Module details for Geotechnical Engineering


Initial development of geotechnical analysis and design and their application in civil engineering.


The aim of this Module is to provide the students with : An understanding of soils physical and mechanical properties in theory and practice and an introduction into geotechnical engineering problems.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Comprehend the origin, physical and mechanical properties of cohesive and granular soils and possible re-us of the material.

2.  Understand the basic rock mechanics and laboratory tests to determine the mechanical properties.

3.  Analyse geotechnical shear strength and compressibility data to obtain the relevant design parameters.

4.  Evaluate and classify soils based on their physical and mechanical properties derived from visual examination and data from laboratory tests.

Indicative Content

1 Physical properties of soil

Factors controlling the weathering of rock and the formation of soils. Moisture content, density, void ratio, porosity, air content and saturation.

2 Soil Compaction and re-use

The compaction of soils − theory and practise. Suitability criteria and the re−use of fill for engineering purposes for engineering and sustainability purposes.

3 Effective stress

The concept of total and effective stress and pore water pressure.

4 Soil Shear Strength

The theory of soil shear strength, Mohr Coulomb failure criterion. Determine shear strength parameters for design purposes from shear box, undrained triaxial.

5 Consolidation of soils

Measurement of the consolidation of cohesive soils in the laboratory, theoretical consideration of amount and rate of settlement, over-consolidation ratio and the application of the e/log p' graph.

6 Seepage

Flow net construction, seepage into excavations, seepage forces and piping.

7 Laboratory Work

Determine moisture content, Atterberg Limit and shear strength of sand and saturated clay. Safe working practices in a laboratory situation.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 30
Tutorial/Seminar 20
Practical Activity 10
Assessment 70
Independent 70
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.