Master of Engineering Structures
- CRICOS Code: 053355A
What will I study?
The Master of Engineering Structures is a 1 year degree (full-time).
Explore key themes such as structural systems, conceptual design, sustainable design, extreme loading and advanced analysis techniques. You’ll learn how to successfully design high-rise structures, and understand the procedures and processes for designing with materials from structural steel to masonry.
You’ll complete 100 points of study in the Master of Engineering Structures. This includes two core subjects, High Rise Structures and Structural Theory and Design 3, and the flexibility to choose from a range of electives.
Structural Engineering electives
You’ll choose at least three subjects (37.5 points) of structural engineering electives, where you’ll explore disaster-resistant design, engineering modelling and extreme loading.
Infrastructure Engineering electives
Choose up to three subjects (37.5 points) of infrastructure engineering electives to broaden your knowledge of structural engineering and engineering management. Topics range from port and harbour engineering fundamentals through to environmental modelling.
Sample course plan
View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this degree.
Sample course plan - Example 100 point plan
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- High Rise Structures 12.5
High Rise Structures
This subject introduces students to the special requirements necessary for the successful design of high rise buildings. Elements of high rise building design considered in the subject are structural floor, framing and foundation systems, wind loading including wind tunnel testing and earthquake loading, analysis techniques including computer-aided analysis, vertical movements and second order effects, facade design, construction methods, sustainability concepts and a review of case study buildings.
The subject builds on fundamental structural engineering knowledge and when learnt together with other structural engineering electives will provide students who successfully complete the subjects a well-rounded knowledge of a range of structural engineering design skills. Students who complete this subject may find work in a structural engineering consultancy or as a site engineer and work under the supervision of a chartered professional engineer on high rise building designs or design variations.
Introduction to high-rise design; introduction to finite element analysis; loads and design criteria for tall buildings; gravity load resisting; structural systems; gravity loads; lateral load resisting structural system; SpaceGass modelling; wind loading and analysis; earthquake induced loading; distribution of lateral loads to structural elements; coupled core systems and outriggers; theoretical treatment for column beam frames; architectural aspects and sustainability concepts; extreme loading effects; foundations of tall buildings; and, construction methods. Skills acquired from the above topics will be integrated and applied to the assignment which consists of a detailed analysis of a typical high rise building.
- Structural Theory and Design 3 12.5
Structural Theory and Design 3
The major objective of this unit is to develop an understanding of the procedures and processes involved in the design of structures made of structural steel, cold-formed steel, composites, timber or masonry, and be able to produce effective and economical design solutions through correct integration of these materials. This subject features simulated structural design exercises which involve participation by senior experienced practicing engineers. These exercises consist of both conceptual and detailed designs which consider constructability, functionality, sustainability as well as compliance with standards to ensure safety and serviceability.
Conceptual and preliminary design of structures and design parameters, structural analyses of frames and trusses by the stiffness matrix method, computer analysis by a commercial package, design of structural steel and connections, design of cable stayed bridges, engineering of cold-formed steel, structural design of concrete-steel composite beams, structural design of timber elements and connections.
Structural engineering selectives
- Earthquake Resistant Design of Buildings 12.5
Earthquake Resistant Design of Buildings
This subject introduces the fundamental concepts and practice of earthquake resistant design of buildings from an international perspective, incorporating consideration of design in regions of low to moderate seismicity such as Australia and in regions of high seismicity. The design of economically and environmentally feasible structures that can successfully withstand the forces and displacements generated by severe ground motions is a challenge demanding the best in structural engineering art and science. This subject builds on knowledge of Risk Analysis, Engineering Mathematics, Dynamics, and Structural Theory and Design to allow candidates to work as a supervised graduate engineer in this specialised area of practice.
Topics covered include plate tectonics and seismicity, structural response to earthquake ground motions, design philosophy and design applications to buildings, assessment and retrofitting of existing buildings, and performance of non-structural components and building contents.
- Extreme Loading of Structures 12.5
Extreme Loading of Structures
This subject is aimed at teaching the scientific principles associated with extreme events including that of earthquakes, impact, blast and cyclonic wind and their effects on a structure. Students will also be trained to make effective use of state-of-the-art techniques in quantifying the effects of the design actions in order that suitable level of protection can be incorporated into the structure to counter an extreme event. At the conclusion of this subject students should be capable of modelling a variety of extreme loadings by employing advanced techniques. Students will also be able to apply the modelling methodologies to fulfil performance based design objectives. Improved proficiencies in countering extreme loading in the design of structures will achieve better economy and a more sustainable built environment. This subject builds on students’ fundamental knowledge of engineering mathematics, mechanics and structural analysis. With frequency of extreme events increasing due to climate change, increased mass and speed of vehicles and terrorism, this subject provides graduates with specialist knowledge to work in the field of hazard reduction or avoidance under the guidance of a chartered engineer.
Topics covered include Rayleigh Method for developing a simplified model of a structural element, hand calculation techniques for analysing the impact action of a solid object based on linear elastic and elasto-plastic behaviour of the structure, considerations for the conditions of contact and anomalies associated with contributions by the higher modes. Another major topic to be covered is the capacity spectrum method involving linear, or non-linear, static analysis for the assessment of a building structure subject to seismic actions. Other topics include the analysis of blast actions by hand calculations and phenomena associated with the aerodynamic actions of wind.
- Concrete Design and Technology 12.5
Concrete Design and Technology
This subject introduces the students to advanced modelling techniques for concrete structures, and to the design and analysis of pre-stressed concrete structures with applications to both buildings and bridges. It builds on knowledge from CVEN90049 Structural Theory and Design 2, in particular the section on the fundamental behaviour of reinforced concrete structural elements when subjected to flexure, axial load and shear. Students will be introduced to strut-and-tie modelling which is used in the analysis and design of complex regions in concrete elements where simple flexural behaviour is disrupted, and also to deformation modelling for reinforced concrete elements which highlights the importance of ductility in these elements. This subject will also introduce advanced concrete technology with discussion of high strength concrete, deterioration mechanisms and the design for durable concrete structures. Students who complete this specialist subject are likely to find employment in design consultancy or concrete construction companies and work under the supervision of a senior engineer.
Partially prestressed concrete beams: Properties of prestressing steel and types of prestressing systems; Sectional behaviour at service load level, equivalent load concept and load balancing; Creep and shrinkage in concrete; Estimation of prestress losses, deflection and amount of cracking; Indeterminate structures; Anchorages; Applications to building and bridge construction; Applications to precast concrete structures; Deformation modelling; Strut-and-tie modelling; High strength concrete; Design against physical and chemical attack of concrete structures.
- Structural Dynamics and Modelling 12.5
Structural Dynamics and Modelling
This subject introduces students to the fundamental concepts of structural dynamics and finite element modelling and teaches students the skills of undertaking structural analyses which involve dynamic (or transient) actions in a practical engineering context. At the conclusion of this subject students should be able to undertake dynamic analyses by hand calculations (that can be enhanced by the use of EXCEL spreadsheets) and effectively employ a commercial computational package (e.g. Strand 7) for more complex analyses. Emphasis is on the ability to undertake independent checks of results generated by the computer. Improved proficiencies in structural dynamics and modelling will result in more economical design of structures and a more sustainable built environment. This subject builds on students’ fundamental knowledge of engineering mathematics, mechanics and structural analysis. For students considering a career in structural design for earthquake resistant structures this is an important subject to prepare for professional practice as a graduate under the supervision of a chartered engineer.
Topics covered include: introduction to finite element formulations for in-plane (membrane) stress analysis, use of finite element modelling packages; the response analyses of single-degree-of-freedom systems, discrete multi-degree-of-freedom systems and distributed mass (continuous) systems in conditions of natural vibrations and forced excitations; numerical time-step integration techniques; excitation simulation techniques, simultaneous equation solution and reduction techniques; frequency domain analyses and processing of time-series data. Skills acquired from the various topics outlined above will be integrated and applied to a number of case studies.
- Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering 12.5
Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering
This subject provides an overview of a wide range of issues relating to infrastructure engineering, with a particular focus on the environmental, economic, and equity of projects. Students will gain an understanding of the complexities of decision-making, including the role of government and regulation, considerations of intergenerational and intragenerational equity, and assessment of economic and environmental impacts. Students will learn about the influential role that infrastructure plays in shaping a society, and the effects both short-term and long-term. Students will also learn to apply various analytical methods to evaluate infrastructure projects from a sustainability perspective. Lectures and workshops will be structured around case studies of infrastructure projects. Workshops will also provide students with opportunities to enhance oral and written communication skills.
This subject is part of a trio of subjects that consider different aspects of infrastructure projects. Engineering Site Characterisation studies how to determine the character of a site for an infrastructure project. Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering examines how a project relates to the broader social, economic, and environmental context. Engineering Project Implementation concentrates on the operational aspects of implementing a project.
- Quantitative Environmental Modelling 12.5
Quantitative Environmental Modelling
Environmental problems are highly complex and challenging to analyse and are often addressed through modelling. Being skilled at environmental modelling is a core professional requirement for an Environmental Engineer. This subject focuses on environmental modelling methodology including the steps of model conceptualisation, model construction, model evaluation and model application using a range of energy, water and waste models in Matlab. The subject complements ENEN90032 Environmental Analysis Tools and ENEN90028 Monitoring Environmental Impacts which provide other core environmental engineering skills. It provides modelling skills for a wide range of discipline based subjects such as ENEN90006 Solid Wastes, ENEN90034 Environmental Applied Hydrology and ENEN90027 Energy for Sustainable Development. The subject is of particular relevance to all Environmental Engineers but is also of relevance to a range of engineering and environmental analysis disciplines that require advanced modelling skills.
The relationship between theoretical and empirical understanding and their use in model conceptualisation and construction will be explored. This subject introduces a range of environmental modelling techniques applicable to different environmental problems. In this subject students will conceptualise and construct, evaluate and utilise their own model to undertake a technical evaluation of a specified range of potential solutions to an environmental problem. Students will also develop professional judgement skills to critically evaluate models and model results.
Specific topic areas:
- System conceptualisation
- Model construction and validation (computational accuracy)
- Model evaluation
- Calibration and optimisation
- Model uncertainty assessment techniques
- Issues of appropriate model complexity
- Students will have an opportunity to review a modelling topic of their choice.
Students will use MatLab to undertake modelling tasks and will be required to learn some MatLab programming skills in the subject.
- Solar Energy 12.5
This subject provides the application of principles of solar energy engineering. A number of solar technologies and applications methods are investigated.
This subject uses a project based learning where students work in teams to design a solar system for a particular application considering environmental, social and financial constraints. Students learn to apply the principles of solar energy and design.
Knowledge gained in this subject will allow graduates to practice in the area of renewable energy industry. The subject complements other subjects offered in the energy theme of the Department such as Energy for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering.
- Introduction to Solar Energy in the energy economy; Fundamental heat & mass transfer; Radiation properties of materials; and selective surfaces
- Solar Geometry and solar angles; atmospheric effects and radiation prediction; and Solar radiation measurement
- Flat plate collectors design and performance characteristic
- Concentrating collectors design and performance characteristic; Evacuated tube collectors
- Solar System design methods
- Fundamentals of photovoltaic systems
- Solar process heating
- Solar drying, Solar cookers, Green houses and Solar stills
- Solar water pumping; Solar refrigeration
- Built environment applications passive and active systems
- Solar hot water and solar heat pump systems.
- Energy for Sustainable Development 12.5
Energy for Sustainable Development
This subject provides understanding of the principles of development and sustainability in the context of renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Social, environmental and financial implications of technologies to de-carbonise emissions and technologies that can offer a future non-carbon energy supply are discussed.
This subject uses project based learning where students work in teams to investigate the appropriateness of a selected energy source or a selected technology for a particular country, region or a location. Students learn to apply the principles of sustainability and development.
Knowledge gained in this subject will allow graduates to practice in the area of energy policy and planning. The subject complements other subjects offered in the energy theme of the Department such as Solar Energy, Energy Efficiency Technology and Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering.
- Introduction: What does 'sustainable' mean? What is development? A model for sustainable development
- Consumption (needs versus wants), Global perspectives (inequality and resource distribution)
- Role of energy in development
- Requirements for an sustainable energy supply
- Carbon versus non-carbon energy supply - overview (resources, usage)
- Problems with past patterns of energy use
- Energy efficiency (potential and limits)
- Energy Policy
- Transport futures and peak oil (resources)
- Carbon capture and storage
- Nuclear fission and fusion
- Renewable energy technologies - large and small
- Discussion Forum: Reality of Sustainability.
- Project Management Practices 12.5
Project Management Practices
In this subject students will learn about how to evaluate the feasibility of a project and then to define, structure and organise the initial planning phase for both construction projects and complex projects (e.g. IT, high technology projects). The interaction between commercial expectations and project management approaches will be considered broadly based on process and systems thinking. The subject builds on and integrates knowledge from CVEN90043 Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering and/or MCEN90010 Finance and Human Resources for Engineers where the fundamentals of economic appraisal is described, the planning approaches detailed in subject CVEN90045 Engineering Project Implementation and the fundamentals of risk management for which detailed approaches are provided in MULT90014 Business Risk Management. The subject is particularly important for students wishing to understand how to structure and scope projects such that they are well planned on the basis of triple bottom line thinking and the project management processes are efficiently structured.
Techniques considered include the use of logic maps, business cases and system based project management concepts. Details include the development of acquisition strategies, system life-cycle, boundaries, scope management and mechanisms to control of client expectations and assist them to make sound project decisions leading to the sanctioning of a project. Expected value and Monte Carlo techniques are used as tools to refine project decisions based on risk evaluation.
Project governance arrangements are considered along with cultural context, resourcing requirements of a project and how this is organised and managed. Specific areas considered include the selection of consultants or contractors, communication processes, industrial relations, occupational health and safety, meetings, delegation and leadership.
- Engineering Project Implementation 12.5
Engineering Project Implementation
Project management provides an organization with powerful tools that improve its ability to plan, organize and manage resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives. In undertaking this subject students will explore the principles and distinct technical skills of engineering management that are needed to implement a project. The subject is of particular relevance to students wishing to establish a career in engineering project management, but is also of relevance to a range of engineering design disciplines where design for the total life cycle of the product or infrastructure should be considered. This subject is part of a trio of subjects that consider different aspects of infrastructure projects; Engineering Site Characterisation studies how to determine the character of a site for a infrastructure project, Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering examines how the a project relates to the broader social, political, economic and environmental context, while project implementation concentrates on the operational aspects of implementing a project.
Topics covered include key aspects of the management principles, project planning & scheduling, management systems & control and management practices to enable execution of the project in a timely and financially prudent manner.
Note: This subject has been integrated with the Skills Towards Employment Program (STEP) and contains activities that can assist in the completion of the Engineering Practice Hurdle (EPH).
- Geotechnical Applications 12.5
This is a geotechnical engineering elective subject in which student will be introduced to various geotechnical engineering applications topics, including the design of shallow and deep foundations, common issues in foundation construction, site characterization and rock slope assessment, tunneling and earth dam designs and numerical Modelling in Geotechnics. This practically oriented elective subject builds on the fundamental material learned earlier in ENEN20002 Earth Processes for Engineering and CVEN30010 System Modelling and Design, and fully integrates with the knowledge gained from the two core subjects CVEN90044 Engineering Site Characterisation and CVEN90050 Geotechnical Engineering. This subject is of particular interest to students intending to establish a career in geotechnical engineering; it is also relevant to a range of engineering disciplines in which a good knowledge of geotechnical engineering offers an advantage.
Shallow foundations - bearing capacity and settlement; Piled foundations - types, function, bearing capacity and settlement; Site characterization – Planning and implementation of a site investigation, Rock slope assessment – Apply the theories of rock slope engineering on actual problems, Tunneling- Site investigation and initiation of a tunneling project, Earth dams – key aspects of earth dams analysis and design; numerical Modelling in Geotechnics – Application of numerical techniques in geotechnical engineering practice
- Building Information Modeling 12.5
Building Information Modeling
In the past few years, the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry has observed the evolution of simple 2D drafting programs into integrated Building Information Modelling (BIM) based on 3D spatial technologies. In this subject, students will learn how BIM is used to model, store and visualise architectural, structural, and facilities components of an infrastructure in 3D. Students will also learn how adding time and cost information to BIM allows AEC to foster collaboration in designing infrastructures, minimize the risk of construction errors and optimise the maintenance of them.
The subject is of particular relevance to students wishing to establish a career in civil engineering, property management, surveying, spatial information and urban planning but is also relevant to a range of disciplines where 3D building information should be considered.
- Energy Efficiency Technology 12.5
Energy Efficiency Technology
This subject explores the scope and methods for improving energy efficiency across a range of sectors. Improving energy efficiency is one of the key responses to increasingly scarce natural resources and problems caused by pollutants arising from energy production and use. A range of energy supply and usage scenarios will be considered including transport, manufacturing, commercial and domestic sectors. Collection of information by auditing and then using this information for planning, demand management and impact assessment will be investigated.
Knowledge gained in this subject will allow graduates to practice in the area of energy efficiency. This subject draws on students’ fundamental understanding of engineering efficiency, as well as their ability to use mathematics and statistics to analyse data to inform innovative solutions. The subject complements other subjects offered in the energy theme of the Department such as Energy for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering.
Areas of study include: potential for improvements in energy efficiency in petrol and diesel vehicles; energy efficiency technologies for the manufacturing, commercial and domestic sectors; demand side management; integrated resource planning; energy auditing; and economic and environmental impacts.
These are applied to the following thematic areas;
- Introduction: fundamentals, energy conversion, supply, distribution and utilisation of energy, Indices, indicators and measurements
- Advanced energy systems
- Energy audits
- Manufacturing sector
- Commercial sector (office & retail)
- Residential sector
- Transport sector
- Life cycle energy analysis
- Developing countries & remote areas
- Energy policy and planning
- Sustainable Buildings 12.5
This subject provides a multi-disciplinary overview of the design of sustainable buildings and considers the design from an architectural, services engineering, facade engineering, environmental engineering and structural engineering, tenants and owners perspective. A number of industry based case study examples will be introduced to complement the lectures.
This subject uses a project based learning project where students work in teams to design a new or refurbished commercial building to improve the environmental and social performance of the building. Students learn to apply sustainability-rating tools used in industry to their solutions.
Students in the subject come from different disciplinary backgrounds, principally engineering and architecture, and are expected to share their knowledge and learn from each other to successfully complete the project work. This stands them in good stead for entering professional practice in the area of sustainability.
Topics include: ecological sustainable design, life cycle analysis, planning for sustainable buildings and cities, regulatory environment, barriers to green buildings, green building rating tools, material selection, embodied energy, operating energy, indoor environmental quality (noise, light and air), facade systems, ventilation systems, transportation, water treatment systems, water efficiency, building economics, and staff productivity. These will be covered in the following thematic areas:
- Sustainable Cities
- Sustainable Precincts
- Building Envelope
- Building services - Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
- Building services - Energy
- Building Services - water
- Existing Buildings
- Green Building Rating Tools
- ESD Drivers and Barriers
- ESD Economics
- the process of a green building - 60L CH2
- Business Perspective
- Case Studies.
- Engineering Contracts and Procurement 12.5
Engineering Contracts and Procurement
In this subject students will learn how to structure and work with engineering contracts to deliver and procure engineering outcomes. Students will develop a working knowledge of contract administration and gain an understanding of commercial out workings of engineering. All engineers interface commercially with engineering contracts throughout their careers and thus the application of the subject content is broad. Those seeking to work as a contractor and as a contract administrator will find direct application of this subject’s content.
Commercial management of engineering projects including the role and responsibilities of corporate managers, market analysis, structuring of procurement options, development of contractual terms and conditions, and the pricing of work.
Estimating and tendering engineering works via work breakdown structures, work method statements, risk identification and tendering principles. Contract administration and project control functions and techniques including time and money negotiations and cash flow management are also covered through the use of detailed case study material.
- IE Research Project 3 12.5
IE Research Project 3
This subject provides the capstone experience for students in Infrastructure Engineering. Students will combine their expertise in interdisciplinary groups or as individuals to address real-world problems, typically in contact with industry.
Project topics will be advertised well in advance of commencement of the subject so that students can make an informed choice of topic and enrol early. Students must register their topic, group and supervisor before the subject commences.
The first half semester addresses research training and comprises online lectures and tutorials with group homework on topics such as project development, literature review, methodology development, skill development, critical thinking, project documentation, reflective writing, and scientific writing. Students will practise these skills throughout their project topics with supervisors providing feedback on the results.
Students then continue the project within their groups and with regular progress meetings with their supervisor for the remainder of the year. The project culminates with students presenting their project and findings on a poster at a student expo and also in written form in the style of a conference paper.
- Transport System Modelling 12.5
Transport System Modelling
In undergraduate subjects, students are exposed to some engineering features of transport and traffic engineering. However, these do not fully provide the requisite knowledge and skills for understanding the modelling and planning aspects of transport system engineering. These competencies are of highest importance for those interested in a career in transport engineering. In this subject, students will be provided with the fundamental concept of four-step modelling in depth, including trip generation/attraction, trip distribution, modal split and traffic assignment. The contemporary topics of transport modelling such as choice modelling, car-ownership and uncertainty modelling in the context of transport infrastructure engineering will also be presented. The subject provides real world examples and assignments. The primary emphasis of the subject is on concepts (rather than mathematical details) and getting students ready for the industry.
- Port Structural Design 12.5
Port Structural Design
The subject examines Port/Harbour infrastructures. It provides an in-depth overview of problems and issues relevant for port and harbour engineering. The subject relies on a synergetic approach combining cutting-edge research in Maritime Engineering and strong engagement of eminent industry-based lecturers from world leading firms. A number of industry-based applications and case-study examples will be introduced to complement the lectures.
- Design Process;
- Environmental loads and design values;
- Deck and piles;
- Wharves and jetties;
- Geotechnical issues;
- Breakwater design;
- Construction process.
- Port Access and Navigation 12.5
Port Access and Navigation
The subject examines the management ship traffic in a Port/Harbour. The subject relies on a synergetic approach combining cutting-edge research in Maritime Engineering and strong engagement of a former ship Captain and Harbour Master. A number of industry-based applications and case-study examples will be introduced to complement the lectures.
- Wave theory and marine forecasting;
- Vessel types and handling;
- Navigational aids;
- Underkeel clearance;
- Channel design;
- Port safety;
- Port Organization.
- Port and Harbour Engineering 12.5
Port and Harbour Engineering
The subject examines Port/Harbour Planning & Design Fundamentals. It provides a multi-disciplinary overview of problems and issues relevant for port and harbour engineering. The subject relies on a synergetic approach combining cutting-edge research in Maritime Engineering and strong engagement of eminent industry-based lecturers from world leading firms. A number of industry-based applications and case-study examples will be introduced to complement the lectures. The subject will provide students with a solid grounding in the technologies, concepts, methods & hydrodynamic theories used in the planning, design & construction of harbour facilities.
- The business of ports
- Structural design of marine infrastructure
- Port design
- Ships, pilotage and navigation, berthing and mooring
- Harbour hydrodynamics
- Hydrographic surveying
- Corrosion protection
- Civil works at ports.