Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says he has asked Canterbury's three main tertiary providers to examine all possible options, including mergers, as they look towards the next 20 years.
He says the earthquakes mean Canterbury University, Lincoln University and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology have to take a close look at their strategic planning.
Mr Joyce says all options are on the table, including possible mergers.
He says the polytech will be vital in providing trade skills needed for rebuilding the city, but there could be room for the two universities to work more closely together.
"I would stress that we're not looking at mergers for mergers' sake."
Mr Joyce says he wants to see the best possible tertiary provision for students.