Postgraduate study in Geotechnical Engineering

What can you study in Geotechnical Engineering?

Our Master of Engineering Studies in Geotechnical Engineering is designed for students with an academic engineering background who are intending to advance their understanding of soil mechanics and rock mechanics in relation to geotechnical challenges.

New Zealand is a stimulating country in which to practise geotechnical engineering, with its young and varied geology, seismic activity and diverse rainfall patterns. Many unique problems occur here as a result, and these present challenges that require innovative and novel solutions.

Some of the research areas and course topics include:

  • Computational geotechnical engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering in Professional Practice
  • Ground Improvements and Geosynthetics Engineering
  • Engineering seismology and dynamic site response
  • Advanced mathematical modelling
  • Foundational Engineering

Entry requirements for Master of Engineering Studies in Geotechnical Engineering

  • Before applying for this programme, please ensure that you meet the entry requirements for the Master of Engineering Studies.
  • To be admitted to this programme, you should have completed the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Civil & Environmental Engineering with a knowledge of geomechanics to the level of CIVIL 324 - Geomechanics 3.

Important requirements for international students

  • All international applicants should ensure that they meet all the programme’s entry requirements. You should only proceed with your application if your GPA matches or exceeds the requirements for your country listed in the engineering programme of your choice. Please do not apply if your GPA is below the minimum entry requirements, but consider the alternative study options that may be offered as a pathway into your preferred programme.
  • You are strongly advised to consider visa application times. Please be aware of the student visa processing times in your home country and submit the documentation needed well ahead of the Faculty of Engineering's programme application deadlines. For processing times, contact the New Zealand High Commission/Embassy or your education agent.
  • Applicants for a second masters degree need to be aware that additional assessment requirements will take extra time. The Faculty of Engineering must assess your previous masters degree courses to ensure that they do not overlap with courses in the University of Auckland programme that you have expressed interest in. You must therefore allow more time for your application to be processed, and be aware that further documentation may be required. Submit your application well in advance of the deadline if this is your situation, as you may also need to take visa application times into account.

Structuring your postgraduate programme in Geotechnical Engineering

The MEngSt is a 120-point taught programme comprised of the following courses:

Compulsory:

  • Semesters One and Two:
    • CIVIL 751 Experimental Geotechnical Engineering (15 points)
    • CIVIL 752 Computational Geotechnical Engineering (15 points)

Electives:

At least 15 points from:

  • Summer School:
    • CIVIL 725 Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (15 points)
  • Semester One:
    • CIVIL 720 Earthquake Engineering (15 points)
  • Semester Two:
    • CIVIL 702 Design of Earthquake Resistant Foundations (15 points)

Up to 60 points from:

  • Semester One
    • CIVIL 701 Studies in Civil Engineering 1 (15 points)
    • CIVIL 721 Foundation Engineering (15 points)
    • CIVIL 722 Slope Engineering (15 points)
    • ENGSCI 711 Advanced Mathematical Modelling (15 points)
    • ENVENG 746 Surface Water Quality Modelling (15 points)
  • Semester Two
    • CIVIL 726 Engineering Geology (15 points)
    • CIVIL 728 Geotechnical Engineering in Professional Practice (15 points)
    • CIVIL 741 Ground Improvements and Geosynthetics Engineering (15 points)

At least 15 points but no more than 30 points from:

  • Semester One:
    • EARTHSCI 771 Advanced Engineering Geology (15 points)
  • Semester Two
    • EARTHSCI 705 Geohazards (15 points)

Where can postgraduate study in Geotechnical Engineering take you?

This programme aims to enhance your ability to practice in New Zealand’s challenging geotechnical engineering environment. By familiarising you with the unique challenges presented in the New Zealand industry, the courses will prepare you for roles in planning, constructing, maintaining, and managing the country’s geotechnical infrastructure. The course also provides valuable background expertise if you wish to pursue careers in asset management or in research and development fields.

You will be taught principles of soil and rock mechanics, which could lead to roles where you:

  • Investigate subsurface conditions and materials
  • Determine the relevant physical/mechanical and chemical properties of these materials and evaluate the stability of natural slopes and man-made soil deposits
  • Assess risks posed by site conditions
  • Design earthworks and structure foundations

Help and advice

For general student enquiries, please contact the Engineering Student Centre.

If you would like further academic information, you can contact a Postgraduate Adviser.