Diploma in Engineering - Civil Engineering

Otago Polytechnic

Program Description

Diploma in Engineering - Civil Engineering

Otago Polytechnic

Want to help shape the world by becoming a skilled and competent engineering technician in the civil profession?

Then this is the programme for you! Civil engineering graduates are important participants in the design, construction management and maintenance of civil works such as roads, dams, earthquake engineering, tunnelling, water and sewerage systems, and mining operations. They are responsible for the project management of these jobs, which may include efficiently managing the manpower, machinery, materials, money and environment. Civil engineering graduates can work internationally and New Zealand-trained engineering graduates have a good reputation worldwide. This diploma is recognised by the Institution of Professional Engineers in New Zealand (IPENZ).

Gain a sound knowledge, understanding and practical appreciation of civil engineering processes and theory, by developing your ability to apply learning in a practical and innovative way. 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. Employment opportunities may arise within construction companies, mining companies or local authorities, and with further experience you could even set your sights on becoming a civil engineering consultant or contractor.

Please note: Places are limited across all disciplines so early application is advisable.

All certificate and diploma qualifications are currently being reviewed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Qualification titles and content may be altered as a result of the review but any changes will be introduced and communicated over a transitional period so that there is minimal impact on students.

International fee: NZD 20,200 (first year)

Skills required

  • A passion for engineering and working outdoors
  • Good problem-solving ability
  • People skills
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to plan, organise and adapt.

Entry requirements

International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet diploma-level entry requirements.

If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0, with no band score less than 5.5.

Please note: If you don't meet the entry requirements for this programme, or have been out of learning for a while, enrol in our great Pre-engineering Bridging programme to improve your maths, science and writing skills.

Additional documentation

You must supply certified copies of proof of identify, academic records and proof of residency (where appropriate).

Selection procedure

Applicants are accepted using the entry criteria on a first-come, first-in basis with places limited to no more than 50 per year. Should the number of applicants exceed the available places, applicants will be placed on a waiting list in order of the date they applied. All applicants will be interviewed.

Additional costs

You are required to provide your own personal stationery and basic drawing instruments including:

  • Scientific calculator - Casio FX-82 is preferred
  • Pad of A4 lined writing paper
  • Pen
  • 2 GB Data Stick.

Compulsory Textbooks:

  • Basic Technical Mathematics with Calculus (Allyn J Washington) - approximately $100
  • Engineering Mechanics (Val Ivanoff) - approximately $100
  • Surveying for Engineers (Uren & Price) - approximately $135

Further study options

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

Programme specific risks

You are alerted to the requirement that you must be able to demonstrate an ability to work safely in all practical situations.

You will study

The New Zealand Diploma in Engineering has been designed to provide skilled and competent engineering technicians who:

  • Apply engineering theory to practice and competently perform technical operations to the standards, ethical and professional responsibilities required by the engineering profession
  • Have a knowledge sufficient to permit informed, rational decision making in a specialist field of engineering and to implement these decisions
  • Will work collaboratively with construction workers, clients, authorities, agencies, industry and other professionals to provide a comprehensive engineering service in the relevant specialist area
  • Have an understanding of all cultures and, in particular, an awareness and clear understanding of the tangata whenua and the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi and the Resource Management Act.

As these courses have a high practical content, relevant work experience would be an advantage. You will also learn through theoretical study and laboratory sessions.

Your workload

Your workload will be significant as assessment is continuous throughout the year with assignments issued regularly and end of semester exams. If you are studying full-time, you will be expected to undertake approximately 40 hours per week which consists of formal lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials and your own study time.

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.


What is the minimum/maximum age to apply?

There is no maximum age to apply, provided that you are a genuine student. Usually, students beginning their programmes are at least 18 years of age.

How long will my study take?

Undergraduate degrees are three years, diplomas are usually two years and certificates are one year. Graduate and postgraduate qualifications can take one to two years to complete.

What about international recognition?

All of our qualifications are recognised internationally. You are able to take your Otago Polytechnic undergraduate degree and apply to other national and international tertiary institutions for graduate and postgraduate study.

How much can I earn as a student?

Those students who are eligible to work while studying may get causal jobs in areas like hospitality or other service industries. Your hourly wage is likely to be between NZD$13-15.

What do I need for my student visa?

Your Otago Polytechnic Offer of Place letter. This letter means you have been accepted to study. It also states your course fee, which you must pay first to your nearest New Zealand embassy, consulate or immigration office. You will then receive a receipt of payment from us. You must submit these two documents (your Offer of Place and your receipt of fees), along with evidence that you have sufficient funds for living expenses, and a return international air ticket or evidence of sufficient funds to buy one, to your nearest New Zealand embassy, consulate or immigration office.

For programmes longer than 24 months, you will also need to provide very recent medical and x-ray certificates. If you are over 17 years of age, you will need a police certificate to show that you are of good character. See the New Zealand Immigration website for more details.

Streamlined visa applications now open!

If you are an international student who will apply for your student visa from outside of New Zealand, you might be eligible for the streamlined visa process offered by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). This allows your visa application to be processed faster by INZ because Otago Polytechnic nominates you as a suitable candidate (INZ will decide the outcome and the processing time).

Once you have received your Offer of Place from Otago Polytechnic, you may apply for a streamlined visa nomination letter from us. For more information and to submit an application, click here.

What happens when I finish my degree?

Students who have completed their degree in the normal time and have a job offer related to their studies can apply for a work visa for another two years. This entitles you to work in the job you have been offered, and may help you qualify for residence.

What about applying for New Zealand residency?

If you meet the requirements of the current immigration policy in New Zealand, it is possible for you to apply for residence at any time. Immigration policy encourages students who have completed their degree in New Zealand to apply for permanent residence.

Is there an application fee?


How long does it take to apply?

We suggest you apply at least three to four months before your programme starts so that you are organised to arrive on time.

What do I need to include in my application?

Your English language test results: IELTS, TOEFL or TOIEC. We also require certified copies of any academic results you have from your overseas high school or university. We may also require your curriculum vitae or a portfolio, depending on your programme entry requirements.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 23, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
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Feb. 2018
Mar. 2018
2 years
Part time
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20,200 NZD
New Zealand - Auckland
Start date: Mar. 2018
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New Zealand - Cromwell
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New Zealand - Dunedin
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Start date: July 2018
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Feb. 2018
New Zealand - Dunedin
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Mar. 2018
New Zealand - Cromwell
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New Zealand - Auckland
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July 2018
New Zealand - Dunedin
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NZD 20,200 (first year)