Last Updated S022020

 DEng601 / MXX501/601

Unit code DENG601 / MXX501/601


Unit Duration 12 week 
Award Doctor of Engineering

Duration: 3 years
Year Level One or two 
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr Hylton K J Macdonald
Core/Elective Core
Pre/Co-requisites  None
Credit Points


Total Program Credit Points 120

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

10 hours per week:

Lecture - 1 hour

Tutorial - 1 hour

Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

The subject material within this Unit looks at the history of engineering, the continual evolution of the art and science of engineering, and the definition and practice of engineering. There is an exploration of the qualities which the Chartered/ Professional Engineer requires to develop in his/her critical thinking and problem solving abilities, leading to the development of ‘thinking one’s way through a problem to a solution’ and then communicating that solution in an effective and efficient manner. The role which the Chartered/Professional Engineer needs to undertake in the process of Risk Management, the legal aspects of the Contract, the Engineering Design Process and how this should be controlled, are also examined. Furthermore, consideration is given to the requirement that Chartered/Professional Engineers act ethically at all times, are accountable for their actions, are required to consider the social implications of their actions, and practice Continuous Professional Development to ensure that they remain abreast of best practice at all times. The Unit also addresses the key areas that need to be considered in conducting research, including the evaluation of the research proposal, requirements, literature surveys, model development, analyses, assessment, and the required methodologies to communicate rigorous research outcomes.


Learning Outcomes

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

1. Critique what Engineering is and assess the ethical role and accountability of the Chartered/ Professional Engineer in industry.

Bloom’s Level 5

2. Devise and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills and develop the ability to communicate solutions effectively to others at an advanced level.

Bloom’s Level 6

3. Evaluate a risk management process and have a broad understanding of Contract law to reduce project challenges and improve project outcomes.

Bloom’s Level 5

4. Develop and lead the Engineering design process and formulate high level judgement evaluations within the design process.

Bloom’s Level 6

5. Hypothesise the necessity for continuous professional development and the social responsibility of Engineers to the community.

Bloom’s Level 6

6. Propose and conduct postgraduate research and development in an engineering and industrial context using both qualitative and quantitative (research) methodologies.

Bloom’s Level 6


Bloom’s Taxonomy

The cognitive domain levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Bloom’s Level

Bloom’s Category Description
1 Remember Retrieve relevant knowledge from long-term memory by recognising, identifying, recalling and retrieving.
2 Understand  Construct meaning from instructional messages by interpreting, classifying, summarising, inferring, comparing, contrasting, mapping and explaining.
3 Apply Carrying out or using a procedure in a given situation by executing, implementing, operating, developing, illustrating, practicing and demonstrating
4 Analyse Deconstruct material and determine how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose by differentiating, organising and attributing.
5 Evaluate  Make judgments based on criteria and standards by checking, coordinating, evaluating, recommending, validating, testing, critiquing and judging.
6 Create Put elements together to form a coherent pattern or functional whole by generating, hypothesising, designing, planning, producing and constructing.


Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic)

Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed   (eg After Topic 5) Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Practical [Presentation]

E.g. Prepare and present a 5-6 slide presentation summarising an engineering research paper. This will include: a description of the problem, the research method, the obtained results, and your conclusion.

After topic 6 15% 2, 6

Assessment 2

Type: Practical [Presentation]

E.g. Prepare and present a 5-6 slide presentation on an engineering research problem. This will include: a description of the problem, a research question, a literature review, and a research proposal.

 After Topic 9 25% 1, 2, 5, 6

Assessment 3

Type: Report [A research proposal based on an engineering research project. This will include: introduction, literature review, hypothesis, methodology, risk analysis, and conclusion]

Word length: 4000

After Topic 11 40% 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Assessment 4

Type: Report

Word length: 2000

Example Topic: “Design an automatic coffee making machine. Do your research to come up with an applicable set of attributes. Prioritize the attributes, propose different alternatives and recommend one. Discuss the environmental impact of the machine”.

Type: Practical

Final Week 15% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Attendance/ Tutorial participation 

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

Continuous 5% 1-6

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Required Textbook

  • V. Thiel, Research Methods for Engineers, Cambridge University Press, 2014 – ISBN: 978-1107034884
  • Meyer, G. Reniers, Engineering Risk Management. De Gruyter, 2013 – ISBN: 978-3110285154 - available on Knovel
  • Okes, Root Cause Analysis - The Core of Problem Solving and Corrective Action. American Society for Quality, 2009 – ISBN: 978-0873897648 – available on Knovel

Reference Materials

  • Haik, T. M. Shahin, Engineering Design Process, 2nd ed. Cengage Learning, 2010 – ISBN: 978-0495668145
  • Hugh Ferguson and Mike Chrimes, The Civil Engineers, Thomas Telford, 2013. (ISBN 978-0-7277-4143-1)
  • Institution of Civil Engineers, Ethics Toolkit,
  • World Economic Forum, Programme Against Corruption Initiative,
  • Institution of Civil Engineers, Continuing Professional Development Guidance,
  • ICE Member Attributes, CEng, MICE, documents/member-attributes.
  • Anthony E Kelly, Richard A Lesh, John Y Baek, Handbook of Design Research Methods in Education: Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical Learning and Teaching, Routledge, 2008. (ISBN 9780805860597)
  • Other material to be advised during the lectures

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week.

Topic 1 

Engineering, ethics, and contract law

Why: Understanding of the professional requirements placed on an Engineer to act ethically and the legal implications and requirements of contracts

  1. What is Engineering
  2. The main Engineering disciplines and branches
  3. The continual evolution of the art and science of Engineering
  4. Engineering ethics
  5. Resolving ethical dilemmas
  6. Academic and research integrity
  7. Legal basis of a contract and what constitutes a legal contract.
  8. The role and legal accountability of the chartered/ professional Engineer


Topic 2

Critical thinking and problem solving (I)

Why: Understanding of the critical role in modern Engineering practice of challenging the status quo and developing fit-for-purpose solutions.

  1. Defining the problem
  2. Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
  3. RCA tools
  4. Generate good alternatives


Topic 3

Critical thinking and problem solving (II)

Why: Understanding of the critical role in modern Engineering practice of challenging the status quo and developing fit-for-purpose solutions.

  1. Trade-off analysis
  2. Explore the alternatives
  3. Select the best alternatives
  4. Check, communicate and implement the decision
  5. Critical thinking


Topic 4

Overview of research

Why: Understanding how to evaluate the research proposal, develop the research proposal, and how to undertake effective and pertinent research, and communicate the results effectively.

  1. Preliminary considerations
  2. Research designs – quantitative, and qualitative research
  3. Survey research methods
  4. Case study research

Topic 5

Research methodology

Why: Understanding how to evaluate the research proposal, develop the research proposal, and how to undertake effective and pertinent research, and communicate the results effectively.

  1. Engineering research
  2. Ethical issues
  3. Research proposal
  4. Writing a research proposal


Topic 6

Techniques of literature review

Why: Understanding how to evaluate the research proposal, develop the research proposal, and how to undertake effective and pertinent research, and communicate the results effectively.

  1. The concept of body of knowledge
  2. Literature review
  3. Literature search
  4. Writing strategies


Topic 7

Student presentation (I): summary of a paper

Why: Developing and communicating a critical analysis of engineering research literature.

Each student selects an engineering research paper and presents a summary of it.

Topic 8

Designing experiments

Why: Understanding how to evaluate the research proposal, develop the research proposal, and how to undertake effective and pertinent research, and communicate the results effectively.

  1. Hypothesis
  2. Sampling strategies
  3. Analysis of data
  4. Statistical methods


Topic 9

Controlling the Engineering Design Process

Why: Understanding how the Engineer must control the design process to ensure effective solutions that are fit for purpose.

  1. From problem definition to customer requirements
  2. The engineering design process
    1. Problem definition
    2. Conceptual design
    3. Preliminary design
    4. Detailed design
    5. Design communication
  3. Design for Six Sigma

Topic 10

Student presentation (II): preliminary research proposal

Why: Developing and communicating an engineering research proposal effectively.

Each student presents a preliminary research proposal and receives feedback from the lecturer and other participants.


Topic 11

Risk Management

Why: What are the risks faced by the Engineer, analysis and mitigation methods and methods for managing change on a project.

  1. Definition of risk
  2. Risk management
  3. ISO 31000 standard
  4. Risk assessment in practice


Topic 12

Social responsibility aspects of engineering and continuing professional development

Why: Understanding how the Engineer is to remain relevant and understand the social imperatives of projects they undertake.

  1. Economic impact of engineering projects
  2. Impact of engineering on society
  3. Preservation of the environment
  4. Sustainability of engineering projects
  5. Continuing professional development


Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements Competency
1. Knowledge and Skill Base
1.1 Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
2. Engineering Application Ability
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
2.4 Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.
3. Professional and Personal Attributes
3.1 Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour.
3.4 Professional use and management of information.
3.5 Orderly management of self and professional conduct.
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: N/A
  • Version: N/A
  • Instructions: N/A 
  • Additional resources or files: N/A


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