Geotechnical Engineering

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


  • One Semester or equivalent

Contact hours

  • 60 hours face to face + Blended

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

2023 teaching periods


Higher Ed. Semester 1

27 Feb 23 - 28 May 23

4 Jul 23

Last self enrolment:
12 Mar 23

31 Mar 23

Last withdraw without fail:
14 Apr 23



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 (A1-7, K1-6, S1-4): find out more about Engineering Skills and Competencies including the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies.