Why Study Systems Engineering?
VCE Systems Engineering promotes innovative systems thinking and problem-solving skills through the application of the systems engineering process. The study is based on integrated
mechanical and electrotechnological engineered systems.
The study provides opportunities for students to learn about and engage with systems from a practical and purposeful perspective. Students gain knowledge and understanding about technological systems and their applications.
VCE Systems Engineering integrates aspects of designing, planning, producing, testing and
evaluating in a project management process. It prepares students for careers in engineering,
manufacturing and design through a university or TAFE vocational study pathway, employment,
apprenticeships and traineeships. The study provides a rigorous academic foundation and a practical
working knowledge of design strategies, production processes and evaluation practices. People with
these skills, and the ability to apply systems engineering processes, are in increasing demand
as participants in teams that are engaged with complex and multidisciplinary projects.
The study is made up of four units:
Unit 1: Mechanical systems
Unit 2: Electrotechnology systems
Unit 3: Integrated and control systems
Unit 4: Systems control
There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Units 1 to 4 are designed to a standard equivalent to the final two years of secondary education.
Outcomes define what students will know and be able to do as a result of undertaking the study. Outcomes include a summary statement and the key knowledge and skills that underpin them.
UNIT 1 – MECHANICAL SYSTEMS
This unit focuses on engineering fundamentals as the basis of understanding concepts, principles and components that operate in mechanical systems. The term ‘mechanical systems’ includes systems that utilise all forms of mechanical components and their linkages.
While this unit contains the fundamental physics and theoretical understanding of mechanical systems and how they work, the focus is on the creation of a system. The creation process draws heavily upon design and innovation processes.
Students create an operational system using the systems engineering process. The focus is on a mechanical system; however, it may include some electrotechnological components.
All systems require some form of energy to function. Students research and quantify how systems use or convert the energy supplied to them.
Students are introduced to mechanical engineering principles including mechanical subsystems and devices, their motions, elementary applied physics, and related mathematical calculations that can be applied to define and explain the physical characteristics of these systems.
Area of Study 1
Mechanical system design
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and apply basic engineering concepts and principles, and use components to design and plan a mechanical system using the systems engineering process.
Area of Study 2
Producing and evaluating mechanical systems
On completion of this unit the student should be able to produce, test, diagnose and evaluate a mechanical system using the systems engineering process.
UNIT 2 – ELECTROTECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS
In this unit students study fundamental electrotechnological engineering principles. The term
‘electrotechnological’ encompasses systems that include electrical/electronic circuitry including
microelectronic circuitry. Through the application of the systems engineering process, students
create operational electrotechnological systems, which may also include mechanical components or
While this unit contains fundamental physics and theoretical understanding of electrotechnological
systems and how they work, the focus is on the creation of electrotechnological systems, drawing
heavily upon design and innovation processes.
Electrotechnology is a creative field that responds to, and drives rapid developments and change
brought about through technological innovation. Contemporary design and manufacture of electronic equipment involves increased levels of automation and inbuilt control through the inclusion of microcontrollers and other logic devices. In this unit students explore some of these emerging technologies.
Students study fundamental electrotechnological principles including applied electrical theory,
standard representation of electronic components and devices, elementary applied physics in
electrical circuits and mathematical processesthat can be applied to define and explain the electrical characteristics of circuits.
Area of Study 1
Electrotechnological systems design
On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate, represent, describe and use basic electrotechnological and basic control engineering concepts, principles and components, and design and plan an electrotechnological system using the systems engineering process.
Area of Study 2
Producing and evaluating electrotechnological systems
On completion of this unit the student should be able to produce, test and evaluate an electrotechnological system, using the systems engineering process.
UNIT 3 – INTEGRATED AND CONTROLLED SYSTEMS
In this unit students study engineering principles used to explain physical properties of
integrated systems and how they work. Students design and plan an operational, mechanical and
electrotechnological integrated and controlled system. They learn about the technologies used to
harness energy sources to provide power for engineered systems.
Students commence work on the creation of an integrated and controlled system using the systems
engineering process. This production work has a strong emphasis on innovation, designing,
producing, testing and evaluating. Students manage the project, taking into consideration the
factors that will influence the creation and use of their integrated and controlled system. Students’ understanding of fundamental physics and applied mathematics underpins the systems engineering process, providing a comprehensive understanding of mechanical and electrotechnological systems and how they function.
Students learn about sources and types of energy that enable engineered technological systems to function. Comparisons are made between the use of renewable and non-renewable energy sources and their impacts. Students develop their understanding of technological systems developed to capture and store renewable energyand technological developments to improve the credentials of non-renewables.
Area of Study 1
Integrated and controlled systems design
On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate, analyse and apply concepts and principles, and use components to design, plan and commence production of an integrated and controlled mechanical and electrotechnological system using the systems engineering process.
Area of Study 2
Clean energy technologies
On completion of this unit the student should be able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and analyse and evaluate the technology used to harness, generate and store non-renewable and renewable energy.
UNIT 4 – SYSTEMS CONTROL
In this unit students complete the creation of the mechanical and electrotechnological integrated
and controlled system they researched, designed, planned and commenced production of in Unit 3.
Students investigate new and emerging technologies, consider reasons for their development and
analyse their impacts.
Students continue producing their mechanical and electrotechnological integrated and controlled
system using the systems engineering process. Students develop their understanding of the
open-source model in the development of integrated and controlled systems, and document its use
fairly. They effectively document the use of project and risk management methods throughout the
creation of the system. They use a range of materials, tools, equipment and components. Students
test, diagnose and analyse the performance of the system. They evaluate their process and the
Students expand their knowledge of emerging developments and innovations through their
investigation and analysis of a range of engineered systems. They analyse a specific emerging innovation, including its
Area of Study 1
Producing and evaluating integrated and controlled systems
On completion of this unit the student should be able to finalise production, test and diagnose a mechanical and electrotechnological integrated and controlled system using the systems engineering process, and manage, document and evaluate the system and the process, as well as their use of it.
Area of Study 2
New and emerging technologies
On completion of this unit the student should be able to evaluate a range of new or emerging systems engineering technologies and analyse the likely impacts of a selected technology.
Demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit.
Levels of achievement
UNITS 1 AND 2
Emmaus College students complete graded Assessment Tasks and Semester Examinations as part of the Assessment process for Units 1 and 2.
UNITS 3 AND 4
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will supervise the assessment of all students undertaking Units 3 and 4.
In Systems Engineering the student’s level of achievement will be determined by school-assessed coursework, a school-assessed task and an end-of-year examination.
Percentage contributions to the study score in Systems Engineering are as follows:
Unit 3 school-assessed coursework: 10 per cent
Unit 4 school-assessed coursework: 10 per cent
School-assessed task: 50 per cent
End-of-year examination: 30 per cent