Programme overview

Explore civil engineering concepts, contract administration and construction practice. You'll gain a solid understanding of water engineering, structural engineering and road infrastructure, and perfect your civil and structural drafting skills.

There is great demand for technically trained engineers worldwide, in particular those with a specialisation, so the diploma allows you to focus on one of three areas:

  • Structures - the building of dams, bridges, high-rise buildings, viaducts and wharves.
  • Fluids - flood protection, harbour development, erosion control, water reticulation, stormwater and waste management.
  • Transportation - the design, construction and maintenance of roads, rail, sea and airport developments.


  • Unitec is the largest provider of civil engineering training in New Zealand at Diploma level.
  • Supported by the civil engineering industry, including the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).
  • A step towards IPENZ membership: once you've gained a suitable period of work experience as a qualified civil engineer at Diploma level, you'll be eligible for Associate Membership (AIPENZ).
  • Can serve as a pathway into graduate engineering qualifications.
  • Focus on real-world learning: observe the day-to-day activities of engineering sites, and take part in lab work, land surveying, and workshops.
  • A project where you tackle an engineering problem.
  • Visiting industry experts who will give you a real feel for the career opportunities available in civil engineering.
  • Cross-credits towards the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil) or Bachelor of Engineering (Civil).

Prepare for success

Well-prepared students have the best chance of success in their studies, so we've put together a free online guide so you can refresh and sharpen some of the skills you'll use on this programme.

    Admission requirements

    To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the general, or the discretionary, or the special admission requirements and they must also meet any programme-specific admission requirements. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and may be interviewed.

    Generic Admission Requirements

    General admission

    For Level 6 Diploma programmes applicants must have a total of 60 NCEA credits at level 2 in best 4 subjects, OR a maximum total of 16 in best 4 Sixth Form Certificate subjects, OR equivalent OR completion of an appropriate qualification at Level 3 or above.

    Special Admission

    Applicants must have:

    1. attained the age of 20 years on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the diploma is to commence; AND
    2. provided sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a successful outcome in the qualification.

    Discretionary Admission

    In exceptional cases an applicant who does not meet the general admission requirements and who has not reached the age of 20 on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the diploma is to commence may apply for discretionary admission.

    In assessing whether to grant discretionary admission in exceptional cases, the primary focus will be on the applicant’s level of preparedness for study at the required level.

    English Language Admission Requirements

    General English Language requirements

    Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard of English as demonstrated by a minimum of 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 in English (4 in Reading, 4 in Writing).

    English language requirements for international students

    Applicants must have at least ONE of the following:

    a) Gained NCEA level 3 and met New Zealand university entrance requirements;

    b) Clear evidence that they satisfy one of the following criteria for existing English proficiency:

    1. Previous primary and secondary study in English as evidenced by completion of one of the following at schools using English as the language of instruction:
      • Completion of all primary education and at least three years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13), or
      • Completion of at least five years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13)
    2. Previous tertiary study in English: clear evidence of completion of a tertiary qualification of at least three years’ duration with English as the language of instruction in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States.
    3. Achievement of the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)

    c) Achieved, within the preceding two years, at least one of the English proficiency outcomes listed below:

    1. NZ Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) (Academic) (Level 4)
    2. An overall IELTS band score (Academic Format) of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5. The IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form.
    3. An overall TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT) score of 550 (essay 5 TWE) OR an overall TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) Score of 60 (writing 20)
    4. First Certificate in English (FCE) with a pass at Grade B OR Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) with a score of 52 or higher under the Cambridge International standard tests of English as a foreign language
    5. Pearson Test of English PToE (Academic) with a score of 50
    6. City & Guilds Internal English for Speakers of Other Languages (IESOL) B2 Communicator with a score of 66.

    Programme Specific Admission Requirements

    To be admitted to this programme, applicants must also meet the requirements set out in this schedule.

    Specific Admission

    The General Admission requirements set out in the Diploma Generic Regulations do not apply to this programme. To be admitted to this programme, applicants must meet the following requirements:

    • a minimum total of 48 NCEA credits at level 2 in four subjects, including at least 12 credits in Mathematics (Algebra, Calculus and Trigonometry), or;
    • equivalent qualifications (e.g. International Baccalaureate or Cambridge), or;
    • equivalent credits from appropriate trades training and/or demonstrated skills and experience; or
    • a minimum of 8 literacy credits at level 1 or higher including a minimum of 4 reading and 4 writing; or
    • for students for whom English is a second language (including international students), an overall band score (Academic) of 6.0 IELTS, with no individual score less than 5.5 or equivalent.

    Special or Discretionary Admission

    An applicant who does not meet all of the entry criteria, may be given entry to the programme at the discretion of the Programme Committee/Head of Department where it is considered that the student has a reasonable chance of succeeding in the qualification.

    Courses and timetables

    The following courses are valid for 2016. The courses may be offered as part of the programme. Click on the course links below to see the course details and timetables.

    Engineering Fundamentals (ENGGDE4101) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce the basic fundamentals of a range of engineering disciplines.
    Engineering Mathematics 1 (ENGGDE4102) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop mathematical skills, concepts and understandings in order to perform calculations and solve problems within engineering contexts.
    Technical Literacy (ENGGDE4103) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop technical research skills along with oral, written, graphical and interpersonal communication skills.
    Materials (Civil) (ENGGDE4201) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce the fundamentals of geological and geomorphological processes and the properties and application of a range of civil engineering materials.
    Land Surveying 1 (ENGGDE4202) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To understand and apply the theoretical and practical concepts of Land Surveying
    Structures 1 (ENGGDE5201) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To analyse structural elements and simple structures, and to design simple beams.
    Civil and Structural Drawing (ENGGDE5202) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop skills required to produce civil-engineering and structural drawings.
    Hydraulics (Civil) (ENGGDE5203) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce the principles of fluid mechanics and apply them in civil engineering hydraulic applications.
    Highway Engineering 1 (ENGGDE5204) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce the fundamentals of road materials, road construction practices and road maintenance techniques, as well as the principles of drainage design.
    Geotechnical Engineering 1 (ENGGDE5207) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce the fundamentals of soil composition, the engineering properties of soils, and site investigation procedures.
    Engineering Management (ENGGDE6101) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop the knowledge and skills required to administer and manage projects effectively in a specific discipline of engineering
    Engineering Project (Civil) (ENGGDE6299) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To integrate and synthesise civil engineering knowledge in one or more project based learning experiences.
    Engineering Surveying (ENGGDE5205) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop further knowledge and understanding of surveying with specific reference to engineering applications.
    Structures 2 (ENGGDE5206) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop further knowledge of structural analysis and structural design.
    Geotechnical Engineering 2 (ENGGDE6201) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop further knowledge of the principles and practice of geotechnical engineering.
    Highway Engineering 2 (ENGGDE6202) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop analytical and evaluation skills for use in structural analysis and design.
    Traffic Engineering (ENGGDE6203) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce traffic engineering concepts and fundamentals.
    Structures 3 (ENGGDE6204) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To evaluate the requirements of, and design water-, wastewater- and storm water reticulation systems.
    Water and Wastewater Systems (ENGGDE6205) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To evaluate the requirements of, and design water-, wastewater- and storm water reticulation systems.
    Water and Waste Management (ENGGDE6206) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop knowledge and understanding of drinking water quality control parameters and treatment methods, and of current and emerging treatment technologies for liquid and solid wastes.
    Land Surveying 2 (ENGGDE6207) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop further land surveying knowledge and skills.
    Geotechnical Engineering B (ENGGMG6045) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to apply the principles & practice of foundation engineering in professional contexts.
    Civil Engineering Construction Practices (ENGGMG6106) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to develop an understanding of the practical aspects of sound civil engineering practice.