Postgraduate taught 

Civil Engineering MSc

Rock Mechanics and Engineering 4 ENG4072

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course introduces fundamentals of rock mechanics and its application to surface and subsurface engineering practice, emphasising: (i) introduction to the characteristics and the nature of rock mechanics; (ii) hydrogeology of rock masses; (iii) philosophy of rock engineering design; (iv) applications of rock mechanics in civil and renewable energy engineering projects (e.g., rock slope stability, geological disposal of radioactive wastes, geothermal energy, mineral resources extraction). It also includes a series of practical sessions which allow students to familiarise themselves with subject.


2 lectures per week, a variety of practical sessions

Excluded Courses





80% Written Exam

20% Practical Skills Assignment

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below.

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ convey a thorough grounding in rock mechanics as it relates to civil engineering and renewable energy; 

■ explain and practise the engineering description of rocks and rock masses; 

■ equip students with basic quantitative methods for analysing rock slope instabilities; 

■ introduce skills in rock reinforcement strategy and its low-carbon solutions;

■ apply principles of rock mechanics in subsurface renewable energy engineering.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ define the fundamental characteristics and mechanical properties of rocks, rock masses, and discontinuities

■ conduct rock slope stability analysis using quantitative approaches;

■ deduce likely groundwater flow in the underground projects;

■ calculate and map stress redistribution, excavation damaged zone in relation to underground excavation;

■ design preliminary rock reinforcement in fractured rocks;

■ analyse the mechanism of the formation of enhanced geothermal reservoirs.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students must attend all tutorials and practical sessions.


Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.