New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Civil Engineering)

This is a practical programme using real-life scenarios as part of your learning. Graduates of this qualification may find career opportunities with local authorities, construction companies, mining companies or civil engineering consultancies. Employers often headhunt directly from this programme.

About the programme

Shape the world. Become a Civil Engineering Technician.

Civil Engineers work on the design, construction management, and maintenance of civil works such as roads, dams, earthquake engineering, water, and sewerage systems. Civil engineering graduates are responsible for the project management of these jobs and often work internationally as New Zealand graduates have a good reputation worldwide.

There is presently a significant shortage of trained civil engineer technicians, particularly in roading. This shortage is expected to become more acute in the short term so your skills and experience will be highly sought after.

Accredited by Engineering New Zealand, this practical programme meets the standards required for the Dublin and Sydney International Engineering accords - meaning it's highly respected and recognised nationally and internationally.  

Studying in our first-rate facilities and learning from experienced lecturers using real-life scenarios, you'll gain a great understanding of engineering processes and theory. Initial courses include Engineering Fundamentals and Engineering Mathematics and then you'll branch out into specialty courses such as Land Surveying, Civil and Structural Drawing, Hydraulics and Geotechnical Engineering. 

Graduates of this qualification may find career opportunities with local authorities, construction companies, mining companies, or civil engineering consultancies. Employers often seek new staff directly from our programme. 

Alternatively, you could move into our Bachelor of Engineering Technology to deepen your learning and widen your career options. 

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We offer this programme part-time, studied over four years (but this can also be flexible). Our July intake is only available part-time.


Course Title Level Credits
Year One (Compulsory)    
DE4101 Engineering Fundamentals 4 15
DE4102 Engineering Mathematics 1 4 15
DE4103 Technical Literacy 4 15
DE4201 Materials (Civil) 4 15
DE4202 Land Surveying 1 4 15
DE5201 Structures 1 5 15
DE5202 Civil and Structural Drawing 5 15
DE5207 Geotechnical Engineering 1 5 15
Year Two (Compulsory)    
DE5203 Hydraulics (Civil) 5 15
DE5204 Highway Engineering 1 5 15
DE6101 Engineering Management 6 15
DE6102 Engineering Project (Civil) 6 15
Electives (Select four - only one can be Level 5)    
DE5205 Engineering Surveying 5 15
MG6046 Structures 2 (Bachelor)  6 15
DE6201 Geotechnical Engineering 2 6 15
DE6202 Highway Engineering 2 6 15
DE6203 Traffic Engineering 6 15
DE6205 Water and Waste Systems 6 15
DE6206 Water and Waste Management 6 15
Programme Total   240

Please note: Alternatives to those listed above may be available following consultation with the Programme Manager. Subjects offered subject to minimum class numbers.

Skills you'll gain

All courses within this qualification contribute towards the skills, knowledge, and attributes of the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering qualification and the Engineering Technician as recognised by the International Engineering Dublin Accord.

At the completion of this Diploma, all graduates will be able to:

Differentiating characteristic Dublin Accord - New Zealand Diploma in Engineering Graduate
Engineering knowledge Apply knowledge of mathematics, natural science, engineering fundamentals, within a specialist discipline to wide practical procedures and practices
Problem analysis Identify and analyse well-defined problems reaching substantiated conclusions using codified methods of analysis specific to the specialist field
Design development of solutions Design solutions for well-defined technical problems and assist with design of systems, components or processes to meet specified needs with appropriate consideration for public health and safety, cultural and societal and environmental considerations
Investigation Conduct investigations of well-defined problems, locate and search relevant codes and catalogues, conduct standard tests and measurements
Modern tool usage Apply appropriate techniques, resources, and modern engineering and IT tools to well-defined engineering problems with an awareness of the limitations
Engineer and society Demonstrate knowledge of the societal, health, safety, legal and cultural issues and the consequent responsibilities relevant to engineering technician practice and solutions to well-defined engineering problems
Environment and sustainability Understand and evaluate the sustainability and impact of engineering technician work in the solution of well-defined engineering problems in societal and environmental contexts
Ethics Understand and commit to professional ethics and responsibilities and norms of technical practice
Individual and teamwork Function effectively as an individual, and as a team member in diverse technical teams
Communication Communicate effectively on well-defined engineering activities with the engineering community and society at large, by being able to comprehend the work of others, document their own work, and give and receive clear instructions
Project management and finance Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of engineering management principles, apply these to ones’ own work, as a member or leader in a technical team and manage projects in a multidisciplinary environment
Lifelong learning Recognise the need for, and have the ability to engage in independent updating in the context of specialised technical knowledge

Further study options

Upon successful completion of this qualification, there are opportunities for you to move into the Bachelor of Engineering Technology at Otago Polytechnic or engineering degree programmes at either Canterbury or Auckland Universities. Completion of the New Zealand Diploma in Civil Engineering can reduce the length of these degrees by a year and a half, or with appropriate experience, two years on application.

We are part of Te Pūkenga

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.