Last Updated S012022


Unit Code MCS506
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 Lecture - 1 hours

Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

The unit aims to develop in-depth understanding of advanced structural principles of stability, strength and serviceability in steel design by introducing advanced topics, including approximate analysis of chord trusses, rigid frames and second order analysis, design of steel plate girders, design of beam-columns under combined action, design of bolted connections and stability design of rigid frames. This course also introduces advanced finite element analysis on steel structures and case studies on landmark structural success and 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. Evaluate the ability to communicate design processes and outcomes in a manner acceptable to the engineering profession, through calculations and drawings.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  2. Formulate the fundamental difference between design of reinforced concrete and steel structures. 
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  3. Determine an understanding of approximate analysis and its application to chord trusses, rigid frames and second order analysis.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  4. Judge and critique the design principals of bridge plate girders.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  5. Plan of designing beam-columns under combined loads
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  6. Predict an understanding of connection designs.
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  7. Optimise use finite element software for first-order and second-order steel frame analysis.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  8. Synthesise the basic principles of frame stability analysis.
    • Bloom’s Level 6

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, 2,3

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% 1-4

Assessment 3

Type: Project Report / Practical assessments, Remote labs, Simulation software or Case studies.

Example: Design a steel bridge plate girder. (If Project Report)


Example: Finite element modelling of frame structures. (if Remote lab simulation)


Topic 10
25% 7 - 8

Assessment 4

Type: Project Report

Word length: 2000

Example topics:

  • Design a roof level of steel structures
  • Design for beams, design for columns under combined actions, design for connections.
  • Simulation software or Case studies.


After Topic 12 35% 1 - 8

Tutorial Attendance & Participation

Continuous 5% 1 - 8

Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required textbook(s)

  1. Trahair N. S. and Bradford M.A. 2017, The behaviour and Design of Steel structures to AS4100, 3rd edition, Taylor & Francis, London and New York

Recommended textbook(s)

  • Gorenc, B.E., Tinyou, R, & Syam, A. (2012). The Steel Designer's Handbook (8th Ed.). UNSW Press.
  • Standards Australia 2016, Steel Structures, AS4100, Standards Australia, Sydney, NSW
  • M.A. Bradford, R.Q. Bridge and N.S. Trahair. Worked Examples for Steel Structures. 4th Edition, Australian Steel Institute, Sydney, 2013.
  • Hogan, TJ & Munter, SA (2007) Connection handbook 1: Background and theory, Australian Steel Institute (ASI), Sydney.
  • Hogan, TJ & Munter, SA (2007) Connection design guide 1: Bolting in structural steel connections, ASI, Sydney.
  • Hogan, TJ & Munter, SA (2007) Connection design guide 2: Welding in structural steel connections, ASI, Sydney.
  • Hogan, TJ & Munter, SA (2007) Connection design guide 3: Simple connections: Web side plate connections, ASI, Sydney.
  • Hogan, TJ & Munter, SA (2007) Connection design guide 4: Simple connections: Flexible end plate connections, ASI, Sydney.
  • Hogan, TJ & Van der Kreek (2009) Connection design guide 12: Rigid connections: Bolted end plate to column moment connections, ASI, Sydney.

Reference Materials

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

Introduction - Design of Steel Structures

  • Differences between the analysis and design of reinforced concrete and steel structures
  • Analysis and Design fundamentals of steel structures;
  • Fundamentals of approximate analysis
  • Examples.

Topic 2

Design of beam-columns and steel plate girders – Bending

  • Introduction;
  • Member behaviour;
    • mode of failure and plate buckling
  • Section capacities;
  • Member capacities;
  • Worked Examples.

Topic 3

Design of beam-columns and steel plate girders –Shear and Bearing

  • Introduction;
  • Member behaviour;
    • mode of failure and plate buckling
  • Section capacities;
  • Member capacities;

Worked Examples.

Topic 4

Design of beam-columns and steel plate girders – Compression

  • Introduction
  • Member behaviour;
    • mode of failure and plate buckling
  • Section capacities;
  • Member capacities;
  • Worked Examples.

Topic 5

Design of beam-columns and steel plate girders – Combined Actions

  • Member behaviour under combined action;
  • Interaction formulae;
  • Worked Examples.

Topic 6

Plastic Analysis of Steel Structures – Part 1

  • Introduction
  • Plastic behaviour of beams and columns under increasing loads
  • Mechanism Method

Topic 7

Plastic Analysis of Steel Structures – Part 2

  • Introduction
  • Plastic behaviour of structural steel frames under increasing loads
  • Calculation of member forces at plastic collapse

Topic 8

Design for bolted connections

  • Introduction;
  • Forms of construction and connection types;
  • Bolt group loaded in-plane;
  • Bolt under combined shear and tension;
  • Worked Examples.

Topic 9

Design of Welded Connections

  • Introduction;
  • Weld types;
  • Weld group subject to in-plane and out-of-plane loading
  • Worked Examples.

Topic 10

Design of steel connections – flexible connections

  • Introduction;
  • Types of hinged beam to column connections;
  • Design of flexible connections;
  • Worked Examples.

Topic 11

Design of steel connections – Rigid Connections

  • Introduction;
  • Types of rigid beam to column connections;
  • Design of rigid connections;
  • Worked Examples.

Topic 12

Review of the unit – Computer modelling and analysis

  • Review of the topics
  • Computer Modelling and Analysis
  • Worked Examples.
  • Final Assessment details

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


  • Software: N/A

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


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