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Unit information: Probability and Statistics for Seismology and Structural Reliability in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Probability and Statistics for Seismology and Structural Reliability
Unit code CENGM0078
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. De Luca
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)

Engineering Mathematics 2 (EMAT20200) or equivalent

Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one


School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Unit Information

The aim of this unit is to enable the students to understand the required theoretical basis and technical skills to feel comfortable with basic probability and statistics aimed at decision making for engineers, and introduce the basic concepts of reliability analysis in pursuit of understanding current and future codes and guidelines (e.g., safety factors, partial coefficients, …). The unit will enable students to apply practically such theoretical basis and skills within specific professional applications of engineering seismology and seismic hazard analysis. Students will be able to adapt computer codes for probabilistic seismic hazard analysis as part of computer labs and coursework.

Topics covered include:

Basic Probability Theory, Descriptive Statistics, Uncertainty Modelling, Estimation and Model Building, preliminary concepts on methods of structural reliability, probabilistic seismic hazard analysis.

Your learning on this unit

1. be able to apply basic principles of probability and statistics in selected engineering problems;
2. apply statistical methods to (i) describe properties of data‚Äźsets, (ii) fit probability distributions or regression models to data, (iii) conduct goodness of fit testing;
3. be able to explain the fundamental concepts of structural reliability and the role of simulation in structural reliability;
4. be able to explain the philosophy of codes and guidelines based on reliability methods;
5. be able to apply and evaluate the analytical framework and method of probabilistic seismic hazard analysis;
6. be able to develop probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for a seismic region and produce a written report on the seismic hazard assessment.

How you will learn

The lectures will cover the theoretical as well as technical aspects of the unit, while the computer labs and homework exercises will be used to apply the learned theories and methods to solve practical problems.

The computer lab sessions and homework exercises are carefully designed such that students can build their own computational tools gradually. In the end, students will be able to integrate key model components, which have been developed individually, into a complete methodology for probabilistic seismic hazard analysis.

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous and computer labs sessions, which may include lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

How you will be assessed

Single Coursework Submission (100%) (ILOs 1-6)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. CENGM0078).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.