Structural Engineering is a key stream in most civil engineering courses. Engineers are required to design a variety of structures under various loading regimes using simplified codes methods or alternatively more accurate techniques. More specifically this unit of study aims to give students a fundamental understanding in the design of reinforced concrete structural elements.
The following topics are covered: Design of reinforced concrete simply supported and continuous beams in bending, shear and torsion. Serviceability design of beams including deflection and crack control. Design of one-way and two-way slabs using method of coefficients. Analysis of Flat slabs using simplified strip and equivalent frame methods, including punching shear. Reinforced concrete column and wall design. Introduction to strut and tie method, pre-stressed concrete and footing design.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


NEC2201 - Introduction to Structural Engineering Design

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Analyse and design reinforced concrete beams in both strength and serviceability states (for bending, shear, torsion, deflection and crack control);  
  2. Analyse and design reinforced concrete one-way and two-way slabs (including flat plates);  
  3. Analyse and design members in combined compression and bending (i.e. columns and walls);  
  4. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of relevant Australian codes of practice in the design of concrete structures;  
  5. Exercise critical thinking and judgement in formulating and solving specific concrete design problems; and  
  6. Work both autonomously in solving problems and collaborate as a member of a team in undertaking design tasks.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Mid-block test (1.5 hours equivalent to 1000 words) 30%
Portfolio Portfolio Problems 15%
Project PBL design project 40%
Presentation Design Project Oral Presentation 15%
The test focuses upon the individual student's ability to demonstrate his or her in-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline, and apply established engineering methods to complex engineering problems, as defined in Engineers Australia competencies 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1 and 2.3. In addition, the tasks assess the student on the individual components of Learning Outcomes (LO) (1 to 5) which are not assessed within the portfolio or project. As the test is the one clear way by which these competencies and LO's can be assessed on an individual basis, students must achieve a minimum mark of 40% in the examination in order to pass the unit.

Required reading

The prescribed text 1 is supplemented by resource material placed on the University website (VU Collaborate).

Reinforced & Prestressed concrete: Analysis and design with emphasis on the application of AS3600-2009 3rd ed.
Loo, Y.C. and Chowdhury, S.H. (2018)
Cambridge Press

Refer to VU Collaborate for recommended reading and additional resources.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

Study a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree. Learn more about single units of study at VU.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.