Geotechnical Engineering

CVE40001 12.5 Credit Points Hawthorn, Sarawak Available to incoming Study Abroad and Exchange students


  • 1 Semester

Contact hours

  • 60 Hours

On-campus unit delivery combines face-to-face and digital learning.

2022 teaching periods


Higher Ed. Semester 1

28 Feb 22 - 29 May 22

5 Jul 22

Last self enrolment:
13 Mar 22

31 Mar 22

Last withdraw without fail:
15 Apr 22



Aims and objectives

This unit of study aims to introduce you to the fundamentals and basic techniques used in Geotechnical Engineering. In particular, it will provide you with the design and construction principles used in Civil and Geotechnical Engineering type structures such as earth retaining structures, shallow foundations, residential slabs and footings, deep foundations, and the assessment of stability for sloping ground.

Unit Learning Outcomes (ULO)

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

1. Analyse earth retaining structures to determine active, passive and at rest lateral earth pressures (and associated forces) based on Mohr circles and the Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria of soils. (K1, K2, K3, K6, S1, S2, S3)

2. Determine bearing capacities for shallow foundations and be able to design suitable footing systems for various soil conditions based on strength and settlement criteria. (K1, K2, K3, K6, S1, S2, S3)

3. Appreciate the soil – structure interaction model for residential slab footings and active type soils, and thus be able to predict ground movement and select appropriate shallow footing systems for residential structures and design them in accordance with Australian Standard AS2870 for various sites and soil conditions. (K1, K2, K3, K4, K6, S1, S2, S3, A2, A7)

4. Design deep foundations based on strength and settlement criteria for various sites and soils conditions. (K1, K2, K3, K6, S1, S2, S3)

5. Analyse sloping ground against slope failure and assess the factor of safety using multiple methods of analysis. (K1, K2, K3, K6, S1, S2, S3)

6. Conduct a basic technical investigation by performing a literature review, compile and analyse the information gathered, and produce a brief and concise (journal style) report with an appropriate conclusion. (A2, A4, A5, A7)

7. Perform a brief and concise oral presentation of technical material, which simulates a conference style presentation. (A2, A4, A5, A7)

Swinburne Engineering Competencies for this Unit of Study
This Unit of Study will contribute to you attaining the following Swinburne Engineering Competencies:
K1 Basic Science: Proficiently applies concepts, theories and techniques of the relevant natural and physical sciences.
K2 Maths and IT as Tools: Proficiently uses relevant mathematics and computer and information science concepts as tools.
K3 Discipline Specific: Proficiently applies advanced technical knowledge of the specific discipline within that context.
K4 Emerging Disciplinary Trends: Interprets and applies current or emerging knowledge from inside and outside the specific discipline.
K6 Professional Practice: Appreciates the principles of professional engineering practice in a sustainable context.
S1 Engineering Methods: Applies engineering methods in practical applications.
S2 Problem Solving: Systematically uses engineering methods in solving complex problems.
S3 Design: Systematically uses engineering methods in design.
A2 Communication: Demonstrates effective communication to professional and wider audiences.
A4 Information Management: Demonstrates seeking, using, assessing and managing information.
A5 Professional Self: Demonstrates professionalism.
A7 Teamwork: Demonstrates effective team membership and team leadership.