Civil Still Has Five Papers

This post is a little bit of an intro to the Semester 2 civil papers. I recommend reading my post on the Semester 1 papers (Did You Know Civil Has Five Papers?) before reading this as lots of the Semester 2 papers follow on from Semester 1.


CIVIL 211: Structures and Design 1 – 10 points

“Introduction to structural design – philosophy, loads, codes; design of simple structural elements in various materials.”

This paper is CIVIL 210 (a second year first semester paper – the statics section of ENGGEN 121 on steroids) on steroids. The main difference is this paper doesn’t have tutorials so is only worth 10 points not 15. It currently seems to be just as much work though! The coursebook is average, and the lecturers (who are actually just PhD students) aren’t too fantastic, but it’s ya classic civil engineering shear force and bending moment paper. There’s a field trip to Newmarket campus for Structures Day which is similar to the ENGGEN 115 truss project except you’re in a group of seven or eight, you get a few weeks to meet up and discuss ideas and plans for the structure and then you get 40 mins on the day to build your structure, and then two weeks after to write up a group report. Structures Day also involves a bunch of fun activities involving concepts you’ve learnt in lectures (one of which is mixing up and testing concrete). Warning: if you get given over 80 Xorro-Q exercises to do (worth 5%), get onto them ASAP; they take a while to get through.


CIVIL 221: Geomechanics 1 – 10 points

“The basic concepts and principles governing the mechanical behaviour of soil, including phase relationships, permeability and seepage, the principle of effective stress, soil strength, compressibility and basic stability analysis.”

Welcome to last semester’s geology paper on steroids where there’s not much blind memorizing and more actually understanding the concepts. The labs for this paper are lots of playing with mud and soils, and there’s a bit of drawing involved again, but no field trip to the beach like last semester. There’s a project with a group of 4 people based on the excavations at Britomart (fun tip: if you get given a list of group members with only their UPI like we did, search the first 3 letters of their last name on your second year or civil Facebook page and hope there’s only one person with the matching first letter to the UPI. Otherwise, hope they check their uni emails regularly). So far this paper has been cool and doesn’t seem too hard, but we have a test soon which apparently the class average was 55% for last year so I guess it must be harder than it seems. Only thing is I totally can’t get past the fact that the lecturer sounds exactly like one of my friends.


CIVIL 250: Civil Engineering Materials and Design – 10 points

“Properties and manufacturing of concrete, steel and timber structural products. Design principles and examples for concrete, steel and timber members.”

I really hope you like steel, timber and concrete because this paper is lots of those three things. There’s not a lot to say about this paper other than I hope you’re good at memorising because that’s really all this paper is. No projects or assignments, just tests for the steel and timber modules. Hopefully your test for steel will be like ours where it was literally just questions reused from past papers because that was a really great time (as long as you actually look at a few past tests and memorize a couple of the answers). The lecturers are pretty cool – the timber guy has an awesome accent.


ENGGEN 204: Managing Design and Communication – 15 points

“The management of engineering design based on systems engineering, plus the practical application of advocacy, and individual and group-based communication skills. Scenarios representative of real-world issues are addressed through team-based projects and problem solving. The professional issues introduced in ENGGEN 115 (health and safety, ethics, sustainability, cultural diversity, communication, leadership, and teamwork) are continued and developed.”

This paper is one that all second year engineering students have to do, and if you like writing, you’ll be okay. The first two weeks of tutorials are learning how to use MS Excel and Word (such fun), and the rest are group discussions and writing exercises. In saying this, the course is being redone so it’ll most likely be different next year. There’s meant to be a group project which everyone apparently hates, but ours was cancelled and we ended up writing a mini essay each week for four weeks so I have no opinions on the project. I’m actually not sure what’s happening in this paper as our assignments have been changed around a lot, but we’ve written a report and in theory we also have to make a poster and do an oral presentation with accompanying PowerPoint slides. Fun fact; there’s no exam. A downside to this paper is that we wrote a report for an assignment and write weekly pieces of writing and have only just received feedback on the first one, so it would’ve been great to know how we were doing after the first week rather than just blindly writing for a couple of weeks hoping we were doing the right thing.


ENVENG 244: Environmental Engineering 1 – 15 points

“Water quality, water and wastewater characteristics – physical, chemical and biological treatments (unit operations and processes). Solid waste characteristics and disposal, hazardous waste treatment. Stormwater management.”

As a civil engineering degree is actually civil and environmental engineering, here’s the token second year environmental paper. I really enjoy this paper; it’s a bit of chemistry and a bit of saving the world, which is a pretty cool combination. This paper has four quizzes (one based on each topic), two lab reports and a test, so as long as you don’t leave your lab reports to the last minute it’s pretty chill. The labs are both on water quality and treatment, and although the second lab is quite similar to the first one (with a few of the same experiments), they’re really quite interesting and helpful for learning concepts. I’d recommend taking note of the names of the people in your lab group – people lost marks for not writing their group members names down in their reports. There’s no coursebook for this paper, but apparently next year there won’t be coursebooks for any papers (not sure why they’re not printing books though considering a lot of people printed the slides out for these lectures anyway).


So far this semester has been both more work and more chill than last semester. We’ve had weeks of nothing due, and then we had four tests and an assignment due all in the first eight days back after the break (hence the chill but also super busy). A helpful hint would be to keep in mind that basically everything you learn in Semester 1 becomes basic skills and assumed knowledge for Semester 2. Yay.

Obviously (and unfortunately) I can’t write everything about life as a civil engineering student in my posts, and as it’s getting close to the time when you have to pick your specialisations for next year, if you have any questions feel free to ask me!


– Laura