Module code: ENG3176

Module Overview

The module provides an introduction to modelling complex structural behaviour used in practice for the design and analysis of structures. The Finite Element Method is introduced as a general tool for the numerical simulation of different types of structures. A verification process of the computational results is introduced using conceptual models. Various topics associated with nonlinear structural behavior, damage and collapse, such as plastic analysis of frames and plates, are also introduced.

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 96

Seminar Hours: 10

Tutorial Hours: 10

Laboratory Hours: 4

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 20

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

  • Finite element method – an introduction to the method, including modelling principles, truss structures, frames structures and plate/shell structures.

  • Introduction to the use of verification and validation processes in structural analysis modelling by means of reference conceptual models.

  • Nonlinear structural behaviour concerning structural damage and failure.

  • Plastic collapse – kinematic approaches to estimate plastic collapse loads for beams, frames and slabs.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2-HOUR (INVIGILATED) EXAM 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy in this module is aligned with the learning outcomes and it is designed to provide students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability and intellectual input to solve complex structural analysis problems using digital tools and their professional skills.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework assignment using Finite Element Analysis and verification procedures. This constitutes 30% of the assessment.

  • A two-hour invigilated exam covering topics across the module. This constitutes 70% of the assessment.

  The formative assessment is provided on a weekly basis and consists of:

  • Self-assessment exercises on SurreyLearn

  • Tutorial exercises

Feedback is given by

  • Personal feedback given during tutorial sessions

  • Written feedback on coursework and self-assessment exercises

  • Participation in SurreyLearn discussion forums


Module aims

  • Introduce different analytical and numerical approaches to assess the performance of different structural elements (i.e. frames, trusses, slabs and walls) commonly found in structural engineering.
  • Provide an appreciation of relevant topics in structural engineering for load-deflection analysis and plastic collapse, which can govern the design/analysis of structures.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Evaluate the appropriateness of structural models (linear and area structural elements) by formal verification and validation techniques. KCT
002 Employ commercial structural analysis and Finite Element applications to model skeletal, plates and plane-stress problems. PT
003 Use the kinematic approach to solve for rigid plastic collapse of beams, unbraced frames and slabs. KC
004 Interpretation of numerical results to assess potential structural damage and to propose mitigating measures. KCT
005 Technical report writing of structural appraisals, with the synthesis of data, using different digital and theoretical approaches. T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

This module offers learning and teaching activities which are presented on a weekly basis. These activities include video captured content for the main theoretical basis which is supported by guided learning material and live tutorial sessions to go through practical examples of application (including use of digital tools and resources) and questions raised during the week.

The learning content of this module covers advanced structural analysis methods to assess damage or collapse, which go beyond linear elastic approaches shown in FHEQ Level 5 ENG2103 Structural Analysis 1. The module builds upon concepts in Structural Engineering in FHEQ Levels 4 and 5 (ENG1063 Materials and Static, ENG1076 Structural Design I, ENG2102 Structural Design 2). The content in this module will enable students to tackle other modules in FHEQ Level 6 (ENG3183 Integrated Design 3) and Level 7 on the BEng and MEng programmes respectively.

The learning and teaching strategies include:

22 hours of lectures/captured content, 11 hours of tutorial classes including practical computer lab sessions and class tutorials and 117 hours independent learning.

Total student learning time 150 hours.

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: ENG3176

Other information

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Resourcefulness & Resilience: The module builds upon previous knowledge on Structural Analysis (ENG2103 Structural Analysis 1). In this module, students have to apply feedback received during tutorial sessions to solve the analysis of complex structural systems. Students have to reflect on this feedback and bring innovative solutions to real structural problems where computer and hand calculations are required.

Digital Capabilities: This module covers Finite Element Modelling using commercial software and verification using first principles from previous years. This includes interpretation, verification and manipulation of input and output data as well as review critically tolerances and expected levels of accuracy. These issues are becoming more relevant in Structural Analysis as we move towards digital delivery and work environment of design projects.

Employability: The module covers advanced structural analysis in which students will be expected to demonstrate different professional skills such as knowledge and application of advance modelling techniques, creativity when proposing structural solutions based on numerical predictions, attention to detail related to project constraints and ability to communicate results in a report which could be reviewed by designers. Students will develop these skills which will also prepare them for other modules in FHEQ Level 6 (ENG3183 Integrated Design 3) and Level 7 on the BEng and MEng programmes in Civil Engineering.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Civil Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% 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 2025/6 academic year.