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Unit outline_

CIVL9235: Structural Analysis

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The objectives of this unit are to provide an understanding of the principles of structural analysis by introducing the strain-displacement, stress-strain and equilibrium relationships for beam members; applying the relationships to the matrix displacement analysis of frame structures; and using computer software to conduct the linear-elastic and buckling analyses of frame structures. At the end of this unit, students will be able to deduce appropriate structural models for frame structures; and use computer methods and simple hand methods to obtain internal forces and displacements as well as buckling loads for frame structures. The syllabus comprises theoretical background (strain-displacement, stress-strain and equilibrium relationships), structural analysis software, matrix displacement method, beam theory, introduction to nonlinear analysis, buckling analysis.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Civil Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

This unit of study assumes previous study of the fundamental principles of structural mechanics obtained from CIVL9201 Foundations of Structural Mechanics or equivalent introductory structural mechanics subject.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ali Amin,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Skills-based evaluation Quiz 1
25% Week 05
Due date: 25 Sep 2020 at 20:00
1 day
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Skills-based evaluation Quiz 2
25% Week 07
Due date: 16 Oct 2020 at 20:00
1 day
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Skills-based evaluation Quiz 3
25% Week 09
Due date: 30 Oct 2020 at 20:00
1 day
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Skills-based evaluation Quiz 4
25% Week 12
Due date: 20 Nov 2020 at 20:00
1 day
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Assessment summary

  • Assignment 1: A set of calculation exercises to enable students to gain a deeper understanding of the stiffness method.
  • Assignment 2: A further set of calculation exercises relating to the linear-elastic, nonlinear, and buckling behaviour of structural systems.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to structural analysis; 2. Revision: functions, matrix algebra, mechanics of solids Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 02 1. Statics of structures; 2. Analysis of statically determinate trusses using method of joints and method of sections Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 03 Moment Distribution Method Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 04 Moment Distribution Method Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 05 Beam theory: Euler-Bernoulli beam model Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 06 Beam theory: Euler-Bernoulli beam model Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 07 Stiffness Analysis Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 08 Stiffness Analysis Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 09 Stiffness Analysis Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 10 Introduction to nonlinear analysis and numerical modelling Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 11 Introduction to nonlinear analysis and numerical modelling Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 12 Introduction to the structural stability of columns Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • Gianluca Ranzi & Raymond Ian Gilbert, Structural Analysis: Principles, Methods and Modelling. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2015.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. carry out buckling analyses of columns and frames
  • LO2. perform nonlinear analyses and understand the differences from the linear-elastic analyses
  • LO3. analyse statically determinate structures using the method of joints, the method of section, and equilibrium considerations
  • LO4. apply the fundamental methods of linear-elastic analysis, which include the stiffness method
  • LO5. derive the differential equations which form the basis of beam theory, and learn how to apply the appropriate boundary conditions.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

One less topic is being covered this year due to concerns made in last years USS surveys


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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