VCE Systems Engineering involves the design, production, operation, evaluation and iteration of integrated systems, which mediate and control many aspects of human experience. Integral to VCE Systems Engineering is the identification and quantification of systems goals, the generation of system designs, trial and error, justified design trade-offs, selection and implementation of the most appropriate design. Students test and verify that the system is well-built and integrated. They evaluate how well the completed system meets the intended goals and reflect on the systems engineering process to create a satisfactory design outcome.

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

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

Unit 2: Electrotechnological 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 electro-mechanical subsystems. 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 processes that can be applied to define and explain the electrical characteristics of circuits. This unit offers opportunities for students to develop, apply and refine their knowledge in the creation of an operational system.