Module code: ENGM264

Module Overview

Infrastructure systems have become increasingly complex and interconnected which results in strong interdependencies between them. These systems may become fragile and subject to disruptions that can have significant consequences both in the local as well as national and global level. This module forms the foundation required for systems thinking in infrastructure by introducing the background required for modelling the interconnected nature of infrastructure systems and understanding the different types of interdependencies that exist between them. It also provides an overview of the different types of risks that need to be considered for assessing the resilience of infrastructure systems and discusses the different adaptation and mitigation options available for sustaining their continuous operation and preventing cascading failures.

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

IMAM Boulent (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 93

Seminar Hours: 12

Guided Learning: 12

Captured Content: 33

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module includes the following topics:

  • Introduction to Infrastructure Systems

Examples of catastrophes and lessons learnt; Definitions and terminology; Introduction to systems thinking

  • Infrastructure Sectors and Interdependencies

Overview of infrastructure sectors: transport, energy, water & waste, ICT; Systemic interdependencies; Critical Infrastructure; Definitions of criticality and performance

  • Infrastructure Resilience

Definitions of resilience; Challenges related to different users/operators; Risk, hazards, vulnerability; Risk assessment frameworks

  • Case studies

2007 UK floods case studies; Ulley Reservoir; Mythe Water Treatment Works; Walham Electricity Substation

  • Systems Thinking, Modelling and Analysis

Evolution of systems thinking; Systems methodologies; Systems thinking in the UK – examples; Analyses of interdependencies and cascading failures

  • Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation

Adaptation vs mitigation; Climate changes risks and impacts on infrastructure sectors; Extreme weather management

  • Government, Governance and Infrastructure

            Government vs Governance definitions; Regulated and unregulated infrastructure sectors; Infrastructure appraisal and investment

This module is within the threads of Sustainability and Health and Safety Risk Management.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 30
Examination Online ONLINE 24 HOUR (OPEN BOOK) EXAM 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is centred on two units of assessment:

  1. The end-of-semester examination provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of systems thinking in infrastructure risk and resilience assessment (Learning outcomes 001, 002, 003 and 004).

  2. The coursework tests the students in their understanding of the interdependencies across and between infrastructure sectors and the ability to propose ways of increasing resilience and mitigating risks; the coursework also assesses the ability of the students to review and critical appraise literature, organise a report and effectively communicate key information (Learning outcome 001, 002, 003, 005).

Where appropriate, feedback on student progress will be given during the discussions in the lectures and online through SurreyLearn based on the self-study questions that will be posted. Students will receive written feedback on the coursework report

Module aims

  • Introduce the terminology and definitions required for systems modelling of infrastructures and the assessment of their resilience.
  • Provide understanding into the resilience and risk assessment of infrastructure systems against different types of hazards and unanticipated conditions
  • Discuss the interdependent nature of infrastructure systems through the review of case studies from past infrastructure failures

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss the different types of interdependencies that exist within and across different infrastructure sectors. KCPT EA4, D2
002 Assess the different types of hazards and risks that need to be considered during infrastructure systems analysis. KCPT EA4, D2, EL6M, P9M
003 Synthesize and specify appropriate adaptation and mitigation actions to improve the resilience of infrastructure systems. CPT SM6M, EA4, D1, D2, D8M
004 Discuss the cross-sectoral challenges existing within the complex nature of interconnected infrastructure systems. CT SM6M, EA5M, P4, P9M
005 Write reports that are well organised and effectively communicate all key information T D6, P4

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The module is delivered principally by lectures which include group discussions amongst students debating a number of the topics included in the module contents




Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM264

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Bridge Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Structural Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Infrastructure Engineering and Management MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2021/2 academic year.