UCanterbury vs UoA for engineering degree?


Hi there,

I’m tossing up between these 2 universities. Obviously, UoA is ranked higher, but it appears the UC is also quite a strong engineering school.

Any thoughts?


In my personal opininion I would select either university for other reasons than the strength of their engineering faculties. Both universities have highly reputable engineering schools, and ultimately you will leave university with the same degree. They both have some well recognised lecturers with some outstanding equipment that will place you well both nationally and internationally.

Instead, I believe you should choose the university you believe you will ‘fit in’ better at. Aside from getting your degree, university is meant to be some of the best years of your life, so choosing the city/campus you think will maximise this is probably a good idea. If you still have the opportunity, head along to each open day and get a feel for the campus. Talk to people who attend both universities and get and idea of their impressions of each university. But at the end of the day I think you will find that most people enjoy the university they are at!

From my understanding, both faculties are experiencing upgrades in facilities (UoA is building a completely new engineering building and UC has continual developments post earthquake). Both universities have a high propertion of foreign students. Living costs are lower in christchurch than Auckland and its easier to live closer to campus. Both universities have good first year Halls of Residence. Obviously both cities have different climates and attractions. I could keep going on but you probably have a fair idea of the two cities yourself.

If you are still interested in comparing the engineering faculties, I would suggest comparing the specialisations you are interested in. For example, if you think you want to do environmental engineering, then UC has a well run Natural Resources programme, where as UoAs Environmental programme is poorly organised in my opinion.

So ultimately it’s up for you to decide for yourself. No one can tell you what university to go to and not many people would have studied engineering at both universities. Choose the campus you think you will get the most bemefit from, be it socially or academically.

Disclaimer: I have just finished my third year of civil engineering at UoA and also have friends studying engineering at UC so whilst I have a reasonable idea of the comparisons, I have not actually experienced both Universities myself.


I’m just finishing up my third year of software engineering at UC and call me biased but I reckon Canterbury is the way to go. I live in Auckland and so spend a fair amount of time up there during holidays so I’ve seen quite a bit of the uni/halls/flats up here and a fair few of my mates go to UoA so I’ve heard a bit about it from them.

In terms if the engineering courses themselves they seem pretty even and the main difference I guess would be the different specializations you can go into. Auckland doesn’t have natural resource or forest engineering and UC doesn’t have biomedical. If I remember correctly from when I applied, the marks you need to get in order to get into first year are higher at Auckland but there is little to no cutoff to get into second year. Christchurch is the opposite and it’s easier to get into first year but then you need better marks to get into second yea (or get your into your first choice specialization) so that could affect your decision depending on how you feel about your school results vs how you’re gonna do in 1st year.

One reason I would choose UC is the accommodation, all of the halls down there are super close to uni and I have yet to hear of anyone who didn’t enjoy their time in halls. There is a bit of variety in the halls as well so you can choose a hall that suits you. It’s not too difficult finding flats close to the uni and from what I’ve heard even the nicer flats in chch are cheaper than some of the pretty rundown ones up in Auckland.

Other than that, I think UC has a way bigger club presence and there are a heap of really cool events throughout the year organised by the various clubs which is really fun to meet people and try some new things. Personally I recommend UCCC (the white water kayaking club), they’re a friendly bunch and do some great entry level kayaking trips as well as more social oriented events if kayaking isn’t for you.

Christchurch is colder but generally rains less, you are super close to the ski fields and Arthurs pass which makes for some great adventures.

Good luck kiddo wherever you go.