ENCI438-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Introduction to Structural Earthquake Engineering

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This course introduces analytical methods and design concepts in structural earthquake engineering. The course covers fundamentals of seismic hazard and seismic demands on typical structures and components, as well as key concepts and techniques used to analyse, design, and understand the behaviour of structures under earthquake loads.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course you should be able to:

 Explain the overall seismic design philosophy for structures, including key concepts controlling the design seismic hazard at a site;
 Apply the equivalent lateral force method for the design of SDOF and MDOF systems.
 Apply capacity design principles to determine the failure mode of a single member and the strength hierarchy of different members in an overall structural system;
 Explain the concept of global and local ductility demands and the ductility capacity of a system;
 Use simplified methods to analyse and design floor diaphragms for horizontal loads;
 Calculate MDOF system response using modal response spectrum analysis concepts;
 Assess response of a typical building structure via pushover analysis and use hand calculations to verify the adequacy of computer-based structural analyses;
 Explain key aspects of the nonlinear behaviour of MDOF systems, including computational concerns, soil-structure interaction effects, and other concepts.




Timetable 2020

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 16:00 - 18:00 - (23/3, 20/4, 4/5-25/5)
E9 Lecture Theatre (17/2-16/3)
17 Feb - 29 Mar
20 Apr - 26 Apr
4 May - 31 May
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 16:00 - 18:00 - (23/4-28/5)
E9 Lecture Theatre (20/2-19/3)
17 Feb - 22 Mar
20 Apr - 31 May
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 13:00 - 15:00 17 Feb - 29 Mar
20 Apr - 31 May

Examination and Formal Tests

Test A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 09:00 - 12:00 20 Apr - 26 Apr

Timetable Note

The core material covered in the course will be presented in three lectures each week. Students are expected to jot down key concepts and ideas as they are discussed, or illustrated with diagrams and graphs. Examples and problems will be used to demonstrate techniques and concepts, but you (students) are expected to put in time outside lectures to refine your understanding through revision and additional reading, and to develop your problem-solving skills by working through illustrative problems.

The lecture material is supported by tutorials. These tutorials provide an excellent opportunity to develop problem solving skills in a supportive environment. Please take full advantage of these sessions. A rough guide to the amount of time you should be putting into the various parts of this course is listed as follows:

Contact Hours (Note: This is an indication of average expected workload. Actual time spent by students may vary widely.)
Lectures 36 hours
Tutorials 24 hours
Total 60 hours

Independent Study
Lecture review and reading 24 hours
Tutorial prep, lab and homework 30 hours
Test and exam preparation 36 hours
Total 90 hours

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Rajesh Dhakal


Tim Sullivan


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Assignments 20%
final exam 40%
Test 40%

The test will cover Modules 1-3 (Seismic Hazard, Seismic Demand on Structures, and Simple Seismic Analysis/Design). The final exam will be comprehensive, but with a focus on Modules 4-6 (Fundamentals of MDOF response, Floor Diaphragms, and Nonlinear MDOF Behaviour).


This course follows all departmental policies and procedures as stated in the Undergraduate Handbook and as modified this course outline. Please refer to the 2020 CNRE Undergraduate Handbook for all policies and procedures not explicitly listed here, including (but not limited to) the assignment of grades, missed coursework and appeals, use of calculators on tests and exams, special considerations/aegrotats, professional conduct, dishonest practice and plagiarism, and use of CNRE computing facilities.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,102.00

International fee $5,500.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering.

All ENCI438 Occurrences

  • ENCI438-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020