Applied Studies (APST) 240

Introduction to Structures (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

APST 240: Introduction to Structures is intended for students enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University. For those students interested in pursuing a career as a registered architect, this course also contributes to the RAIC Syllabus Diploma.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: Basic trigonometry and algebra is recommended

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

This course is not available for challenge.

Credit may be transferred for previous work considered equivalent.

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APST 240: Introduction to Structures introduces theories of statics and the strengths of various construction materials. Qualitative and quantitative analyses demonstrate the reaction of building elements to external forces and are instrumental in determining the design of structural members and assemblies. Throughout this course the relationships between architectural design and structural design in the generation of expressive form is discussed.

APST 240 focuses on the most common building materials now in use: steel, timber, and concrete.

Course Outline

PART 1 Statics

  • Unit 1 An Overview of Structures
  • Unit 2 The Science of Bodies that Remain in Equilibrium
  • Unit 3 Force Systems
  • Unit 4 Introduction to Structural System Analysis

Part 2 Characteristics of Materials

  • Unit 5 Load Analysis In Assemblies: Load Tracing
  • Unit 6 Stress, Strain, and Properties of Materials

Part 3 Analysis and Design Of Structural Members

  • Unit 7 Shear, Bending, and Moment Forces in Simple Beams
  • Unit 8 Flexure and Shearing Stresses
  • Unit 9 Deflection and Indeterminate Beams
  • Unit 10 Load Analysis in Assemblies: Load Tracing
  • Unit 11 Column Analysis and Design
  • Unit 12 Trusses: Determinate Systems Analysis

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Illustrate the reactions of typical structural building components when forces are applied.
  2. Calculate the forces acting on, and reactions to, determinant structural systems and assemblies.
  3. Analyze load distributions in structural assemblies.
  4. Design structural members based on the analysis of loading, internal stress, and the strength of materials.
  5. Relate the expressive potential of structural components and systems to architectural design.


Your work in this course will be evaluated based on 3 assignments and the final examination. However, assignment 3 is broken into three parts that is to be submitted separately with each part weighted 10% of the final grade.

The final examination will cover the entire course and is worth 40% of your final grade. The minimum passing mark for the final exam is 50%.

Grading information is summarized in the table below.

Assignment Units Covered Portion of Total Grade
Assignment 1 1-4 20%
Assignment 2 5-6 10%
Assignment 3    
Assignment 3a 7-8 10%
Assignment 3b 9-10 10%
Assignment 3c 11-12 10%
Final Exam all 40%
Total Grade   100%

Note: Students who wish to be certified by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board must achieve and maintain a final grade point average of 2.3 or greater.

Course Materials


Shaeffer, R.E. (2007.) Elementary Structures for Architects and Builders, 5th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Course Home Page (online): The course home page houses all the online components of your course.

Study Schedule (online): The study schedule on your course home page includes the Course Information, the twelve units of the Study Guide, links to the online readings, and links to your assignments.

Course Information (online): The course information provides specific information about how to proceed through the course. Read the course information carefully before you begin reading the Study Guide.

Study Guide (online): The study guide units are embedded in the Study Schedule on the course home page.

Assignments (online): The assignments are on the course home page, along with helpful instructions.

Forms: Forms you may need are available through the myAU portal.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, January 30, 2014.

Updated November 29 2016 by Student & Academic Services