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MEC3303 System Design

Semester 2, 2014 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

Contents on this page


Examiner: Bob Fulcher
Moderator: Chris Snook


Pre-requisite: MEC2301 or Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCEN or GDET or METC or GCNS or GDNS or MEPR or MENS


Most engineering products form part of a system which can be broken down into sub systems, assemblies and components. A considerable amount of design synthesis and analysis has to be done on the system as a whole before a product or process design specification can be drawn up. It is therefore important that the engineer is able to recognise what forms a system, a subsystem and a component, and how the performance of the whole system is affected by the performance of its constituent parts. In systems design, the engineer considers the widest implications of a product, project or process at the design stage, including not only the technical interactions of the various subsystems, but also the political, sociological and socio-economic implications. This course leads the student to an understanding of the philosophy and methodology of the design process in the context of systems which embrace political, sociological, economic, technical and ergonomic aspects. It then provides practice through assignments and workshops in developing the student's ability to discern the relevant factors and design accordingly, to interact within a design team, and to communicate ideas and concepts through oral and written presentation. An essential skill for the design engineer is to be able to work across disciplines and therefore they often have to "learn" new specialisations. In this course the student is introduced to a number of specialist topics not covered elsewhere in their course of study. This is a senior course and it is assumed that the student has the maturity, knowledge and skills base commensurate with having completed the first two years of their undergraduate course.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. identify, review and evaluate design projects that require the system design approach;
  2. develop a design brief and plan and manage a system design;
  3. apply methodologies of design;
  4. optimise and rationalise a design in the wider engineering environment of statutes, ecology, common law, ergonomics, social acceptability, marketing etc;
  5. explain the relationship between the design function and the corporate environment;
  6. transfer and apply the use of appropriate computer techniques/packages;
  7. apply specialist knowledge and evaluative skills in a number of new areas within the discipline of mechanical engineering;
  8. co-operate in a teamwork environment.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Design Philosophy Design criteria, designing for performance, strength, rigidity, life. Statistical nature of loads and functional properties, design factor. 5.00
2. System Reliability 10.00
3. System Identification Definition of function, single and multi function, required life, determination of constraints, breakdown into subsystems and components 5.00
4. The Design Process Synthesis, range of options, modelling and simulation, functional analysis, value analysis, optimisation, creativity, aesthetics Cost, technology, statues, Government Policy, public opinion, Trades Union and Professional Association policy, pressure groups, ergonomics, ecology Market analysis, costing, community costs, promotion, company policy and image, product line Objective function, system versus sub system optimisation. Operations research methods Anthropometric data, noise and vibration discomfort criteria, visual acuity 40.00
5. Engineering Specialisations Engineering noise control Hydraulic and pneumatic design 40.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Ertas, A & Jones, JC 1996, The engineering design process, 2nd edn, Wiley, New York.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Bies, DA & Hansen, CH 2003, Engineering noise control: theory and practice, 3rd edn, Spon, London.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 26.00
Private Study 26.00
Project Work 75.00
Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
MAJOR DESIGN 600 60 27 Oct 2014
ASSIGNMENT 100 10 31 Oct 2014
2 HOUR OPEN EXAMINATION 300 30 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. Student Administration will advise students of the dates of their examinations during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade in a course a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In an Open Examination, candidates may have access to any material during the examination except the following: electronic communication devices, bulky materials, devices requiring mains power and material likely to disturb other students.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. This is a communication benchmark course and a major component of the assessment of this course will be associated with the demonstration of communication skills.

  11. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and internet access to UConnect for this course.