Last Updated S012019


Unit Name Electrical Circuit Theory and Analysis
Unit Code BSC102C
Unit Duration 1 Term (2 Terms for 24 week delivery)

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years    

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer N/A
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points


Total Course Credit Points 81 (27 x 3)

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload (Total student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week; 5 hours per week for 24 week delivery)
Pre-recordings / Lecture – 1.5 hours
Tutorial – 1.5 hours
Guided labs / Group work / Assessments – 2 hours
Personal Study recommended – 5 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

The objective of this unit is to familiarise the students with the various elements of electrical circuits and the behaviour of circuits when connected to a power source. Information covered in this unit will include: the fundamentals of DC and AC circuits; the measurement of voltage, current, power, resistance; and, other basic electrical concepts. Additionally, the various circuit combinations, mathematical methods for resolving DC and AC circuits, calculations for AC circuits involving the use of complex numbers in Cartesian and polar forms, the use of various circuit theorems, the maximum power transfer theorem, and the basics of resonance and harmonics in complex waveforms, will also be discussed.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Explain the different passive components found in electrical circuits and their behaviour.
    Bloom’s Level 3
  2. Perform calculations involving simple circuits in DC networks including the behaviour under sudden voltage change conditions.
    Bloom’s Level 3
  3. Explain the behaviour of passive components in AC circuits powered by single phase AC supply.
    Bloom’s Level 3
  4. Perform calculations in AC circuits using polar and Cartesian systems (involving complex numbers) and applying various circuit theorems to solve complex networks.
    Bloom’s Level 3
  5. Explain the analysis of complex waveforms and analyse the frequency components in commonly encountered non-sinusoidal waveforms using numerical methods.
    Bloom’s Level 3
  6. Discuss the principles of measurement of electrical parameters using electrical instruments, bridges, and applications of electromagnetism.
    Bloom’s Level 3

Student assessment

Assessment Type When assessed Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation

Example Topic: Electrical quantities, circuit components, and DC circuit analysis, Electromagnetism, Capacitors

Students may complete a quiz with MCQ type answers and solve some simple equations to demonstrate a good understanding of the fundamental concepts

After Topic 3 15% 1, 2

Assessment 2 - mid-semester test

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation

Example Topic: Solving AC circuits using polar and Cartesian coordinate systems.

Students may be asked to provide solutions to simple problems on various topics

After Topic 7 20% 3 and 4

Assessment 3

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation / Project / Report

Example Topic: Perform electrical measurements on circuits using digital instruments such as oscilloscopes or simulate and analyse complex waveforms.

After Topic 10 20% 6

Assessment 4

Type: Examination

An examination with a mix of descriptive questions and numerical problems to be completed within 3 hours.

Final Week 40% 1 to 6

Attendance / Tutorial Participation 

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application. 

Continuous 5% 1 to 6


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Suggested Textbook

  • Bird John, 2013, Electric Circuit Theory and Technology, Newnes (Elsevier Science), ISBN 978-0415662864


Reference Materials

Unit Content


Topic 1

Electrical quantities, resistance in DC circuits

  1. Units of electrical measurements
  2. Electric charges, forces and fields
  3. Coulomb’s Law
  4. Electricity – electric field, potential, potential difference, and current
  5. Conductors and insulators
  6. Introduction to circuits and Ohm’s law
  7. Resistance and its variation with temperature
  8. Different types of resistances and their comparison
  9. Solving combinations of series and parallel circuits
  10. Kirchhoff’s Law and its application in DC circuits
  11. Voltage and current division in series/parallel circuits

Topic 2

Electromagnetism and its applications

  1. The relation between current and flux produced by a conductor
  2. The principle of flux linkage inducing a voltage in a coil
  3. The relation between current, flux, and force on a conductor
  4. Fleming’s rules
  5. Application in electrical machines and transformers


Topic 3

Capacitance and capacitors

  1. Capacitance
  2. Parallel plate capacitor
  3. Dielectric strength and permittivity
  4. Electrostatic field and field strength
  5. Series/parallel circuits with capacitive elements
  6. Behaviour of capacitors for step variations in DC voltage
  7. Energy stored in capacitive components
  8. Need for discharging of capacitors to discharge stored energy
  9. Different types of capacitors and applications
  10. Construction of a practical capacitor and capacitance marking


Topic 4

Inductance and inductors

  1. Inductance
  2. Construction of an inductor
  3. MMF/Ampere turns
  4. Flux and flux density
  5. Permeability and reluctance in a magnetic core
  6. B-H curve and saturation
  7. Hysteresis
  8. Behaviour of inductances for step variations in DC voltage
  9. Energy storage in inductive components
  10. Need for discharging of inductances to discharge stored energy  


Topic 5

AC circuits

  1. AC waveform characteristics and mathematical expression (amplitude/time relationship)
  2. Peak and RMS values and calculation of crest (peak) factor and form factor for pure sine wave using mathematical methods
  3. Purely resistive circuits: voltage/current relationships
  4. Purely inductive circuits and the concept of inductive reactance
  5. Voltage/current relationships in inductive AC circuits
  6. Saturation and the behaviour of inductance upon saturation in an AC circuit
  7. Hysteresis associated with AC supply and hysteresis loss
  8. Purely capacitive circuits: Capacitive reactance, series and parallel capacitor calculations
  9. Voltage/current phase relationships of capacitive AC circuits
  10. Dielectric loss and loss angle in a capacitor


Topic 6

Solving AC circuits using polar and Cartesian coordinates principles

  1. Introduction to phasors and polar coordinates
  2. Expressing an AC voltage waveform using polar coordinates
  3. Using polar coordinate system to explain voltage/current relationship of an inductor
  4. Using polar coordinate system to explain voltage/current relationship of a capacitor
  5. Calculation of impedance of AC circuits using polar coordinates in series and parallel circuits
  6. Voltage/current/impedance relationship using polar representation
  7. Use of Cartesian coordinates to express voltage and current in AC circuits
  8. Introduction to complex algebra and the operator ‘i’
  9. Conversion between polar and Cartesian coordinates
  10. Cartesian coordinates to represent AC circuits using complex notation
  11. Concept of impedance in AC circuits and voltage/current calculations using an impedance
  12. Power in AC circuits and the concept of power factor to calculate useful power
  13. Power Triangle


Topic 7

Solving AC circuits using complex numbers

  1. Expressing an AC voltage waveform using complex numbers
  2. Using complex numbers to explain voltage/current relationship of an inductor
  3. Using complex numbers to explain voltage/current relationship of a capacitor
  4. Calculation of impedance of AC circuits using complex numbers in series and parallel circuits
  5. Voltage/current/impedance relationship using complex numbers
  6. Use of complex numbers to express voltage and current in AC circuits with a mix of components


Topic 8

Circuit theorems applied to AC circuits

  1. Constant voltage source
  2. Constant current source
  3. Kirchhoff’s Law as applied to AC circuits
  4. The Superposition Theorem
  5. Thevenin’s Theorem
  6. Norton’s Theorem
  7. Thevenin and Norton equivalent networks
  8. Example calculations


Topic 9

Circuit theorems applied to AC circuits

  1. Maximum Power Transfer Theorem
  2. Impedance matching
  3. Delta-star transformation for circuit reduction
  4. Mesh current analysis in AC circuits
  5. Nodal analysis
  6. Example calculations


Topic 10

Electrical measurements

  1. Measurement using instruments-Basic galvanometer principle
  2. Analogue instruments using moving coil/moving iron principle
  3. Use of shunts and multipliers
  4. Ohm metres and power metres
  5. Digital instruments and their principle
  6. Loading effect of instruments and errors introduced
  7. Oscilloscope as measuring device
  8. Potentiometers
  9. Bridges and their use in measurements


Topic 11   

Complex waveforms, harmonics and resonance

  1. General equation for a complex waveform
  2. Harmonic synthesis
  3. RMS, Mean and form factor for complex waveforms
  4. Power associated with harmonic components
  5. Sources of harmonics
  6. Resonance in AC circuits-definition
  7. Series resonance
  8. Parallel resonance
  9. Q factor
  10. Voltage magnification
  11. Resonance due to harmonics


Topic 12

Unit Review

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialized topic if applicable to that cohort.