Postgraduate qualifications

Learn more to achieve more. Specialise in one of our post graduate programmes and advance your network, skillset, employability, and world view.

The civil engineering faculty and postgraduate teaching community is filled with engineering leaders. Our courses are taught by international guests, industry leaders, and our own faculty, many of whom are recognized internationally for research excellence.

Our postgraduate community is a diverse, international, and welcoming community. It includes students continuing their studies and working professionals who are ready for the next level. Our graduates obtain employment internationally.

Engineer your future.


Master's degrees are specialist degrees that can be completed within 1-year or up-to 4-years part-time. They can be completed solely with coursework or include a research thesis.

The Master of Engineering is a research-based masters degree.


Doctoral degrees are research-oriented degrees that teach the student how to tackle and solve highly complex problems. These degrees are completed within 3-4 years full-time.

For information about the regulations: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Our postgraduate courses are taught in "block mode" to cater for both full-time students and also working professionals to increase their skill level while still in employment.

Postgraduate Certificates in Engineering

Master of Civil Engineering (MCivilEng)

The Master of Civil Engineering (MCivilEng) is a taught post-graduate programme that enhances an engineer’s knowledge and skills, improving their prospects for career progression. Acquiring advanced knowledge in Civil Engineering through The Master of Civil Engineering aims to produce graduates who:

  • Have developed advanced knowledge and skills relevant to their future careers in a research or professional environment.
  • Have developed mastery of topics relevant to design, analysis and management of civil infrastructure systems, so that they can provide leadership in a professional context and engage effectively with future research opportunities.
  • Can apply independent thinking and advanced knowledge and skills to the development and remediation of civil infrastructure systems.
  • Engage effectively and confidently in a variety of academic and professional settings.
  • Provide expertise to support high-level decision making processes.
  • Have the interpersonal skills needed to be ready for the workplace, with the attributes listed on the UC graduate profile. 

The programme requires students to successfully complete courses for a total of 120 points. This typically involves taking eight 15 point courses, four per semester. However, there are options for part-time study as well as distance learning.

A total of 10 different endorsements are offered as part of the MCivilEng programme, described below. Note that not all courses listed within each endorsement are offered every year and so students should check the calendar for each year when selecting courses.


Construction Management

Construction Management is the overall planning, coordination, and control of a project from beginning to completion. Construction Project Management is aimed at meeting a client's requirements in order to produce a functionally and financially viable project. The Construction Management programme offers graduates study leading to the Master of Engineering degree. The focus is on professional programmes that combine theory and application with a strong emphasis in applied management. The master's programme is an advanced curriculum designed to allow students to tailor a portion of the specialisation requirements to meet individual interests and goals.

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

ENCI601 Risk Management
ENCM620 Construction Procurement and Contract Administration

Part II:

ENCM610 Construction Management
ENCM630 Project Management, Planning and Control Techniques
ENCM640 Strategic Management in Construction
ENCM650 Cost Engineering
ENCM671 Special Topic in Construction Management
ENCM676 Construction Equipment and Heavy Construction Methods
ENCM678 Special Topic: Principles of Contact Negotiations
ENCM682 Research Project

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy is transforming the world from a reliance on fossil fuels to sustainable energy systems. Researchers at UC are involved in renewable energy projects in Pacific Island nations and in South East Asia, as well as Aotearoa New Zealand-based work like transitioning the Burnham Army Camp to more sustainable energy sources. Renewable Energy is a multidisciplinary subject and students will learn about the variety of renewable energy resources and conversion technologies, system modelling techniques, challenges to sustainability, and practical solutions to common issues.

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

ENCI 601 Risk Management
ENGR 621 Energy, Technology and Society
ENNR 423 Sustainable Energy Systems

Part II:

ENCN 623 Energy Systems - Modelling & Analysis
ENCN 625 Wind Resource Modelling
ENEL 667 Renewable Electricity System Design

Transportation Engineering

Transportation engineering covers all aspects of transportation related issues, from determining the future transportation needs of a community or country through to the performance of the materials that are used to construct roads. All modes of travel are covered, from pedestrians/cyclists to cars/trucks to buses/trains to ships and planes (although our programmes at Canterbury largely deal with land transport).

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

ENTR 401 Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering
ENTR 603 Advanced Pavement Design
ENTR 604 Road Asset Management
ENTR 617 Traffic Network Modelling and Optimisation
ENTR 619 Special Topic: Quantitative Techniques for Transport Engineering and Planning

Part II:

ENTR 602 Accident Reduction and Prevention
ENTR 608 Special Topic in Transport Engineering
ENTR 612 Transport Policy and System Management
ENTR 613 Highway Geometric Design
ENTR 614 Planning and Design of Sustainable Transport
ENTR 615 Advanced Traffic Flow Theory and Simulation
ENTR 616 Transport Planning and Modelling
ENTR 618 Transport and Freight Logistics

Earthquake Engineering

Earthquake Engineering encompasses a broad range of activities that seek to minimise the damage and disruption communities suffer when hit by an earthquake. The University of Canterbury has a long history in earthquake engineering and has shown significant leadership over the years in this area on an international stage. As part of the earthquake engineering endorsement students are offered the opportunity to advance their knowledge of seismic risk, geotechnical and structural earthquake engineering and seismic resilience. The programme draws on significant lessons learnt from the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes and the strong ties the college has with the industry, preparing graduates who are knowledge and highly employable.

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

ENCI438    Introduction to Structural Earthquake Engineering
ENEQ610    Seismic Hazard and Risk Analysis
ENEQ624    Nonlinear Structural Analysis and Dynamics

Part II:

ENEQ620   Advanced Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
ENEQ633    Advanced Timber Structures
ENEQ640    Displacement-based Design of Low Damage Structures
ENEQ642    Seismic Assessment and Retrofit Strategies for Existing Reinforced Concrete Buildings
ENEQ650    Advanced Steel and Composite Structures
ENEQ670    Seismic Bridge Engineering
ENEQ680    Seismic Performance and Loss Estimation
ENEQ621    Special Topic
ENEQ629    Special Topic: Seismic Soil Structure Interaction

Structural Engineering

The courses specified under this endorsement develop specialist knowledge in Structural Engineering and produce graduates who have advanced skills to support a career in structural engineering of buildings and other structural systems. Complementing the structural engineering training offered separately within the MCivilEng endorsement in earthquake engineering, this endorsement aims to prepare graduates with a broader understanding of multi-performance objectives for structures and develop skills to deal with potentially critical non-seismic load cases such as wind and blast loading or vibration control.

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

ENCI436   Behaviour and Design of Structures II
ENEQ623  Finite Element Analysis of Structures
ENEQ641  Nonlinear Concrete Mechanics and Modelling Techniques
ENEQ624  Nonlinear Structural Analysis and Dynamics

Part II:

ENEQ633    Advanced Timber Structures
ENEQ650    Advanced Steel and Composite Structures
ENCI621      Concrete Materials and Practice
ENCI670      Special Topic: Blast Engineering and Progressive Collapse
ENAE603     Structural Design Practice
ENAE604     Structural Assessment and Retrofit

Structural Fire Engineering

The courses specified under this endorsement develop specialist knowledge in Structural Fire Engineering and produce graduates who are competent structural engineers with competence in fire engineering. Graduates will obtain knowledge and skills related to general fire engineering, fire dynamics and modelling techniques in both structural and fire engineering. This will enable them to amalgamate the two disciplines in order to better predict and design structures for fire safety.

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

ENGR403 Fire Engineering
ENCI436   Behaviour and Design of Structures II
ENEQ623  Finite Element Analysis of Structures
ENFE601   Structural Fire Engineering
ENFE602   Fire Dynamics

Part II:

ENEQ624 Nonlinear Structural Analysis and Dynamics
ENEQ641 Nonlinear Concrete Mechanics and Modelling Techniques
ENFE610 Advanced Fire Dynamics
ENFE618 Advanced Structural Fire Engineering

Digital Civil Engineering

The courses specified under this endorsement develop specialist knowledge of digital design methods and produce graduates with advanced computational skills for the design and performance assessment of buildings and infrastructure. Graduates will have obtained advanced knowledge and skills in predictive data analytics, systems modelling, simulation analysis and the application of these computational techniques to engineering practice.

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

ENCI630  Predictive Analytics for Civil and Natural Systems (Special Topic)
ENCI668  Civil Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation (Special Topic)

Part II:

ENAE606  Building Modelling and Integrated Design
ENCN623  Energy Systems Modelling and Analysis
ENCN625  Wind Resource Modelling
ENTR615  Advanced Traffic Flow Theory and Simulation
ENTR619  Quantitative Techniques for Transport Engineering and Planning

Geotechnical Engineering

The courses specified under this endorsement develop specialist knowledge in Geotechnical Engineering and produce graduates who have critical competence in the non-linear behaviour of soils and foundations, preparing them for a career in geotechnical engineering. Graduates will have obtained knowledge of engineering seismology, geotechnical earthquake engineering, ground remediation techniques and other specialist geotechnical engineering topics such as soil-structure interaction. 

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

ENCN452 Advanced Geotechnical Engineering
ENCN454 Introduction to Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
ENEQ610 Engineering Seismology
ENGE412 rock mechanics and rock engineering
GEOL479 active tectonics and geomorphology

Part II:

ENEQ620  Advanced Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
ENEQ682  Ground Improvement Techniques
ENEQ629    Special Topic: Seismic Soil Structure Interaction

Smart Infrastructure

The courses specified under this endorsement develop specialist knowledge in the methods for integrating sensors, wireless technology and data science into the operation of urban cities and methods to ensure the sustainable use of resources and energy. The courses will produce graduates who have an advanced understanding of the challenges facing modern cities in the areas of water engineering, transportation engineering and structural engineering and how technology can be used to optimise resource and energy efficiency as well as improvement in safety, asset management and resilience.

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement, from 2022, include:

Part I:

ENCN665 Time series analysis and signal processing in civil engineering
ENCN669 Energy Generation and Energy Harvesting in Civil Infrastructures

Part II:

ENCN666  Smart Water Infrastructure
ENCN667 Circular Design: Smart Materials, Novel Forms & Construction Techniques
ENCN668 Smart Transportation Networks

Water Engineering

The courses specified under this endorsement develop specialist knowledge in Water Engineering.  Graduates develop advanced fundamental knowledge to become specialists in a wide range of water engineering topics.  Water engineering encompasses analysis and design of: water supply and irrigation systems, stormwater and wastewater systems, water resource evaluation, flood and drought estimation and planning, fluid flow in complex natural environments,  water resources management, design of hydraulic structures, assessment of environmental effects of discharges in water environments, water chemistry in engineered and natural systems, wastewater treatment and management of treatment residuals, water flow and quality modelling, groundwater quality and contaminated site management, rural and urban impacts on water environments.  Relevant New Zealand stakeholders are WaterNZ, Hydrological Society of New Zealand, Waste Management Institute of New Zealand, along with all levels of government, consultants, and construction companies. Graduates also develop professional skills increasingly expected for subject-area specialists in water engineering. 

The courses currently on offer in this endorsement include:

Part I:

  • ENCI 634  Engineering Chemistry for Water Systems
  • ENCI 644  Water Demand and Supply

Part II:

  • ENCI 638  Environmental Fluid Mechanics
  • ENCI 677  Advanced Wastewater Treatment
  • ENCI 646  Flood Analysis, Modelling and Management


Additional Masters Degrees

The department also offers the following Master's degrees that can be completed within 1-year or up-to 4-years part-time:

Department Funded PG Scholarships

The below projects are offered by or in collaboration with a lecturer/professor in the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering; please refer to the UC Scholarship page for more information about university-wide scholarships. If you are an academic wishing to list please contact us

PhD Scholarship opportunity:

Agricultural profitability, resilience, and sustainability in an uncertain future: a decision support tool for policy development in New Zealand

Based at: University of Canterbury, Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering in conjunction with the Joint Postgraduate School Food Transitions 2050 (between Canterbury and Lincoln University) Food Transitions 2050

Prof. Tom Cochrane - University of Canterbury 
Dr. Clemence Vanier - Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

Agriculture in New Zealand has entered a period of significant uncertainty due to multiple change drivers that affect our current productivity, resilience and sustainability. Markets, environmental targets, and emerging technologies are forcing government and industry to rethink our agricultural system. To develop informed strategies to respond to the risks and opportunities associated with change drivers, there is a need to assess options and interventions for transforming and strengthening the agricultural sector over the next 5-30 years.

We are thus seeking a PhD student who has the skills and background in engineering or science to further develop a modelling tool to 1) support decision-making under uncertainty, and 2) assess the impacts and benefits of different pathways and interventions. The PhD student’s research will aim to understand interactions between sectors and explore ways to strengthen productivity and achieve carbon neutrality and freshwater objectives, based on a strong foundation of consultation and scientific processes. This PhD will not require laboratory or field work, but will be based on computational modelling and spatial/temporal data analysis. In summary, this PhD will attempt to answer questions on the risks and opportunities of major disruptions, pathways to reach environmental/economic objectives, and on how technologies change future agriculture pathways.

Applications will close at 5pm on Friday 4 November 2022 New Zealand time. This PhD position comes with a scholarship that pays study fees plus a $28,000 NZD p.a. tax-free living stipend. Students must be domiciled in the Canterbury region during their studies, so that they can engage in the cohort programme.

To apply, please hit the Apply Now button below and attach your cover letter and CV to the email. 


All graduate students have office space within the department and there is a dedicated postgraduate computer suite. The department has more than 20 highly skilled, experienced technicians who are available to assist with experimental research. Specialised services within the department include electronics technicians, a graphic designer and computer support. Our well-equipped can produce specialised experimental equipment.

The College of Engineering has undergone a $142 million upgrade and boasts some of the most cutting-edge laboratories available. View our for a general overview of the college or our department page for more specific details about Civil and Natural Engineering.

For further information about postgraduate qualifications:


For more information please contact:

Laura Flaunty

Postgraduate Administrator Taught Programmes
Internal Phone: 91817