Module details for Structural Design and Geotechnical Engineering


The interaction between geotechnics and structural analysis in the design of civil engineering structures


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with (a) an understanding of the role of geotechnical engineering in the engineering design process (b) an advanced ability to analyse and design structures in timber and steel.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Deduce the relevant geotechnical design parameters from site investigation/laboratory test data.

2.  Perform the geotechnical design aspects of foundations, slopes and retaining walls.

3.  Design timber and steel framed structures including connections.

Indicative Content

1 Shear strength of soils:

The concept of total and effective stress, drained and undrained effective stress triaxial tests, practical applications.

2 Consolidation of soils:

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

3 Design of foundations:

Design of foundations on cohesive and granular soils and bedrock; prediction of elastic and consolidation settlement. Comprehend the value of safe and economic design.

4 Earth retaining structures:

Analysis and safe and economic design of cantilever walls.

5 Slope stability:

Stability of soil and rock slopes.

6 Wind Loading

Wind forces on elements and structures, orientation, dominant openings; temporary works.

7 Structural frames and temporary works:

Trusses, braced frames, moment resisting frames. Multi-storey construction. Glued laminated timber beams as a highly sustainable material in comparison to reinforced concrete and steel. Temporary works design.

8 Connections:

Timber, mechanical and adhesives. Steel, welding and bolting.

9 Laboratory work:

Perform a one dimensional consolidation test in the laboratory; adopt safe working practices in a laboratory situation. Use of computer programs in geotechnical and structural design.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

For session 2020/21 the expectation is that the teaching and learning hours stated in this descriptor will form a mix of synchronous and asynchronous student/staff activity, with the majority of this being online. The exact pattern of this activity is likely to vary from the standard face-to-face hours listed below but the overall student effort remains the same. Up-to-date information on the delivery of the module can be found on the relevant module MLS site and on your student timetable.

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 25
Tutorial/Seminar 25
Practical Activity 5
Assessment 75
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 2020/21 , and may be subject to change for future years.