Civil Engineering BEng/MEng

Geotechnical Engineering 3 ENG3073

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course aims to develop the theoretical and practical skills required for geotechnical design. Building on the material presented in Soil Mechanics 2, the fundamental compression and strength behaviour of soils is introduced.  This is then developed into methods of analysis and design using EC7 for common geotechnical problems, such as shallow foundations, retaining walls and the stability of slopes.


Two lectures per week

Excluded Courses





90% Written Exam: 60% Final exam, 30% Class tests (2)

10% Written assignment: 2 assignments

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ develop a knowledge of the fundamental behaviour of soils, particularly regarding compressibility and strength;

■ develop an awareness of the simplifications used in soil mechanics theory and the consequences for analysis and design;

■ introduce basic geotechnical analysis and design techniques for earth retaining structures, shallow foundations and slope stability;

■ introduce the concept of partial factors in geotechnical design and apply Eurocode 7 factors in geotechnical design.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ evaluate in-situ stresses and describe basic stress-strain relationships in soils;

■ evaluate shallow foundation settlement using elastic solutions and consolidation theory;

■ explain shear failure in soils using the Mohr-Coulomb criterion;

■ assess and explain triaxial test results for sands and clays under drained and undrained loading conditions;

■ analyse and design simple geotechnical structures (retaining walls, shallow foundations and slopes);

■ evaluate lateral earth pressure based on plasticity theory, using Rankine and Coulomb theories;

■ apply Eurocode 7 partial factors in geotechnical design.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.