Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Engineering Geology EARTH4084

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces concepts and techniques in practical engineering geology, and their application to engineering projects such as buildings and tunnels and slope and ground stabilisation. Practical skills including logging rock and soil to industry standards, and assessing environmental constraints will be developed in exercises, some potentially with industry partners.


Four classes per week for 3 weeks (2 hr lecture and 1 hr lab per class). Local 1 day field class.

Requirements of Entry

Normally completion of Level 3 Geology courses or Level 3 Earth Science courses at a mean of D3.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4006 - Engineering Earth Science




Written exam (60%)

Integrated site investigation report (40%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

To provide a detailed theoretical and practical account of the application of the geosciences to the engineering geology and geotechnical/environmental engineering industries.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Explain the main methods, equipment and testing used in intrusive ground investigations (including the set-up, drilling and logging of a borehole and a trial pit)


■ Describe soil and core samples in accordance with British Standards regulations and produce borehole and trial pit logs both in the field and using computer software packages


■ Explain the principles of risk-based assessment of contaminated land and undertake qualitative and quantitative environmental risk assessments


■ Use geological and historical maps and a field survey, in order to critically assess the ground conditions and historical development of a site and identify geotechnical and environmental constraints to development


■ Quantitatively assess whether structures may be supported on shallow foundations, or whether piling and/or ground improvement is required, and outline environmental remediation strategies.


■ Quantitatively assess whether slopes are stable and appraise appropriate methods of slope and ground stabilisation.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.