Did You Know Civil Has Five Papers?

Civil is the bane of every other specialisation’s existence – by about two weeks into semester one EVERYONE knows that civil has five papers each semester, and that we love telling anyone who’ll listen. I remember thinking when I enrolled that I’d never be that kid who told everyone I did five papers, but it’s surprising how easy it is to toss “yeah, we do five papers” into most sentences as an explanation, excuse or joke, and get a kick out of people’s reactions (until they get sick of it). It’s also a favourite pastime of ours to make sure everyone knows that the 10 point papers are more work than the 15 point papers, even though they’re worth less (and cheaper – thanks Studylink). I’ll give you a rundown of each of the five papers, and let you know a bit about them from a student’s point of view.



CIVIL 201: Land Information Systems – 10 points

“Aspects of elementary engineering surveying as used for gathering site information for the design and setting out of works. Land information systems, modern methods of gathering, processing and presenting information for engineering purposes”

Basically, this paper is a lot of calculations for working out angles and distances in circles, and levelling calculations. The labs for this paper were by far my favourite; it’s essentially spending 2 hours at the domain with a theodolite measuring angles and whacking pegs into the ground (and if you’re me, struggling to get them back out again at the end). This paper also involves a field exercise where you get two days off uni; one day is spent surveying at the domain and the other is spent doing home “study” (or whatever else you wish). Fair warning; there are over 200 posts on the piazza page for this paper, and not a single one has been answered by a lecturer. I haven’t had any success with answered emails either. If you need help, office hours are the way to go.


CIVIL 210: Introduction to Structures – 15 points

“Structural forms and systems. Analysis of determinate systems, elasticity. Engineering beam theory, elasticity, failure theories. Introduction to structural design”

This paper is the statics section of ENGGEN 121 on steroids. It’s everything you’ve already learnt and more, all wrapped up in one not-too-badly-written coursebook. This paper is basically what you think when you think of civil, and good old shear force and bending moment diagrams end up being the easiest part. There are some lovely free marks involved in the form of homework assignments (same idea as peer assessments except you don’t have to mark other people’s work), and a fun bridge analysis and design project. A major downside to this paper that I found was we only got our results back for the project and a test after the exam which was less than ideal, but on the whole this is a nice paper.


CIVIL 220: Introductory Engineering Geology – 10 points

“Principles of physical and structural geology. Elementary stratigraphy. Applied geomorphology. Geologic surveying and mapping. Elementary seismology; microzoning and seismotectonic hazard evaluation. Engineering properties, description and identification of geologic materials. General applications of geology to engineering”.

GEOLOGY!! I was so dreading this paper, but I ended up absolutely loving it. If you think that this paper sounds like a lot of jargon which doesn’t make any sense, you’re absolutely right. It took me many weeks to figure out what all the different types of rocks were and how they related to each other, but once you get that the rest is fairly straight forward. There are a bunch of fancy big words you have to learn, but the rest is learning about earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, erosion and many other fun natural processes. There’s a bit of drawing involved (I can’t draw to save my life) but nothing as bad as ENGGEN 115. The lab for this paper is fantastic, you basically get to play with clay (glorified mud), and write up a report on it afterwards. There’s also a field trip to a beach (on a Saturday, and you have to do a worksheet worth marks), and a fun mapping exercise identifying hazards and ways to mitigate them. One of the lecturers was a bit of a struggle to find to hand in paperwork as he was never in his office, and when he was it seemed to only be during mm2 lectures. Another lecturer will only ever be seen in a Warriors jersey. It’s a crazy little eclectic class with too much content to fit in each lecture, and I loved every minute of it.


CIVIL 230: Fluid Mechanics 1 – 10 points

“Fluid properties and definitions. Hydrostatics and stability of floating bodies. Fluid flow, energy and continuity relationships. Viscosity. Force and momentum relationship. Dimensional analysis and similarity. Introduction to turbomachinery”

Hmm. Yes. This paper exists. Don’t let my opinions ruin this paper for you, but it was worse than I was expecting (and my expectations weren’t high). I didn’t think this paper sounded too bad, but oh did I struggle with it. There aren’t even any free marks, other than a few lab reports that aren’t worth much. In the defence of this paper, the lecturers themselves are wonderful people and, although accents are a little bit of an issue in lectures and labs (lecture recordings are your best friend), both lecturers are good at responding to piazza posts and the course coordinator is great at replying to emails. I’m sure there are people out there who liked this paper, but it just was not at all for me.


ENGSCI 211: Mathematical Modelling 2 – 15 points

“First and second order ordinary differential equations and solutions. Laplace transforms. Taylor series and series in general. Multivariable and vector calculus including divergence, gradient and curl. Further linear algebra. Eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Fourier series. Application of the techniques through appropriate modelling examples. Introductory data analysis and statistics.”

Data analysis – yuck. This paper is the big sibling of ENGSCI 111. It’s is a highly controversial paper in the sense that some of us found it easier than mm1, but a lot of people I’ve spoken to found it harder. The paper isn’t too content heavy, but the concepts take a while to grasp. You will be reacquainted with peer assessments, yay free marks! And of course Peter Bier comes back with his pre-lecture YouTube videos and halftime shows (cue unicycling, juggling, and more YouTube videos).


Coming to grips with time management and organisation and how to study for five papers has been a bit of a struggle, but this semester has been so great. I shall leave you all with a small meme that basically sums up me as a student:



– Laura

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