Course Title: Systems Engineering for Civil Engineers

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Systems Engineering for Civil Engineers

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019

Course Coordinator: Dr Susanna Lin

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2023

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 039.04.016

Course Coordinator Availability: TBC

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Completion of structural design and analysis courses at undergraduate level program or demonstrated equivalent capability.

Course Description

In this course you will be introduced to systems thinking in the context of whole of infrastructure life cycle, with a special emphasis on structural safety and resilience. The course covers systems approach in innovative design, construction, operation and management of structures. You will learn to recognise and assess the performance of systems which are dependent on the performance of their components. A combination of technical, economic, environmental and social aspects for robust and resilient structural systems will be considered through case studies covering the life cycle of structural systems. You will learn from the research base about contemporary and emerging concepts and trends such as design for deconstruction and design for safe construction from the perspective of systems-thinking.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC207 Master of Engineering (Structures and Forensics):

  • Apply the mechanics of materials in post elastic behaviour for reliable structural systems design and resilient response under extreme events.
  • Identify, diagnose and treat complex problems in relation to whole-of-life reliability and resilient performance during occupancy


This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC257 Master of Engineering:

1. Needs, Context and Systems

  • Describe, investigate and analyse complex engineering systems and associated issues (using systems thinking and modelling techniques)

2. Problem Solving and Design

  • Develop creative and innovative solutions to engineering problems

3. Analysis

  • Comprehend and apply advanced theory-based understanding of engineering fundamentals and specialist bodies of knowledge in the selected discipline area to predict the effect of engineering activities

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Use systems engineering concepts to diagnose the weakest element of a system (structural) under a given operational scenario, which may be technical, procedural or social/environmental.
  2. Research informed learning of new and emerging concepts and trends such as design for deconstruction and design for safe construction in a systems thinking perspective.
  3. Analyse sustainability and carbon footprint of a system (structural), considering tools and techniques such as life cycle analysis.
  4. Estimate the robustness and resilience of a structural system considering contributions of components of the system (structural).

Overview of Learning Activities

A modular, blended learning model comprising lecture/workshop sessions, on-line forums and team based activities will be employed in the course.

You will be working on selected case studies applying a systems perspective to ascertain the wellbeing of structural systems.

On-line forums will be established to share information, promote active participation of all students in case study discussion and facilitate peer-learning to enhance skill development.

Total study hours: Lectures and tutorial sessions involve 3 hours/week over 12 weeks. In addition you are expected to spend around 6 hours/week on revision, additional research and assignments.

Overview of Learning Resources

Lecture notes, references and further reading material will be posted on the course web-site (Blackboard).

RMIT Library Subject Guide:

Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Task 1:  Research Assignment Report & Presentation

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLO 1 to 4.

Assessment Task 2:  Operation Research Assignment

Weighting 10%

This assessment task supports CLOs 2 to 3.

Assessment Task 3: Exam

Weighting 50%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1 to 4.