KB6022 - Geotechnical Engineering

What will I learn on this module?

You will have the opportunity to build upon your learning from previous modules and apply it to geotechnical engineering design problems. You will cover the stability of earth slopes, lateral earth pressure and retaining structures, shallow and deep foundations, settlement of foundations, soil stabilization techniques, use of standards and codes of practice and the derivation of design parameters from site investigations.

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 either attending classes or taking part in online sessions. You will take part in lectures to develop your knowledge and understanding of the module material and in seminars and IT workshop sessions, 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?

You will be supported by staff in seminars and workshops, giving you ample opportunity to ask questions to clarify and deepen your understanding of the module material, as well as to seek specific help, for example with practice assessment tasks. At other times, you will have regular access to University academic staff online, including the use of discussion boards and chat rooms in the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This will allow you to access support regularly at convenient times.

The module and the wider programme teams will also 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. Determine horizontal earth pressures and design a retaining wall
2. Classify and analyse earth slopes.
3. Analyze and design foundations for ultimate and serviceability limit states.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Apply the appropriate analysis tools to the design of foundations and other earth or earth supporting structures.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Evaluate sustainability, health and safety and design risk management issues in the context of geotechnical engineering.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be through problem solving tasks in the seminar sessions on which verbal feedback will be provided.

You will be summatively assessed by means of an examination of 3 hours duration. This will assess all MLOs and will be worth 100% of the module marks.





Module abstract

You will be introduced to the application of the principles of soil mechanics to the analysis and design of earth slopes, foundations and retaining structures. You will gain body of knowledge to allow you to specify, design, evaluate and make decisions in geotechnical problems using contemporary principles and concepts, including the standards, and codes of used in industry. You will also gain experience in dealing with the uncertainty arising from the difficulty of characterizing conditions below the ground based on limited data, and on how design and health and safety risks arising from this uncertainty can be managed. Almost all civil engineering problems involve some geotechnical engineering; for example all structures have foundations, whilst all railways and highways make use of embankments and cuttings constructed from earth. An understanding of design in this area is therefore important for a civil engineering graduate and will contribute significantly to your employability in the industry.

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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