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.
- UC is ranked 8th in the world for Civil Engineering (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2019), and in the top 100 universities in the world for Civil and Structural Engineering (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2019).
- The Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Civil Engineering is fully accredited by Engineering New Zealand.
- We have world-class engineering facilities including a new structural engineering lab.
- See the Engineering subject page for many other reasons why UC's College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha is a world-class destination for engineering studies.
Intermediate Year courses (first year)
The first year of the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours is called the Engineering Intermediate Year. For Civil Engineering students, this is made up of:
Five compulsory courses taken by all Engineering students:
- ENGR 100 Engineering Academic Skills (0 points, no fees)
- ENGR 101 Foundations of Engineering
- EMTH 118 Engineering Mathematics 1A
- EMTH 119 Engineering Mathematics 1B
- PHYS 101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves and Thermal Physics
Plus courses specific to Civil Engineering:
- CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes
- EMTH 171 Mathematical Modelling and Computation
- ENGR 102 Engineering Mechanics
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 | Te Rāngai Pūkaha Student Advisor for suggested elective/s.
- To see how this qualification is structured, see the degree diagram on the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours page.
- See the Regulations for the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Intermediate Year.
- For guidance on how to structure your Intermediate Year, visit the Intermediate Year webpage.
The Professional Years
Once you have completed the Engineering Intermediate Year and successfully applied for entry into Civil Engineering, you will study that discipline within the three professional years.
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. Written and oral presentations are key components of many courses. Lecturers place a heavy emphasis on the importance of good communication skills.
There are excellent career opportunities for civil engineers, with a strong demand for graduates in Aotearoa 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, fire, or environmental fields.
Some UC civil engineering graduates go on to run their own companies, enter into partnerships, or become researchers for government agencies or business.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Civil Engineering.
See the Department's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
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