recent graduates are ideally suited to this qualification.
  • International applicants: At least two years' work experience with a maximum of six years. After that, the MBA may be an option.


  • Excellent English language communication skills. Applicants who speak English as a second language will be required to produce evidence that their ability to communicate in English is of a high standard (IELTS or equivalent at 6.5 with no band score less than 6.0).

What makes an excellent MEM candidate?

Technical skills

Technical competence is the easiest parameter to measure. In this case the ability to pass the Bachelor of Engineering or Science is the primary requirement. We review grades as an indicator of technical ability and for our due diligence. Top grades alone, however, will not guarantee admission to the course. An individualistic pursuit of grades for grades' sake is also discouraged during the MEM course.

Communication ability

Applicants must demonstrate skill in both written and oral expression. The application process starts with each applicant submitting a cover letter about their motivation in choosing the MEM, and how it will contribute to their future goals. This is accompanied by a comprehensive curriculum vitae which must outline the applicant's academic record, work experience, social interests, community service and leadership experience.

After an initial review of the written application, candidates are invited to an interview during which their verbal communication skills and motivation for applying to the course are examined. Of special interest to us is what they could contribute to the programme in terms of a special skill, ability, or knowledge.

Sense of direction

Of particular interest to us is to determine each applicant's ability to plan, set goals and anticipate their career direction. Applicants who are not sure whether they want to enter the workforce, proceed with a Master of Engineering (ME) in a technical direction, or to do the MEM, are questioned carefully. In most cases these applicants are discouraged from applying until they have set clear objectives for themselves. We invariably find and encourage a number of applicants who have already expressed their interest in the MEM quite early during their BE(Hons) study.

Together with a sense of direction, one often finds a strong entrepreneurial spirit among some applicants. Those who exhibit a self-starting and goal-oriented attitude often also communicate a strong desire to start their own businesses. This approach is strongly encouraged in the MEM, for it is economically more beneficial in a broader sense to cultivate employers than employees.

People skills

Individualism, at the expense of a team spirit, is not a quality of an exceptional manager. We look for teamwork skills. Specific team sporting achievements, although indicative of dedication, perseverance and talent, are not weighted heavily, but participation over a number of years, especially during the undergraduate years, is viewed favourably. Community and cultural activities, as well as hobbies and interests (such as music for example) are considered indicators of social involvement and a balanced lifestyle. Success over a wide range of diverse activities also indicates the ability to organise, manage time, and to lead a full life - skills later needed by any competent and balanced manager.

Leadership skills

Evidence of taking the initiative and occupying a position of leadership, whether at school, in a sporting, cultural or academic environment is regarded favourably. In some borderline cases applicants have been refused entry to the course in the hope that such a refusal will goad them to show initiative and question such refusal and to apply again. This has shown some very positive results. Many applicants also show remarkable initiative in the way they prepare their applications.

Management potential

At the stage of selection, applicants are not expected to have well-developed management skills. Some ability to plan, as reflected by their study and career goals, are indicative, but it is left to the course to develop these skills. Some evidence of an ability to give attention to detail without being overly focused, an ability to organise and a leaning towards a generalist approach to problem-solving, will be probed in each case. Performance on an undergraduate project is useful in this instance.

Once your application has been received you may be invited to attend an interview, either in person, through Skype or by telephone.

Following the interview, and if your application is successful, you will receive a letter offering you a place.

Sign your acceptance on the form and return it to the MEM Programme Administrator – you are now on the list for the next intake.

The selection committee will consider:

  • The quality of your application letter
  • Your motivation
  • Your three supporting references
  • Your future vision and goals
  • Whether your decision to undertake an MEM has been well reasoned and that you are clear on how an MEM will contribute to your career
  • Whether you are able to contribute to the programme in class, in groups and to the general ethos of the programme.

The MEM has only one intake per year, starting at the beginning of the third week of February. However, you can apply at any time for future years.

We accept qualified applicants on a first come, first suitable basis so that applicants can plan ahead. However, as this is a limited entry programme, we encourage applications as early as practicable so that you are assured of your place and you can plan your MEM year.

International applicants

As it will take time to process your application and for you to get your visa if you are successful, we encourage you to send your completed application as early as possible to avoid missing out on the limited spaces. If you send a successful application for an intake which is already full you may be able to defer to the following year.

Domestic applicants

Applications are open up to the last week of January of that year on the proviso that if you are accepted and a place becomes available, you can join that year group in time. It is essential that you are in class from the first day.

Send your completed application to:

Beverley Hall

Personal Assistant to the Director - MEM Programme
PA to MEM Director
Civil/Mechanical Engineering L2 Rm E15
Internal Phone: 94224

You will need:

  • A completed application for admission to UC
  • A completed Application for MEM
  • Certified copies of your previous academic documents, including transcripts and degree/graduation certificates
  • Certified copy of your identity document, such as the personal details page of your passport, or your birth certificate (if this is your first enrolment at UC)
  • A cover letter explaining why you want to study the MEM, what you will bring to the programme, how it will contribute to your career
  • A CV including information about leadership roles (school, university, community), sporting and community involvement and hobbies
  • Three references (from academic, community, cultural, employment or other)

If you have previously been enrolled at the University of Canterbury, then we will already have your admission information and identity documents on record.