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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5195M Engineering Geology

15 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr Mark Thomas

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE3135Engineering Geology

This module is not approved as an Elective

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, including the application of original ideas, 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, demonstrating problem solving abilities in new or unfamiliar environments often within a multidisciplinary framework, to:

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

3. Demonstrate an ability to make judgments through integrating complex, sometimes incomplete 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 exhibit an aptitude in communicating conclusions drawn from the underpinning knowledge, including dissemination to non-specialist audiences that will allow the presentation of 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

Private study

Students will be expected to undertake 105 hours of private study to supplement the lecture material. There will be weekly recommended reading presented at the end of lectures; this is required as the diverse nature of the module precludes covering all topics in a detail commensurate with a level 5 module.

In particular the private study and independent learning will inform some of the required knowledge required during the workshop. Private study and independent learning will form the sole basis for gaining an understanding of and finding data on the topic of the assessed essay (supported by the tutorial sessions), and will be required to fully answer an essay type question on the exam on a highlighted topic that will have only a basic introduction during the lectures.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via a series of formative in-class practicals held within several of the lectures.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group ProjectGroup reports produced during 3 day workshop/fieldtrip25.00
Essay1,000 word essay on a current issue in Engineering Geology25.00
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 assessment2 hr 30 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

The online assessment will be open form a total of 48 hours with a recommended duration of 2 hours. 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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