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Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand: A Complete Guide for International Students

Sonal Vaid Sonal Vaid
Study Abroad Expert

Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand is a 1-1.5 year course that provides professional practice and knowledge in infrastructure design and analysis. Available as a full-time or a part-time program at top universities in New Zealand, masters in civil engineering are offered under different disciplines like Master of Civil Engineering, Master of Engineering Studies, Master of Engineering, etc.

  • Students with bachelor's in engineering or a postgraduate diploma in similar fields are eligible to apply for the program.
  • The total tuition fees for the program ranges between 38,000 NZD to 45,000 NZD to study in New Zealand.
  • The starting annual salary of any individual with masters in civil engineering in New Zealand is 60,000 NZD- 70,000 NZD. 

Why Study Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand?

New Zealand’s higher education system was ranked 16th around the world in the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings 2018. The high-quality academic system makes this country one of the most desired study abroad destinations among international students. In the current times, New Zealand has also proved its presence within the world by successfully defeating COVID-19, which has resulted in a rise of international student population shift towards the country. 

  • According to QS Rankings 2020, the Civil and Structural Engineering courses offered by the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury rank among the world's top 50.
  • As most engineering courses in New Zealand have the benchmark of the country’s professional engineering body, Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, engineering degrees is recognized worldwide.
  • Institution of Professional Engineers in New Zealand states, that civil engineers are among the types of engineers where the country is short of professional labor.
  • According to reports by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the projected growth in the construction-related industry is expected to be 571,000 by 2022.
  • Civil engineering professionals are expected to be the third-largest occupation in demand within the construction-related industry with 12% growth by 2022. The graph below represents the rise in new jobs available for civil engineers:
Demand for Civil Engineer Professionals across New Zealand
  • Civil, environmental, geotechnical, and structural engineers appear on New Zealand Immigration’s Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) and Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL). This states that there is a critical shortage of such occupations in the country. 
  • According to the census, 8,430 civil engineers worked in the country in 2018.
  • Rebuilding the city of Christchurch following the 2011 earthquakes has created a huge demand for engineers – particularly structural engineers.

All these statistics reveal the need for civil engineering professionals in New Zealand’s labor market that would offer more employment opportunities. 

Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand: Top Universities

In New Zealand individuals with a master's degree in Civil Engineering earns 83% more than someone with a bachelor's degree. Four universities in New Zealand offer masters in Civil Engineering under various programs. The table below shows the universities offering graduate civil engineering degrees along with their duration and fees:

University NameQS Civil Engg. Rankings 2020Program NameCourse Duration (in years)Total Tuition Fee (in NZD)
University of Auckland39Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering1-1.542,814
Master of Engineering Studies- Civil Engineering/ Construction Management/ Geotechnical Engineering
University of Canterbury#51-100Master of Civil Engineering44,000
Master of Engineering Studies in Civil Engineering/ Construction Management
Auckland University of Technology--Master of Engineering in Construction Management140,453
Master of Engineering1-1.539,655
Massey University--Master of Construction (Construction Project Management)138,910

** The University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury offer a few other courses in related subjects such as Master of Urban Design(Principle), Master of Transportation Engineering, Master of Earthquake Engineering, etc related to structural planning. Interested students can look for the details on university website. 

Civil Engineering courses are available in three different pathways in New Zealand:

  • Research Pathway- 60 credits of the courses (Part One) & 120 credits for research (Part Two).
  • Professional Pathway- 120 credits for courses (Part One) & 60 credits for professional experience (Part Two).
  • For the 120 credit course: This is a completely thesis-based course of 120 points.

Course Highlights

Degree TypeMaster of Civil Engineering(MCivilEng),
Master of Engineering Studies(MEngSt),
Master of Engineering(ME)
Duration1 - 1.5 year
EligibilityBachelors or diploma in similar fields and English language proficiency
Program Fee38,000 NZD to 45,000 NZD
Starting Annual Salary60,000 NZD
Job ProfileCivil Engineer/ Structural Engineer/ Project Manager, Construction/ Geotechnical Engineer/ Transportation Engineer

Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand: Admission Process

Admission applications at New Zealand universities for international students are usually available between February and September. Students can apply for admissions either online or through a university agent in respective home countries.

Eligibility for Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand

The basic admission requirements for masters in civil engineering in New Zealand include:

  • Bachelor of Engineering or equivalent degree in a relevant field with a GPE score of more than 5.0 on a scale of 9.0 which is equivalent to a B grade or 70-79%.
  • Previous work experience (not mandatory in all courses).
  • Proof of English proficiency through one of the exams such as- 
    • IELTS- a minimum score of 6.5 overall (no band less than 6.0)
    • TOEFL(iBT)- a minimum score of 90 overall (minimum score of 19 in reading, writing and listening)
    • PTE- a minimum score of 58 overall (minimum 50 in communicative skills)

NOTE- For admissions to Master of Construction by Massey University, applicants are required to have a minimum of 2 years of approved professional experience in the Construction Sector.

Documents Required

International students are asked to provide various documents along with the application to the university. In general, the documents required for masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand are briefed below:

  • Completed application form
  • Academic transcripts from all educational institutions attended with their English translation
  • Scores of English language proficiency through one of the standardized exams to study in New Zealand
  • Letter of recommendation
  • A resume showing all relevant work experience
  • Copy of passport

Student Visa to New Zealand

International students looking for studies in New Zealand require a student visa for a full-time study. The application process for a student visa to New Zealand is quite simple and fast. The entire process takes about 25- 30 days. Below given is the list of documents that one needs to provide at the time of application.

  • Offer of place from a university in New Zealand
  • English Proficiency Test score
  • Copy of passport
  • Health Insurance
  • Evidence of adequate funds needed during their stay in New Zealand
  • Travel Insurance
  • Proof of leaving New Zealand when the course ends

For visa interview students are required to visit the New Zealand Embassy in respective home countries. It should be noted that lack of sufficient funds, previous criminal records or misleading data in any documents may lead to the cancelation of visa application.

    Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand: Cost of Study

    The cost of studying abroad can be divided into three categories - pre-arrival costs, tuition, and living expenses. The total cost might vary depending on the university, type of accommodation, living standards, etc. Below given estimates will give you a rough picture of expected expenses for pursuing a degree from New Zealand.

    Pre-arrival Costs to New Zealand

    Pre-arrival costs to New Zealand include one-time charges such as application fee for a student visa to New Zealand, flight ticket, application fee, exam fees, etc. The table below shows the estimated pre-arrival expenses: 

    Type of ExpenseCost (in NZD)
    New Zealand Visa Fees346.08 (330 + 16.08 - Centre fees)
    IELTS Fees420
    TOEFL Fees410
    PTE Fees385
    Application Fees35-50

    Tuition Fees for Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand

    Since there are very few New Zealand universities that offer a masters in civil engineering, students do not have much choice when it comes to universities. The tuition fees for the program range from 38,000 NZD to 44,000 NZD for the full program duration. For an Indian student who wants to study masters in civil engineering in New Zealand, this cost approximates around 18 lakhs to 21 lakhs INR, for completion of the degree. To bear this amount, you can apply for scholarships available to study in New Zealand, if required.  

    Cost of Living in New Zealand

    The cost of living in New Zealand is quite stiff, statistically speaking it is 126% higher than that of India. Wellington, Auckland, and Queenstown are some of the pretty expensive cities to live in. But living in New Zealand is manageable if you plan your costs wisely. The total living cost is influenced by various factors such as city, rental charges, and travel.

    Average Cost of Living in Different Cities of New Zealand: Cost of accommodation varies depending on which city you are choosing. The graph below represents the cost of living in various cities in New Zealand:

    Cost of Living in New Zealand

    Other Average Expenses: While studying in New Zealand, the biggest financial concern is the rent. Besides that, there are other expenses like food, transportation, medical expenses, etc. that one needs to take care of. Here’s a brief list of such expenses.

    Types of ExpensesAverage Monthly Expenditure(in NZD)
    Phone & Internet50
    Medical Expenses50-100
    Miscellaneous Expenses100

    Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand: Scholarships

    Pursuing a degree in New Zealand can be expensive due to the high living cost and tuition fees. The overall expenses can reach up to 50,000 NZD or 24 lakhs INR. International students may require financial aid for funding their studies abroad. There are various scholarships available to international students in New Zealand that are offered by university or the government. The table below contains information on a few popular graduate scholarships for studies in New Zealand.

    ScholarshipApplicable forScholarship Amount(in NZD)
    University of Auckland International Student Excellence ScholarshipPG program for University of Auckland(Merit-Based)6,600
    Paul Foundation ScholarshipsPG programs in universities of New Zealand20,174
    Bill Miller Engineering ScholarshipPG in engineering courses in University of Auckland6,000
    JN Tata Endowment ScholarshipInternational students in masters degree in New ZealandVariable
    AUEA Braithwaite-Thompson Graduate Research AwardME in Engineering in University of Auckland10,000
    Bharat Petroleum ScholarshipIndian students pursuing masters degree in New ZealandVariable

    Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand: Scope

    In New Zealand opportunities for civil engineers are good due to a shortage of workers, and high demand for their services. Civil engineers, environmental engineers, geotechnical engineers, and structural engineers appear on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list. 

    Civil engineers plan, organize and oversee the building and maintenance of structures such as dams, bridges, sewerage systems and roads. In New Zealand, a fresher in the field of civil engineering usually earns 60,000 NZD-70,000 NZD per year. Whereas, senior civil engineers usually earn 120,000 NZD-200,000 per year.

    Students with Civil engineering degrees can find jobs in New Zealand for:

    • Private engineering consultancies
    • Regional and local government authorities
    • Government agencies such as the New Zealand Transport Agency
    • Construction firms and property developers
    • Infrastructure and utility companies such as railway and electricity companies.

    Given below is a table containingjob roles and expected salary range for Civil Engineers in New Zealand:

    Job ProfileAverage Annual Salary (in NZD)
    Civil Engineer222,000
    Field Engineer215,000
    Geotechnical Engineer255,000
    Project Engineer228,000
    Field Engineer Manager270,000
    Structural Engineer226,000
    Transportation Engineer230,000
    Structural Designer189,000
    Structural Analysis Engineer211,000

    Post Study Work Visa

    If a candidate wishes to work after completion of their course, they can opt for either one of the following visas:

    • Post-study work visa (open): permits students to work with any employer post-graduation for a period of 1 month.
    • Post-study visa (employee assisted): with this visa, one may work for up to 2 years if the job is relevant.

    New Zealand is home to a few prestigious universities offering masters in Civil Engineering. High-quality education and the increasing demand for skilled professionals in the field of civil engineering makes New Zealand a popular choice of study among international students. A rise in the overall international student population is also expected post COVID-19, as the country has been successfully able to beat the disease. Students pursuing masters in civil engineering in New Zealand can not only look forward to the quality education but also to the medical facilities available.  


    Ques. What is the duration of a Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand?

    Ans. Duration of pursuing Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand differs with the choice of degree program. Generally, the program duration varies from 1- 1.5 years. 

    Ques. What are the eligibility criteria for applying for Masters in Civil Engineering?

    Ans. The minimum eligibility criteria for Masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand is an undergraduate engineering degree in a related subject. Average GPA of 4.0-5.0 or Grade B is accepted in the universities of New Zealand.

    Ques. What are the English proficiency tests accepted in the universities of New Zealand?

    Ans. IELTS, TOEFL, PTE are the language proficiency tests accepted at universities of New Zealand. The average cut off for admissions to masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand is IELTS-6.5; TOEFL (iBT)-90; or PTE- 58.

    Ques. Are there scholarships available for international students pursuing MS in Civil Engineering in New Zealand?

    Ans. Yes, there are plenty of scholarships available for international students. There are various university and Government funded scholarships for international students. A few of the scholarships include Bill Miller Engineering Scholarship, JN Tata Endowment Scholarship, University of Auckland International Student Excellence Scholarship, etc.

    Ques. Can international students work while studying in New Zealand?

    Ans. Yes, international students can work while pursuing their respective studies. The New Zealand government allows international students to work up to a maximum of 20 hours a week during academic sessions. You may be allowed to work for even 40 hours during summer break.

    Ques. What is the salary range for individuals with masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand?

    Ans. In New Zealand a fresher in the field of civil engineers with masters usually earns 60,000NZD-70,000 NZD per year.

    Ques. Where can I study masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand?

    Ans. You can pursue a masters in civil engineering in New Zealand at University of Auckland, University of Canterburry, Massey University, and Auckland University of Technology.

    Ques. What is the cost to study masters in Civil Engineering in New Zealand?

    Ans. The tuition fees for the complete program ranges betwee 38,000-44,000 NZD, which equals 18-21 Lakhs INR. Additionally, the cost of living ranges between 1000 to 3000 NZD 49,000 to 1 Lakh INR.  

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