university of canterbury aerospace engineering

Aerospace engineering involves the design, development, testing, and production of aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems and equipment.

University Of Canterbury Aerospace Engineering

UC offers the only undergraduate Aerospace degree in Aotearoa, giving you early entry into the industry or towards advanced research.

Why study Aerospace Engineering at UC?

  • Practical courses, including an industry-sponsored final-year project.
  • Final-year projects sponsored and in collaboration with industry, such as Rocket Lab, Air New Zealand, Kea Aerospace, and Dawn Aerospace.
  • Join the growing aerospace industry in Aotearoa, with Ōtautahi Christchurch and UC as a central hub for research and innovation.
  • Take part in the UC Aerospace club and build your own rockets on campus.

uc mechanical engineering courses

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). They 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?


  • See all Mechanical Engineering courses

You may also choose to complete a minor alongside Mechanical Engineering in either Aerospace Engineering or 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, plus courses specific to Mechanical Engineering:

  • CHEM111 Chemical Principles and Processes
  • ENGR102 Engineering Mechanics

You also need to complete one other 100-level optional course. Check with a Student Advisor for suggested options.

More information:

  • To see what this degree will look like, view 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.

In the fourth year you will complete a unique industry project. 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, or from well-known international firms. This experience gives you an employability advantage.

Aerospace Engineering minor

For the minor in the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, complete the following courses:

  • ENME362 Aerospace Design Principles and Production Management
  • ENME408 Engineering Honours Research and Development Project
  • Two courses chosen from these options, or any approved 400-level Engineering courses

Plus complete the requirements for Mechanical Engineering

Career opportunities

Having a skillset in aerospace engineering will make you a great fit for a path in aviation, or you could go beyond our atmosphere and join the growing space industry.

Some career pathways could include:

  • Rocketry design
  • UAV design
  • Avionics Engineering
  • Defence Forces.

uc aerospace engineering

UC Aerospace1 resized

The UC Aerospace club (formerly the University of Cantebury Rocketry Association) is a student-led club sponsored by the Dept of Mechanical Engineeering.

The team competed in the inaugural Australian Universities Rocket Competition in April 2019, the only New Zealand team competing against 19 Australian university teams.  The student competition was part of the international Thunda Down Under 2019 event that included about 1200 rocket launches, watched by 5000 people in the Australian outback, with participants from the United States, Australia, India, Germany, Netherlands, England, and Japan.

The UC students’ aim was to get their rocket to as close to 30,000 feet as possible. First they had to design, build and launch a single-stage, high-powered rocket. Teams were scored on their design, the quality and innovation of their rocket, the rocket launch trajectory and the safe and accurate recovery. 

“UC’s team achieved the second best result with an apogee of 30,738 feet, narrowly bettered by RMIT University. We were the only team in the top three to recover an undamaged rocket. The University of Queensland had to dig 2.5m underground to recover theirs,” said Bruce Robertson (Faculty Advisor to the team).

“Due to Australian Civil Aviation Authority airspace restrictions imposed on the Thunda 2019 event, the team was unable to launch their two-stage ‘Into the Black’ rocket, which has the potential to reach space. Our team are currently reviewing options for a second space-shot attempt from New Zealand,” Robertson says.

Prior to the event their ‘Into the Blue’ high-powered rocket was successfully launched in NZ.  The purpose was to collect flight data to inform the second (competition) launch, and also to conduct an experiment in collaboration with the UC School of Biological Sciences. “While not the primary purpose of this launch, it also unofficially set a new altitude record for a student-built rocket launched from Australasia,” Robertson says. Read more at Canterbury researchers rocket into astrobiology  

The club also host industry talks, where professionals from aerospace-related business and organisations share their expertise with club members.

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