Last Updated S012022


Unit Code MCS503
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Civil: Structural)

Duration: 1 year


Master of Engineering (Civil: Structural)

Duration: 2 years  

Year Level 1st
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr Yan Zhuge
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites None
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24

(3 credits x 8 (units))


Masters total course credit points = 48

(3 credits x 12 (units) + 12 credits (Thesis))

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

10 hours per week:

Lecture – 1 hour

Tutorial – 1 hours

Practical / Lab – 1 hour (where applicable)

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

The unit applies the knowledge and skills developed in those earlier undergraduate courses to the design of standard structural systems in an integrated approach. The course introduces advanced topics on reinforced concrete design: design of retaining walls, design and detailing of reinforced concrete structures including non-flexural reinforced concrete members using the strut-and-tie-model approach, reinforced concrete flat plate analysis, approximate analysis of reinforced concrete continuous beams and two way slabs. This course also introduces advanced finite element analysis on folded plate roof structures and case studies on landmark structural failure.

This unit will be taught by introducing the theory, demonstrating with worked examples and then applying in practice through assignments. The unit further considers the requirements that the Chartered/Professional Engineer develops Critical Thinking and Problem Solving abilities enabling the development of the process of thinking your way through the Problem to a solution and communicating your solution.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Construct the ability to communicate design processes and outcomes in a manner acceptable to the engineering profession, through calculations and drawings.
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  2. Determine how to design reinforced concrete members using strut-and-tie approach and reinforced concrete detailing. 
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  3. Make judgements on the design principals of flat plates and punching shear failure.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  4. Evaluate select and use a variety of approximate methods of analysis for reinforced concrete continuous beams and two way plates.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  5. Determine of analysing folded plate roof structures using both design table and finite element method.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  6. Optimise a disciplined approach to structural failure analysis of reinforced concrete structures.
    • Bloom’s Level 5

Student assessment

Note - all assessments submissions are mandatory for passing the unit.

Assessment Type

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

Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed

(eg Week 5)
Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test (Proctored) / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Example Topic: Up to topic 3

After Topic 3 10% 1-5

Assessment 2

Type: Proctored test / Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit / Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation

Example: Short/Long answers and Problems to solve

Topic: Up to topic 6

After Topic 6 25% 1-6

Assessment 3

Type: Remote Lab Practical or Software Simulation or Case studies.

Example: Finite element modelling of structures (Reinforced concrete design project simulation)


Topic 9
20% 4, 5

Assessment 4

Type: Project Report

Word length: 4000

Topic: Reinforced concrete design project: Design a reinforced concrete office building including load estimation, beam and column, spread footing and reinforcement detailing.

After Topic 12 40% 2-4

Attendance / Tutorial participation

Continuous 5% 1 - 6

Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required textbook(s)

S. Foster, A. Kilpatrick, R. Warner, Reinforced Concrete Basics: Analysis and Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures, 3rd Edition. Pearson, 2021. ISBN: 978-0655703662

Recommended textbook(s)

  • Loo, Y.C. and Chowdhury, S.H., 2018. Reinforced and prestressed concrete. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wilby, C.B, 1997, Concrete Folded Plate Roofs, Wiley, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Reference Materials

Standards Australia 2018, Concrete structures, AS3600-2018, Standards Australia, Sydney, NSW

Number of peer-reviewed journals and websites as advised below (and during lectures);

  1. National and international technical journals.
  2. Specific material to be advised during the lectures.

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.


Topic 1

Design of Reinforced Concrete footings

  • Introduction;
  • Soil bearing capacity;
  • Design procedures;
  • Design of strip footings;
  • Design of isolated spread footings;
  • Examples.

Topic 2

Design of Reinforced Concrete Retaining walls

  • Introduction;
  • Earth pressure, friction and cohesion;
  • Design and construction considerations;
  • Design examples.

Topic 3

Detailing of Reinforcement in Concrete Structures

  • Introduction;
  • General guidelines for detailing;
  • Sources of tension;
  • Anchorage of reinforcement;
    • Development length (AS3600);
    • Worked example;
  • Lapped splices (AS3600);
  • Detailing of beams;
  • Detailing for crack control (AS3600).

Topic 4 and 5

Strut-and-tie modelling of concrete structures

  • Introduction;
  • Definitions;
  • Applications of strut-and-tie modelling;
  • Strut-and-tie modelling using strength limit procedures;
  • Design steps;
  • Examples.

Topic 6 and 7

Flat Plate Analysis

  • Introduction;
  • Behaviour of flat plate under the load;
  • Punching shear analysis;
  • Direct design method;
  • Examples.

Topic 8 and 9

Approximate analysis

  • Introduction;
  • Analysis of parallel chord trusses by the beam analogy;
  • Analysis of continuous beams and one-way slabs using AS3600;
  • Analysis two-way slabs using AS3600.

Topic 10

Folded plate roof structures - longhand and F.E. analyses

  • Introduction to thin shell structures and folded plate;
  • Types of folded plate and its basic behaviour;
  • Using design tables;
  • Finite element method using shell elements.

Topic 11 and 12

Detailed Case studies

  • Detailed Study of a Landmark Structural Failure -- Inyaka Bridge Mpumalanga SA;
  • Detailed Study of a Landmark Structural Success -- Sleipner A - North Sea Oil Platform Collapse and Rebuild.

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 demeanor.
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



  • N/A