Course Title: Automatic Control Systems

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Automatic Control Systems

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 1 2023

Course Coordinator: Dr Ben Cheng

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6009

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: B251 F03 R017

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Assumed Knowledge:

It is assumed that students have completed the courses 1) Engineering Dynamics AND 2) Electronics or their equivalents, before attempting this course.

Course Description

This course develops your capabilities in automatic control systems. You will build on prior knowledge of engineering dynamics and electronics to understand the nature and behaviour of dynamic systems and examine the subsequent design of automatic control systems. The course will have three major components:

  1. The mathematical modelling and simulation of basic engineering processes, components and a variety of physical systems, leading to the nomination of Transfer Functions and time responses to standard inputs for dynamic control systems 
  2. Rapidly predicting a system’s Frequency Response to an incoming frequency spectrum and modifying system parameters to meet basic performance specifications. Subsequent System Identification from Frequency response analysis
  3. Improving system performance by using PID controllers and focusing on tuning PID coefficients

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. 

This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Comprehensive, theory-based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline
  • In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
  • Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering solving
  • Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
  • Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Model and simulate linear and non-linear physical systems using basic laws
  2. Rapidly predict a system’s frequency response
  3. Improve an existing system’s performance by using controller actions such as PID controllers

Overview of Learning Activities

This course will be run in a flipped learning mode. Learning activities include online lectorials (lecture-tutorial), lab sessions, quizzes, and assignments. Key concepts and principles will be explained and illustrated in lectorial sessions. Students will gain hands-on experiences via the online lab sessions. It is vital that you keep up-to-date with all learning activities. Details and submission deadlines on the assessment components will be announced on Canvas. 

Overview of Learning Resources

Course information and learning materials will be available on Canvas and you will be provided with additional materials in class. Lists of relevant reference books and digitised materials at RMIT libraries will be available as well. You will also use equipment and software package(s) in the laboratory remotely. During the course, students will be directed to many websites to enhance their knowledge and understanding of difficult concepts. 

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks:

Assessment Task 1: Lab reports
Weighting: 15%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1

Assessment Task 2: Online quizzes
Weighting: 20% 
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, & 3

Assessment Task 3: Mid-semester online take-home assignment
Weighting: 25%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, & 2

Assessment Task 4: End-of-semester online take-home assessment
Weighting: 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, & 3