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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5670M Geotechnical Engineering

15 creditsClass Size: 130

Module manager: Professor Barry Clarke

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24


CIVE1460Properties of Materials: Water, Soil, Steel and Timber
CIVE1660Integrated Design Project I (inc Design Studio 1)
CIVE2470Water Engineering and Geotechnics
CIVE3510Foundation Engineering Fundamentals

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module provides an overview of the principles of geotechnical engineering to gain an understanding of the behaviour of soils in engineering situations where the soil may either cause the load on a structure, be loaded by a structure or form the structure. Common methods of analysis, construction techniques and methods of soil improvement will be covered and the course will concentrate on applying the fundamental principles of soil mechanics to explain the behaviour of the system and the analytical methods. By the end of the module students should be able to analyse common geotechnical problems, devise practical solutions, and have an understanding of soils as construction materials.


This module aims to equip students with state-of-the-art information and knowledge relating to geotechnical engineering.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the module students will have:
1. A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of scientific principles and methodology of geotechnical structures, their performances during construction and in service;
2. A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of scientific principles of geotechnical hazards and how they affect design decisions for temporary and permanent works.
3. Ability to extract and evaluate pertinent data and to apply engineering analysis techniques in the solution of unfamiliar problems
4. Ability both to apply appropriate engineering analysis methods for solving complex geotechnical problems and to assess their limitations
5. Ability to apply quantitative and computational methods, using alternative approaches and understanding their limitations, in order to solve geotechnical engineering problems and implement appropriate action
6. Knowledge of characteristics of geotechnical engineering processes, with knowledge and understanding of a geotechnical materials
7. Knowledge, understanding and skills to work with information that may be incomplete or uncertain, quantify the effect of this on the design adjusting where appropriate
8. Apply advanced problem-solving skills, technical knowledge and understanding, to establish rigorous and creative solutions for geotechnical structures
9. An understanding of current practice and its limitations
10. Ability to work with technical uncertainty.
11. Monitor and adjust a personal programme of work on an on-going basis.

For the MEng variant, this module contributes to the AHEP3 learning outcomes SM1m, SM5m, EA1m, EA3m, EA6m, D3m, P2m, P8, P9m, and G3m

Skills outcomes
- An ability to identify geotechnical hazards and assess the risk of them occuring;

- An ability to produce engineering solutions to geotechnical problems.


• Soil as a construction material: Compaction - theory, tests, construction methods, control. Dams and embankments. Soil improvement - grouting, vertical drains, vibro-flotation, dynamic compaction.
• Geosynthetics and soil reinforcement: Materials; Functions - filtration, separation, reinforcement, erosion control, drainage in plane, flow prevention; Reinforced earth walls - analysis and construction;
• Soil-structure interaction: Detailed analysis of sheet piled walls; Analysis of gravity retaining walls; Pile construction techniques and group action; Flexible and rigid pipes; Deep in-situ walls

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment13.003.00
Private study hours108.00
Total Contact hours42.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The assignment for this course is to assess a case study of a real geotechnical engineering structure using a published case study. Students are required to produce the ground model and undertake analysis to determine the overall stability, the local stability and deformation of the structure. The assignment will be carried out in four parts; the first three parts are formative exercise; the last part is the report that is assessed. This will require extensive background reading on the specific case study as well as the general technical literature, analysing the structure and producing a report

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Students are required to present an assigned problem that is discussed by the class.
- The coursework includes a number of formative elements to monitor student progress and provide feedback.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportNumerical analysis of the deformation and failure of a geotechnical structure20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Re-sit - 100% online time-limited assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment5 hr 80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Re-sit - 100% online time-limited assessment

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:52:56


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