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CIVL4022: Thesis A (2019 - Semester 2)

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Unit: CIVL4022: Thesis A (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Honours
Faculty/School: Civil Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Miao, Guien
Session options: Semester 1, Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: 30 credit points of at least third year units of study and ISWAM 65 or over.
Brief Handbook Description: The ability to plan, systematically conduct and report on a major project, involving both research and design, is an important skill for professional engineers. The final year thesis units (Thesis A and Thesis B) aim to provide students with the opportunity to carry out a defined piece of independent research and design that fosters the development of engineering skills. These skills include: the capacity to define a problem; carry out systematic research in exploring how it relates to existing knowledge; identifying the tools needed to address the problem; designing a solution, product or prototype; analysing the results obtained; and presenting the outcomes in a report that is clear, coherent and logically structured.

The thesis is undertaken across two semesters of enrolment. Taken together, the thesis A covers initial research into the background of the problem being considered (formulated as a literature review), development of a detailed proposal incorporating project objectives, planning, and risk assessment, preliminary design, modelling and/or experimental work, followed by the detailed work in designing a solution, performing experiments, evaluating outcomes, analysing results, and writing up and presenting the outcomes. The final grade is based on the work done in both Thesis A and B, and will be awarded upon successful completion of Thesis B.

While recognising that some projects can be interdisciplinary in nature, it is the normal expectation that the students would do the project in their chosen area of specialisation. For student who are completing a Major within their BE degree, the thesis topic must be within the area of the Major. The theses to be undertaken by students will very often be related to some aspect of a staff member’s research interests. Some projects will be experimental in nature, others may involve computer-based simulation and analysis, feasibility studies or the design, construction and testing of equipment. All however will require students to undertake research and design relevant to the topic of their thesis. The direction of thesis work may be determined by the supervisor or be of an original nature, but in either case the student is responsible for the execution of the practical work and the general layout and content of the thesis itself.

The thesis must be the student's individual work although it may be conducted as a component of a wider group project. Students undertaking research on this basis will need to take care in ensuring the quality of their own research and design work and their individual final thesis submission. The thesis will be judged on the extent and quality of the student's original work and particularly how critical, perceptive and constructive they have been in assessing their work and that of others. Students will also be required to present the results of their thesis to their peers and supervisors as part of a seminar program.

Whilst thesis topics will be constrained by the available time and resources, the aim is to contribute to the creation of new engineering knowledge, techniques and/or solutions. Students should explore topics that arouse intellectual curiosity and represent an appropriate range and diversity of technical and conceptual research and design challenges.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Additional Notes: Department permission required for enrolment. It is expected that the Thesis will be conducted over two consecutive semesters and that the majority of students will start in Semester 1. Commencement in Semester 2 requires permission of Thesis coordinator and School`s Director of Learning & Teaching and will only be allowed where there are good reasons for doing so. Students considering this option should discuss it with the Thesis coordinator at least one semester before they intend to start.
Timetable: CIVL4022 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Welcome Session 1.00 1 1
2 Research 10.00 13
3 Meeting 1 13
T&L Activities: Meeting: It is expected that students will meet with their supervisor once a week, unless otherwise agreed to by both student/s and supervisor.

Research: It is expected that students will spend at least one full day per week undertaking background research work, organizing their plan of work and preparing their research program.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3)
1. Formulate and plan a personal research project
2. Evaluate critical research issues with originality, ingenuity and initiative
3. Formulate an appropriate method for investigating a specific research question
4. Document and report research work undertaken in a format appropriate for academic literature with correct referencing
5. Communicate research outcomes to a broad audience (peers, academics, laypeople) in a clear, confident and engaging manner
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 2)
6. Reflect on the contribution of research to the discipline of engineering and to engineering practice
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4)
7. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a specialised area within the discipline
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 3)
8. Analyse data, draw appropriate conclusions and present those conclusions in context, with due consideration of methods and assumptions involved
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Project Description* No 2.00 Week 2 1, 3, 4, 5, 6,
2 Literature Review & Project Proposal* No 10.00 Week 9 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7,
3 Mini-Presentation Yes 8.00 Following Semester 2, 5, 6, 7, 8,
4 Thesis No 60.00 Following Semester 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
5 Presentation/Seminar Yes 10.00 Following Semester 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
6 Management No 10.00 Following Semester 1,
Assessment Description: * indicates the assessment must be repeated if a student misses it due to special consideration.

There may be statistically defensible moderation when combining the marks from each component to ensure consistency of marking between markers, and alignment of final grades with unit outcomes.

Project Description (A): A one-page description of the project is required from each student.

Literature Review & Project Proposal (A): A preliminary review of the literature of 8–10 pages and project proposal of 2 pages is required from each student. The literature review and proposal should consist of (at least) problem/task specification, literature survey, proposed methodology, expected outcomes and a timeline.

Mini-Presentation (B): Each student will be required to contribute to a group video presentation outlining the progress of the project. The presentation should summarise the group`s research work thus far and include any steps required to complete the objectives of the project in a timely manner.

Thesis (B): Final submission of written thesis report. Maximum length is 50 pages (including tables, figures and references, but not appendices). The report must contain a page stating the specific contributions of the student and that of others involved. While the project work is conducted in groups, the Final Report itself must be written and submitted individually. Students should closely consult the UoS guidelines and marking rubrics for content and formatting requirements.

Presentation/Seminar (B): Each student will be required to report on the progress in their thesis/project investigations by participating in the presentation of a short group seminar to their fellow thesis students and their supervisors. The seminars will be run in parallel sessions, depending on the field of specialisation. Students are expected to attend all presentations in their session and provide a peer review; failure to attend and review will result in a mark deduction of 10% from the Presentation mark.

Management (B): Management of project. Projects are undertaken in groups but the marking of project management component is based on individual contributions.


Satisfactory progress in Thesis A requires that the student achieves a combined mark of at least 6/12 for the Project Description and Literature Review & Project Proposal. Any student who does not meet this requirement will not be allowed to progress to Thesis B.


All assessments must be completed to pass these Units of Study. Failure to submit any assessment will result in a mark of 48% irrespective of any marks obtained in other components of assessment.

The late penalty for all assessments will be 5% per day for 10 calendar days, after which a mark of zero will be applied.
Grade Type Description
Continuing Unit This unit is first of a two part series. On completing this unit, students will receive a mark of UC (Unit Continuing) if they have shown sufficient progress to warrant continuing with the next unit. The final grade for the two units is based on the work done in both units as a whole.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Selection of topics and allocation of thesis supervisor. Topic selection form due.
Week 2 Thesis project work.
Assessment Due: Project Description*
Week 3 Thesis project work.
Week 4 Thesis project work.
Week 5 Thesis project work.
Week 6 Thesis project work.
Week 7 Thesis project work.
Week 8 Thesis project work.
Week 9 Thesis project work.
Assessment Due: Literature Review & Project Proposal*
Week 10 Thesis project work.
Week 11 Thesis project work.
Week 12 Thesis project work.
Week 13 Thesis project work.
Following Semester Assessment Due: Mini-Presentation
Assessment Due: Thesis
Assessment Due: Presentation/Seminar
Assessment Due: Management

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Civil/ Project Management 2019
Civil 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Civil / Arts 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Civil / Commerce 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Civil / Design in Architecture 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Civil / Medical Science 2015, 2016, 2017
Civil / Music Studies 2016, 2017
Civil / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Civil / Science 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Civil/Science (Health) 2018, 2019
Civil (Construction Management) 2015
Civil (Environmental) 2015
Civil (Geotechnical) 2015
Civil / Law 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Civil (Structures) 2015
Civil Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Civil/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019
Aeronautical/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019
Aeronautical Mid-Year 2018, 2019
Aeronautical/ Project Management 2019
Aeronautical 2018, 2019
Aeronautical / Arts 2018, 2019
Aeronautical / Commerce 2018, 2019
Aeronautical / Project Management 2018
Aeronautical / Science 2018, 2019
Aeronautical/Science (Health) 2018, 2019
Aeronautical / Law 2018, 2019
Biomedical Mid-Year 2018, 2019
Biomedical/ Project Management 2019
Biomedical 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Biomedical / Arts 2018, 2019
Biomedical / Commerce 2018, 2019
Biomedical / Project Management 2018
Biomedical /Science 2018, 2019
Biomedical/Science (Health) 2018, 2019
Biomedical / Law 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular 2017, 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular / Arts 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular / Commerce 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular / Medical Science 2016, 2017
Chemical & Biomolecular / Music Studies 2016, 2017
Chemical & Biomolecular / Project Management 2016, 2017, 2018
Chemical & Biomolecular / Science 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular/Science (Health) 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular / Law 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular Mid-Year 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular/ Project Management 2019
Electrical Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Electrical/ Project Management 2019
Electrical 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Electrical / Arts 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Electrical / Commerce 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Electrical / Medical Science 2016, 2017
Electrical / Music Studies 2016, 2017
Electrical / Project Management 2016, 2017, 2018
Electrical / Science 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Electrical/Science (Health) 2018, 2019
Electrical / Law 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Mechanical Mid-Year 2018, 2019
Mechanical/ Project Management 2019
Mechanical 2018, 2019
Mechanical / Arts 2018, 2019
Mechanical / Commerce 2018, 2019
Mechanical / Project Management 2018
Mechanical / Science 2018, 2019
Mechanical/Science(Health) 2018, 2019
Mechanical / Law 2018, 2019
Mechatronic Mid-Year 2018, 2019
Mechatronic/ Project Management 2019
Mechatronic 2018, 2019
Mechatronic / Arts 2018, 2019
Mechatronic / Commerce 2018, 2019
Mechatronic / Project Management 2018
Mechatronic / Science 2018, 2019
Mechatronic/Science (Health) 2018, 2019
Mechatronic / Law 2018, 2019
Software Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Software/ Project Management 2019
Software 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Software / Arts 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Software / Commerce 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Software / Medical Science 2016, 2017
Software / Music Studies 2016, 2017
Software / Project Management 2016, 2017, 2018
Software / Science 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Software/Science (Health) 2018, 2019
Software / Law 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Biomedical/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019
Chemical & Biomolecular/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019
Electrical/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019
Mechanical/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019
Mechatronic/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019
Software/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018, 2019
Civil (till 2014) 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Arts 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Commerce 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Medical Science 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Science 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Construction Management) (till 2014) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Environmental) (till 2014) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Geotechnical) (till 2014) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Structures) (till 2014) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) (till 2012) 2010, 2011, 2012
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) / Arts 2011
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) / Commerce 2010, 2011
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) / Science 2011
Flexible First Year (Stream A) / Science 2012

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3) No 66.55%
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3) No 0%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 2) No 10.75%
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 4) No 0%
(4) Design (Level 4) No 0%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4) No 13.15%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4) No 0%
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 3) No 9.55%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.