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Civil Hydraulics (CVEN90051)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCVEN90051
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


Students that successfully completely this subject will have the skills to practice under a chartered engineer to analyse problems and propose designs in the field of civil and environmental hydraulic engineering. Analysis of water flow in natural and constructed channels is studied in the river hydraulics module. This gives students the fundamental tools to learn techniques such as flood prediction, the design of channels for water movement in irrigation, and the prediction of water levels in channels in environmental flow studies. The movement of water and sediment along coasts due to wave action and currents is the focus of the coastal hydraulics module. An understanding of wave processes in coastal and surf zones is an essential starting point for the design of coastal structures such as piers, groins and jetties. With impending sea level rise, this will be a significant area of civil engineering practice for the foreseeable future. In the third module, the focus will be on processes of sediment transport and geomorphological change in rivers and coastal waters. The ability to analyse these processes can lead to graduates working in the area of river engineering, where for example the erosion of sediment from bridge abutments must be controlled. It is also important in ecological modelling where the movement of sediments and entrainment in water can impact on the habitat of stream biota.

The subject will draw on students’ existing knowledge of fluid mechanics, systems modelling, statistics, engineering mathematics and geomorphology gained from undergraduate or other preparatory study.


  1. River Hydraulics: revision of basic concepts of steady-state open channel flow and extend this with applications in natural river channels, time dependent behaviour and flood hydraulics
  2. Coastal Hydraulics: basic wave theory and processes including in the surf zone
  3. Sediment Transport and Water Quality: mechanisms and models of particulate and solute transport in rivers and coastal environments.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Describe flow regimes and what controls the water level in a river
  2. Analyse the flow and backwater profiles of water in natural and constructed channels to predict the channel capacity and flow characteristics such as depth
  3. Analyse the flow water through natural and constructed structures such as chokes, weirs, spillways and energy dissipaters
  4. Design a channel to carry a particular design flow
  5. Describe the characteristics of waves and be able to predict the behaviour of waves in the near-shore environment based on their deep-water characteristics
  6. Calculate the breaking characteristics of waves and their effect on coastal water levels and currents
  7. Interrogate wave recordings for statistics useful in the design of coastal structures and management options
  8. Use tidal constituents to classify the tidal regime at various locations
  9. Recommend coastal management options based on an understanding of waves, tides and near-shore currents
  10. Describe and analyse the processes of sediment erosion, entrainment, transport and deposition in river channels
  11. Predict sediment loads based on channel and sediment characteristics and discriminate between supply and transport limited situations
  12. Predict how channel morphology will change as the result of natural or human impact.

Generic skills

  • Ability to apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  • Ability to function effectively as an individual and in teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member

Last updated: 22 August 2019