Mechanical Engineers are shaping the future

Mechanical engineering students expo hunter UC

Mechanical Engineering offers qualifications at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The required courses for a degree in Mechanical Engineering have changed. See the PDF degree structure charts for full details:

Final-year Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) students employ their knowledge and skills to provide solutions to industry-driven research and development needs. By engaging with a realistic engineering problem they develop professional skills that help them transition into the workforce.

The bulk of the projects come from industry, with many described as 'back burner' or 'pushing the envelope'.

Find out more about final-year Research and Development Projects and view recent projects completed in collaboration with our industry sponsors.

Broad industry opportunities

Mechanical Engineering graduates sought-after skills are valued in a range of industries both in New Zealand and abroad. Their skills in design, testing and development of mechanical devices and tools are valued in:

  • aviation
  • agriculture
  • building and construction
  • building services
  • energy
  • manufacturing
  • product development
  • transport
  • water and waste water

What do Mechanical Engineers do?

The work of Mechanical Engineers includes:

  • requirements gathering, including investigating and reporting on existing systems
  • determining potential environmental and safety impacts
  • investigating current use of materials, machinery and energy and their efficiency
  • creating plans and drawings, including computer-aided designs (CAD)
  • estimating costs
  • overseeing building, installation and repair works
  • testing to ensure new systems perform as expected

Industry Advisory Board

Our Industry Advisory Board (IAB) provides input and advice on the Mechanical Engineering undergraduate curriculum development in terms of structure, content and coverage.  This ensures that what our Mechanical Engineering students are taught is relevant to the industry, and that our students are prepared for the real world upon graduation.   The IAB also guides and advises on industry-driven research opportunities. 

Meet our IAB:

  • Assoc Prof Shayne Gooch, Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering, UC
  • Prof Mark Jermy, Director of Final Year R&D Projects, Mechanical Engineering, UC
  • Paul Zwaan, Industry Projects Coordinator, Mechanical Engineering, UC
  • Hamish McGowan, Business Development Manager, Research & Innovation, UC
  • Aaron Goldsbury, South Island Engineering Manager, Fonterra
  • Andrew Lamb, General Manager, Anago
  • Andrew Hilliard, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
  • Andrew Hunt, Professional Head Mechanical, KiwiRail
  • Craig Price, Chief Technical Officer, Beca
  • Dave Walters, Mechanical Engineer, Design at Work
  • Greg Morehouse, Managing Director, Motovated Design & Analysis
  • Madeleine Martin, Advisory Manager, Ernst & Young
  • Mathijs Nieuwenhuijsen, Mechanical Engineering Manager, Dynamic Controls
  • Michael Lee, Civil and Mechanical Engineering Manager, Mercury
  • Peter Tait, Reliability Engineer, Methanex New Zealand
  • Wayne Gray, Contractor, Winstone Pulp International

Formula Student is a student-run competition in which the university students design, construct and race a single-seat race car.  The University of Canterbury student teams have been rated among the best in the world in Formula Student motorsport, and regularly races in the Formula Student international competition in Australia, against student teams from around the globe.

At the latest Formula Student competition, held in Winton, Australia over the 6-10 Dec 2018, the University of Canterbury Motorsport (UCM) students secured first place in Business Presentation for their electric vehicle and the combustion car took home third place for Engineering Design. Read about the 2018 cars.  The electric race car is also the first four-wheel-drive electric race car to be built in New Zealand.

This is the first year the UCM students have designed and built two state-of-the-art race cars to enter in the highly competitive international event – one electric race car and the other driven by a more conventional combustion engine. Read the full article.

In March 2018, the team signed a generous sponsorship deal with world-renowned Triumph Motorcycles Limited. Read the full article.

The 2016 team designed an electric race car that made history in Melbourne in December by becoming the first electric race car to win a dynamic event at the Australasian Formula SAE competition, competing against more than 30 other university teams. Read the full article.

The 2015 car was painted in pink and blue, in tribute to the late Christchurch engineer and entrepreneur John Britten, who designed and built the famous Britten V1000 motorcycle. The team celebrated a podium finish in the 2015 competition in Melbourne, Australia. Read the full article.

Shell Eco-marathon 2018

‌UC Engineering students compete annually in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia competition in Singapore – a global event that attracts over 100 teams from tertiary institutes around the Asia-Pacific region.  The Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams around the world to design, build, test and drive ultra-energy-efficient vehicles.

In March 2018, the Eco-marathon team came home from Singapore triumphant, after beating more than 100 teams from 21 countries at the Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2018 event by winning the Technical Innovation Award.  Find about more about the award winning car.

In February 2018, the Eco-marathon team unveiled a world first - a 3D-printed titanium internal combustion engine, an amazing achievement.  Read more about the engine.

The team first competed in March 2017, in the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia competition, held each year in Singapore. The eco-marathon car had an electric motor and was fully recyclable.  Read more about the 2017 car. 

In 2017, their first ever entry, they won the Vehicle Design Award, a major achievement for first-time competitors!  Read more about their win.

Warman 2017 Final winners


The Warman Design and Build Competition is an annual competition for second-year mechanical engineering students. Students design and build a device to undertake a set task, with the winning UC team travelling to Australia to compete against other Australasian universities.

UC's Mechanical Engineering team won the Australiasian Warman competition in 2017. Read more here.

We've previously won the competition in 2000, 2005, and 2013.

UC's Mechanical Engineering team won the judge's Best Design Award and 3rd on the track in 2018, out of more than 3000 students competing for prizes.

UC Robotics Club

UC Robotics Club Logo

UC Robotics is a robotics club for University of Canterbury students, founded in 2017.  We engage with both competing in tournaments and mentoring high-school students in building, programming and driving robots.  We host regular VEX competitions for high-schools in the Canterbury Region.





UC Aerospace

The UC Aerospace club (formerly the University of Cantebury Rocketry Association) is a student-led club sponsored by the Dept of Mechanical Engineeering. We aim to develop aerospace activities on campus. We also host industry talks, where professionals from local aerospace-related businesses share their expertise with club members.




Make a difference in the world

Our undergraduates' creativity, skills and ingenuity are tested by industry, and even internationally, throughout their degrees. In diverse fields - from health care, agriculture, product development, energy, UAVs, materials, biomedical, manufacturing, sustainability, to the good of humanity - our students find innovative solutions to a broad range of industry needs and projects before they even enter the workforce. Their research and development partnerships with industry often lead to employment after graduation, and offer a taste of professional practice with the support of our internationally recognised staff.

Benefit from global expertise

Our academic staff are joined each year by experts from around the world who take part in teaching and research or as Erskine Fellows. Find out more about our past, present and future collaborations with visiting academics.

Stay connected after you graduate with UC Alumni

With great career prospects in a wide range of industries, our graduates are the leaders of the future. Keep in touch after you graduate and benefit from the extensive network of UC graduates working around the world. Our UC Alumni Chapter hosts events each year both in New Zealand and abroad. Find out more about the Mechanical Engineering Alumni network.

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