University Of Canterbury Mechanical Engineering

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.

Why study Mechanical Engineering at UC?

  • Our students take part in a variety of research and development (R&D) projects with industry sponsors, ranging from industrial design manufacturing, biomedical applications, UAVs, and more.
  • UC hosts the Centre for Bioengineering, which collaborates with industry to conduct innovative research in biomedical and bioengineering areas which are adopted internationally.
  • The Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Mechanical Engineering is fully accredited by Engineering New Zealand.


UC offers Mechanical Engineering as a discipline within the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours.

Students may also choose to complete a minor alongside their discipline in Biomedical Engineering.

First year

The first year of the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours is made up of:

Six compulsory courses taken by all Engineering students:

  • ENGR 100 Engineering Academic Skills
  • ENGR 101 Foundations of Engineering
  • EMTH 118 Engineering Mathematics 1A
  • EMTH 119 Engineering Mathematics 1B
  • COSC 131 Introduction to Programming for Engineers
  • PHYS 101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves, Electromagnetism and Thermal Physics

Plus courses specific to Mechanical Engineering:

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes
  • ENGR 102 Engineering Mechanics

In addition you must complete one other 100-level optional course. Check with the College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha Student Advisor for suggested options.

More information:

  • To see how this qualification is structured, see the degree diagram on the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours page.
  • For guidance on how to structure your first year, visit the Engineering First Year webpage.

2nd–4th years

Once you have completed the first year and successfully applied for entry into Mechanical Engineering, you will study that discipline within the next three years.

Most courses in Mechanical Engineering consist of lectures supplemented by tutorials and laboratory classes.

Fourth-year students will complete a unique industry project. This course 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.

Second year

  • ENME 199 Workshop Training Course for Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
  • ENGR 200 Engineering Work Experience
  • ENME 201 Design Communication
  • ENME 202 Stress, Strain and Deformation in Machine Elements
  • ENME 203 Dynamics and Vibrations
  • ENME 207 Materials Science and Engineering
  • ENME 215 Engineering Thermodynamics
  • ENME 221 Engineering Design and Manufacture
  • EMTH 210 Engineering Mathematics 2
  • EMTH 271 Mathematical Modelling and Computation 2

Third year

  • ENME 301 Engineering Design and Production Quality
  • ENME 302 Computational and Applied Mechanical Analysis
  • ENME 303 Controls and Vibrations
  • ENME 307 Performance of Engineering Materials
  • ENME 311 Engineering Design and Production Management
  • ENME 313 Electro Technology for Mechanical Engineers
  • ENME 314 Fluid Mechanics
  • ENME 315 Heat Transfer

Fourth year

  • ENME 401 Mechanical Systems Design
  • ENME 408 Honours Research and Development Project
  • ENME 418 Engineering Management and Professional Practice for Mechanical Engineers

Plus four courses chosen from:

  • ENGR 401 Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • ENME 402 Acoustics and Vibrations
  • ENME 403 Linear Systems Control and System Identification
  • ENME 404 Aerodynamics and Ground Vehicle Dynamics
  • ENME 405 Energy Systems Engineering
  • ENME 406 Engineering Product Design and Analysis
  • ENME 407 Advanced Materials Science and Engineering
  • ENME 409 Physiological Modelling
  • ENME 411 Advanced Mechanical System Design
  • ENME 417 Advanced Composite, Polymeric and Ceramic Materials
  • ENME 423 Instrumentation and Sensors
  • ENME 427 Engineering Failure Analysis and Prevention
  • ENME 480 Independent Course of Study
  • ENMT 482 Robotics
  • MDPH 401 Anatomy and Physiology
  • Any approved 400-level Engineering course

Career opportunities

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.

Contact us

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Phone +64 3 369 2229 
Email [email protected]

See the Department’s website for up-to-date location details.

Postal address 
College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha 
Private Bag 4800 
Christchurch 8140 
New Zealand