MEC4404 - Professional practice - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Chris Davies


Prof Kerry Hourigan (Clayton)
Mr Kenneth Yeoh (Malaysia)

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)


  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)


96 credit points


This unit provides students with an understanding of the work environment of professional engineers addressing topics not covered in other parts of the degree program. It allows students to more effectively use their engineering skills within the context of a business environment, and assists them to add value to the community. Students will be encouraged to evaluate problems from a multi-faceted perspective and to articulate their views in writing as well as in discussion. The unit provides a balance between global macro issues likely to influence their future work environment, and more current, micro issues likely to confront graduates in establishing themselves as professional engineers.


  1. Role and contribution of an engineer in society
  2. Ethical responsibilities of engineers
  3. Modern work practices and organising for high performance
  4. Sources of wastes and process inefficiencies, the lean manufacturing methodology, customer focused pull design and manufacturing strategies
  5. Factors affecting the performance of the Australian manufacturing sector including energy, water, environmental issues, sustainability, work skills Individual performance assessment
  6. Transition from university Safety and OHS, risk assessment
  7. Project management
  8. Designing for innovation, and creative approaches towards problem solving
  9. The role of standards and accreditation in work practices
  10. Intellectual property, and in particular patents and copyright
  11. Responsibilities of engineers in the design and manufacture of consumer products
  12. Contract law
  13. Product costs, in particular the effect of direct costs and the allocation of overheads on performance
  14. Capital budgeting
  15. Complete tasks as part of a team
  16. Improve oral and written communication skills
  17. The significance of non-engineering factors in the context of their role as an engineer
  18. To be more aware of their role as an engineer in society
  19. To value the practice of self-directed learning and lifelong learning
  20. To appreciate that problem solving will often involve the use of incomplete data and data of varying reliability, a choice of method, and the possibility of more than one outcome depending on the weighting given to different factors.


Continuous assessment: 50%

Examination (2 hours): 50%.

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component (assignments, tests, mid-semester exams, laboratory reports) and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

6 hours of contact time (usually 3 hours lectures and 3 hours practice sessions or laboratories) and 6 hours of private study per week

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study