Fire Engineering - Civil & Natural Resources Engineering - Universityof Canterbury

About Fire Engineering

What is Fire Engineering?

It is the art and science of designing buildings and facilities for life safety and property protection in the event of an unwanted fire.

Fire Engineering includes understanding the behaviour of fires and smoke, the behaviour of people exposed to fires and the performance of burning buildings, as well as the impact of fire protection systems including detection, alarm and sprinkler systems.

Fire Engineering has become a growth industry in New Zealand since the 1991 introduction of the Building Act which allows assessment of building fire safety by rational engineering methods. The New Zealand "performance-based-code" is one of the most advanced in the world.

View videos and interviews on fire engineering research

Postgraduate Programme

The entry requirement into the post-graduate programme is a generally a B.E. degree in Chemical, Civil, Mechanical or Electrical engineering. Around 7 to 12 students graduate from the programme each year. We offer four qualifications:

The Post-graduate Certificate (PGCert) in Fire Engineering is a taught only qualification requiring a combination of four 400 and 600 level fire engineering courses. All new part-time students start in this qualification and are upgraded to a Masters programme if they wish subject to their progress. The full-time programme can be completed in six months and the part-time programme takes two years.

The Masters of Engineering Studies (MEngSt) in Fire Engineering qualification requires eight courses of which two will normally be a project and six a combination of 400 and 600 level fire engineering taught courses. The full-time programme can be completed in one year and the part-time programme takes three to four years.

The Masters of Engineering in Fire Engineering (MEFE) requires six 600 level fire engineering courses and the completion of a thesis. This programme is only offered as a full-time option and typically takes 16 – 20 months to complete.

The PhD qualification is a research-only qualification. The full-time programme takes at least three years and the part-time programme takes at least five years of advanced study.

If you require further information please check out the programme structure chart or contact any of the fire engineering staff including Leigh Davidson (postgrad administrator).


We have 2 full-time staff members

Other staff from civil, mechanical and chemical engineering also contribute to various courses and research projects.