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Unit of study_

ITLS6500: Decision Making on Mega Projects

Semester 1, 2021 [Block mode] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Infrastructure is crucial to economic performance; without it, business cannot operate efficiently or competitively. Delivery of large infrastructure projects, however, is complex and despite many more megaprojects being undertaken than any time in history, the majority of these projects are completed significantly over-budget and longer than planned. In this unit, students will be introduced to megaproject decision making. The sources of social and technical complexity are discussed, issues of risk management and governance explored, and human biases in decision making are also highlighted. Strategies to overcome weaknesses in mega project decision making are also outlined.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ITLS6500
Academic unit Transport and Logistics Studies
Credit points 6
ITLS5000 or TPTM5001 or ITLS5100 or TPTM6241 or INFS5001
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Martin Locke,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam Final exam
Written exam
30% Formal exam period 24 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Individual assignment 1
Written assessment
20% Week 04
Due date: 24 Mar 2021 at 16:00

Closing date: 31 Mar 2021
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Individual assignment 2
Written assessment
20% Week 07
Due date: 21 Apr 2021 at 16:00

Closing date: 28 Apr 2021
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Individual assignment 3
Written assessment
30% Week 12
Due date: 26 May 2021 at 16:00

Closing date: 02 Jun 2021
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Individual assignment 1: The assignment consists of 5 questions to be answered with short form concise responses. Questions will cover issues discussed in weeks 1, 2 3.
  • Individual assignment 2: The assignment consists of 5 questions to be answered with short form concise responses. Questions will cover issues discussed in weeks 4, 5, 6.
  • Individual assignment 3: The assignment consists of an individual report reviewing a specified mega project.
  • Final exam: The final exam contains 5 take-home questions to be answered with short-form concise responses. The objective is to apply the material provided over the full unit relating to decision making for mega projects to a series of topical questions.

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

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

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

For more information see

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 Introduction to issues facing mega projects Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 02 How do you formulate a good business case? Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 03 How do you manage risk? Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 04 What governance structures should be applied? Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 05 Feedback, Review and Case Studies Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 06 How do you address procurement issues? Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 07 Challenges in Managing Mega Projects Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 08 Feedback, Case study: Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 09 Future Reform Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 10 Challenges to the Delivery Model Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 11 What are the key funding and financing issues Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 12 Case Studies Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 13 Feedback, Recap, Refresher, Concluding Thoughts Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Lecture recording: All lectures and seminars are recorded and will be available on Canvas for student use. Please note the Business School does not own the system and cannot guarantee that the system will operate or that every class will be recorded. Students should ensure they attend and participate in all classes.

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.

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. use the course material to identify the issues surrounding infrastructure projects and identify sources of failure and success in the decision making process
  • LO2. apply concepts to develop plans to overcome barriers in the development and management of mega-projects
  • LO3. apply the course concepts to communicate potential problems in mega-project management and provide strategies to overcome them.

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.

The class brings in industry professionals who address current issues of infrastructure management.


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

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.