Mechanical engineers design and develop everything that is moving or has moving parts – from airplanes to wind turbines to dishwashers, as well as everything from macroscopic (large) down to nanoscopic (very small). Mechanical engineers are systematic thinkers with a sense of social responsibility that leads them to constantly seek better ways of doing things.
Many mechanical engineers specialise in areas such as materials, dynamics and controls, product design, manufacturing, energy and thermodynamics, and mechanics. Others cross over into other disciplines, working on everything from artificial organs in bioengineering to enhancing the field of nanotechnology.
The mechanical engineer may design a component, a machine, a system, or a process, and analyse their design using the principles of work, power, and energy to ensure the product functions safely, efficiently, reliably, and can be manufactured economically. Central to a mechanical engineer's role is the design and the use of information technology.
Minor in Biomedical Engineering
For students who want to have a biotechnology focus and work in the medical industry, the minor in Biomedical Engineering offers a programme specialising in designing, testing, and implementing medical products for use in hospitals and clinics, and includes industry project work in this area.
The first year of the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours is called the Engineering Intermediate Year. For Mechanical 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 Mechanical 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 electives.
- 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 Mechanical Engineering, you will study that discipline within the three professional years.
The First and Second Professional Years consist of compulsory courses dealing with the fundamentals of engineering science and design, and include courses on dynamics, mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, materials, controls, and manufacturing. Most courses in Mechanical Engineering consist of lectures supplemented by tutorials and laboratory classes.
Having developed a core skillset in engineering science and design, the Third Professional Year has more flexibility with a variety of elective subjects available to specialise the degree. Students select options in areas which are of particular interest to them. These include energy engineering, biomedical and bioengineering, computer-aided product development, robotics, aerodynamics, advanced materials, and acoustics, among others.
Research and Development Project
Additional to elective courses, Third Professional students take courses in mechanical system design, industrial management, and the Honours Research and Development Project. This unique industry project gives students the opportunity to apply their education and learn professional practice in industry-sponsored projects. These are conducted within the department under the joint supervision of staff members and an industry sponsor. Most projects are sourced from Aotearoa New Zealand industry; however, some come from large, well-known international firms. This experience gives our students an employability advantage.
Mechanical Engineering graduates are well equipped to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world by applying their creativity, scientific principles, and engineering skills to find solutions to technical problems. Mechanical engineers may work in areas such as:
- product design – design and analysis of tools, toys, sporting equipment, domestic appliances, computer-aided design, finite element analysis, environmental lifecycle of products
- power generation – wind and water turbines, internal combustion engines, fuels, alternative energy sources
- transport vehicles – cars, ships, aircraft, trains, unmanned vehicles
- medical technology – medical devices for operating theatres, implants, insulin control
- building services – heating, ventilation, air conditioning, energy use analysis, water treatment plant
- manufacturing – design of manufacturing equipment, robots, design of assembly plants, industrial engineering, production management, minimisation of waste, vibration and noise
- controls – automatic control of industrial plant, instrumentation, hydraulics, pneumatics
- materials – metallurgy, composites, polymers, structural failure, recycling.
The degree programme at UC has a strong focus on engineering design and professional relevance. The programme is internationally accredited, and our graduates have gone on to excel in leading technical innovation in many sub-fields.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Mechanical 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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