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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5165M Geotechnical Dissertation

60 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Professor Barry Clarke

Taught: 1 Oct to 30 Sep (12mth) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20


CIVE5160MGeotechnical Investigation and Characterisation
CIVE5161MEnergy Geotechnics
CIVE5162MConstituitive Models and Numerical Analysis
CIVE5164MTransport Infrastructure Strategy
CIVE5575MGroundwater Pollution and Contaminated Land
CIVE5671MGeotechnical Engineering (MSc)
CIVE5975MFoundation Engineering (MSc)

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module brings together different aspects of geotechnical engineering and applies them to a problem which can be design or research driven. It is an opportunity for a student to demonstrate their ability to deal with uncertainty by sourcing data, which can be critically analysed to produce a conclusion within clearly defined boundaries.


The main aim of this module is to identify and define problems; critically review the relevant literature; collect, analyse and synthesise data; present information in a logical and cohesive way; understand the limitations of the work/problem; elicit the appropriate conclusions; prepare a statement of significance; and communicate through well-structured and written documents.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the module students will have:
• An understanding of concepts from a range of areas, including some outside geotechnical engineering, and the ability to evaluate them critically and to apply them effectively in geotechnical engineering projects.
• An ability to apply quantitative and computational methods, using alternative approaches and understanding their limitations, in order to solve geotechnical engineering problems and to implement appropriate action.
• An understanding of, and the ability to apply, an integrated or systems approach to solving complex geotechnical engineering problems.
• An ability to extract and evaluate pertinent data and to apply engineering analysis techniques in the solution of unfamiliar geotechnical problems.
• An ability to investigate and define a problem, identifying any constraints including environmental and sustainability limitations; ethical, health, safety, security and risk issues.
• An ability to work with information that may be incomplete or uncertain, quantify the effect of this and, where appropriate, use theory or experimental research to mitigate deficiencies
• An ability to apply advanced problem-solving skills, technical knowledge and understanding, to establish rigorous and creative solutions that are fit for purpose for all aspects of the geotechnical problem
• An understanding of the use of technical literature and other information sources.
• A thorough understanding of current practice and its limitations, and some appreciation of likely new developments.
• An ability to apply their skills in problem solving, communication, working with others, information retrieval, and the effective use of general IT facilities.

This module contributes to the AHEP3 learning outcomes LOvi, LOvii, LOxx, LOxxi, LOxxii

Skills outcomes
An ability to be independent learners
An ability to creatively solve a complex problems
An ability to source relevant data and critically analyse that data within the context of geotechnical engineering
An ability to develop an argument to justify a conclusion and communicate that argument through report of a professional standard


Students will undertake either a design or research project related to the field of geotechnical engineering.
The topics will be provided at the start of the year; topics can also be suggested by the student provided a suitable academic supervisor can be found. For part-time students, the project can be related, where necessary, to employers' requirements.
Projects are supervised on a one-to-one basis, assessment is by written report and presentation, and are submitted on an individual basis.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours592.00
Total Contact hours8.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)600.00

Private study

This is a project which can be field, laboratory, and design or numerically based. A list of themes will be given by academics staff but students will be expected to define the problem to produce an agreed set of aims and objectives. They will develop the methodology which will include a literature review to place the project in context and source relevant data. The assignment will be carried out in two parts; the first part is to justify the aims and objectives; the second a report which develops an argument to justify the conclusions, This will require extensive critical background reading on the specific case study as well as the general technical literature.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Students will be given feedback on their aims and objectives to ensure that the project is feasible
- Students will, be given feedback on their presentation to ensure that they are approaching the critical stage of the project in a constructive manner that will deliver the project on time and to the standard expected
- Regular meetings with their supervisor will allow feedback to be given on progress

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Oral PresentationPresentation in June10.00
Written WorkAims and Objectives10.00
Essay or DissertationSubmitted in August80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit 100% Dissertation

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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