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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE3135 Engineering Geology

10 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Dr Mark Thomas

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE5195MEngineering Geology

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Engineering Geology is the largest employment field for professional geoscientists and is a subject that bridges the fields of geology, engineering, geomorphology, structural geology, geophysics, geomechanics, and geochemistry. The module considers all of the above, but the most important role of an engineering geologist is identifying conceptual ground behaviour, potential hazards and adverse geological conditions through the studying of landforms and ground processes. Students will learn the role of an engineering geologist through both taught material and practical exercises and understand their importance in mitigating the potential hazards of ground-structure interaction.


To introduce students to the different components of Engineering Geology as outlined above.

Learning outcomes
After taking this course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding that is supported by text books and an underpinning of personal awareness in:

- The role of engineering geology in civil engineering
- The significance and importance of different rock and soil types, and their characteristics in engineering construction and design
- The basis for strength and other index properties of both intact rock, rock masses, single discontinuities and soil
- An appreciation of the importance of discontinuities and their characteristics

2. Apply their knowledge and understanding through devising and sustaining arguments to:

- Undertake geotechnical assessments
- Undertake preliminary design of a Site Investigation
- Analyze slopes for stability

3. Demonstrate an ability to make judgments through interpreting data that allows:

- Recognising and understanding slope instability in soils and rocks;
- Recognising and understanding potential hazards related to earthquakes including an appreciation of the geotechnical considerations required to reduce the earthquake risk to structures and show a capacity to communicate information, problems and ideas, including suggesting remedial measures to engineering geology problems.


Lectures: Engineering Geology and Civil Engineering Introduction to Engineering GeologyThe strength and properties of sols; Ground Investigation; The Strength of Rocks; The Strength of Joints and Rock masses; Site Investigation Rock Slope Instability; Landslide types and Processes and Earthquake Engineering.

Practicals: (Held within Lectures): Site investigation; Mohr Circles; Site investigation; Introduction to Stereonets for Assessing Slope Stability, Limit Equilibrium Methods for Assessing Slope Stability.

3 day workshop/field trip working on the above and foundations. This workshop will run at some point during the Easter vacation (Weeks E1- E4). It is not possible to confirm the exact date at the time of module selection so it is the student’s responsibility to confirm the date of the workshop before making any other commitments during the Easter vacation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours62.00
Total Contact hours38.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via a series of four formative in-class practicals.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
FieldworkWorkshop/field trip50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 30 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

The online assessment will be open for a total of 48 hours with a recommended duration of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Normally 1st attempt resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the original attempt, except in exceptional circumstances. 2nd attempt resits for this module are normally by unseen assessment only.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 16/01/2024


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