This unit provides the fundamental knowledge of application of numerical methods in civil engineering applications. Special focus will be on matrix analysis of structure and application of finite element methods to civil engineering structures.

Teaching Periods
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date
Semester 1
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Analyse a simple frame structure using the coordinate transformation method, i.e., to establish structural stiffness matrix for frame structures, to convert member loads to nodal loads, and to determine forces and moments in each member (K1, K3, S1, S2)
  • Describe the theory of finite element methods and the solution algorithms in the FE programs (K1, S1)
  • Select appropriate elements and formulate the structure accordingly to reproduce the real behaviour (K3, K4, S2)
  • Use a general purpose FE program to perform stress analysis for a simple structure and consider various behaviour of beams, plates, shells and continuum elements (K2, K3, K4, S1, S2)
  • Examine the stability of structures and determine the elastic buckling load (K1, K3, S1, S3)
  • Idealise and apply various loads to structures and determine the performance (K1, S3)

Teaching methods


Type Hours per week Number of weeks Total (number of hours)
2.00 12 weeks 24
2.00 12 weeks 24
Unspecified Activities
Independent Learning
8.50 12 weeks 102


Type Task Weighting ULO's
AssignmentIndividual 40 - 50% 1,2,3,4,5,6 
ProjectGroup 30 - 40% 3,4,6 
QuizIndividual 10 - 20% 1,2,3,4,5,6 


As the minimum requirements of assessment to pass a unit and meet all ULOs to a minimum standard, an undergraduate student must have achieved:

(i) An aggregate mark of 50% or more, and (ii) Must pass all assignments.Students who do not successfully achieve hurdle requirement (ii) in full will receive a maximum of 45% as the total mark for the unit.


This unit provides an overview of the numerical methods used to analyse the civil engineering structures with the special focus on finite element methods. Main topics covered are:

  • Numerical methods in engineering applications
  • Matrix structural analysis
  • Mathematical formulation of the Finite element Method (FEM)
  • Variational and energy methods
  • Element interpolation functions and numerical integration
  • Finite element analysis for time-dependent problems
  • Application of finite element software to analyse static and dynamic structural problems and stability of structures

Study resources

Reading materials

A list of reading materials and/or required textbooks will be available in the Unit Outline on Canvas.