KB5020 - Engineering Geology & Geotechnics

What will I learn on this module?

This module provides an introduction to the Earth’s materials, their formation, development, and behaviour and explores how they impact on considerations for site investigation and assessment. You will learn about geological processes and structures and the formation, classification and erosion of rock and soils and the interpretation of geological maps. You will learn about the planning and implementation of site investigations, the interpretation of borehole data and various field testing techniques as used on construction sites. You will learn about the structure, content and use of relevant codes and standards. You will learn about soil improvement on construction sites, suitable fill materials for different construction activities and about the different types of temporary and permanent geotechnical structures commonly encountered and the concept of bearing capacity and simple sizing calculations and construction techniques for common types of foundations.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will include a range of learning materials such as presentations, notes, seminar questions for you to answer, and other resources such as video links, spreadsheets and specific software-related files. All these resources will be arranged in a convenient learning journey, giving you a clear expectation of the material to be studied and tasks to be completed on a week-by-week basis. You will be expected to complete the appropriate tasks in your weekly journey before attending programmed sessions. You will take part in lectures to develop your knowledge and understanding of the module material and in seminars, where you will learn to apply the concepts learned to engineering problems. There may be occasions within the semester where normal teaching will be suspended to allow your learning to be supplemented by a range of activities such as design workshops, guest presentations, professional body events, site visits and field work.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will include feedback from tutors during seminars, lectures, and practical sessions to clarify and deepen your understanding of the module material. In addition, tutors will use the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to provide electronic versions of module material. The University’s VLE offers remote access to materials and aids for reinforcing your learning. All of these support mechanisms and learning and teaching approaches will help to you to prepare for the assessments and prepare you for further learning in the programme.

The module and the wider programme teams will provide a supportive approach, enabling you to quickly and easily access and speak to any member of the programme team, as required.The University Library and other student services also offer a variety of academic skills training both online and face to face, which you can access as needed.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Apply simple practical assessment of rock types and minerals, and discuss their characteristics and origins and site investigation considerations.
2. Plan a site investigation and interpret its results for the purpose of Civil Engineering design or on-site construction.
3. Discuss the concept of bearing capacity and soil improvement on construction sites.
4. Describe the form and use of common types of geotechnical engineering structure.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
5. Map and describe common geological structures.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessments
You will be formatively assessed on all learning outcomes during the seminars by the module tutor leading the session. Discussion with the module tutor and reflection on your performance will allow you to continuously monitor your ability to feed this forward for your improvement.

Summative Assessment
You will be summatively assessed by an examination. The examination will assess your ability to satisfy MLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. It will be of 3 hours duration and be worth 100% of the module marks.
Feedback on this examination will feed into future assessments as well as supporting your future learning.





Module abstract

Almost every construction project interacts with the Earth – it has foundations, it involves excavations or embankments, the retaining of soil or rock behind a wall, tunnelling or other underground activities. It is therefore vital for Civil Engineers and construction professionals to have an understanding of the Earth’s materials, their properties, and behaviour, as well as an understanding of different types of geotechnical engineering structures involved in construction projects. This module provides an introduction to the key disciplines of engineering geology and geotechnics, helping you to understand the considerations necessary for the safe and sustainable design of geotechnical engineering structures and their implementation on construction sites. It will engage you with a range of core skills through case study driven lectures and applied seminars where you will gain first-hand experience of identifying, characterizing, and mapping geomaterials for engineering applications. Your lecture and seminar - based learning will be consolidated with field visits to apply your skills and meet the professionals using them. Assessment in this module is through an examination. Supportive feedback will be provided for each assessment which will identify areas of merit and offer guidance for future improvement.

Course info

UCAS Code H201

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years full-time or 5 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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