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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 10/01/2023 11:35:45

Title of Module: Applied Soil Mechanics

Code: ENGG09016 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Djamalddine  Boumezerane

Summary of Module

In this module the students are instructed in the science of soil mechanics so that they can apply this to the problems associated with and the design of foundations, slopes and other ground engineering problems. Students will be instructed in geologic hazards and geotechnical disasters to impress upon them the importance of proper care and attention to the ground.  As part of the design considerations students will consider the sustainability associated with ground engineering.

Students will also be provided with an in depth review of ground investigation procedures so that they have an appreciation of the importance of ground investigation in the overall success of civil engineering projects.

Students will be instructed in various aspects of soil mechanics such as effective stress, strengths of soils, flow of water in soil etc. There will be a review of laboratory work to introduce the students to the main geotechnical tests such as plastic limit/liquid limit, shear strength and consolidation testing.  

Students will be provided with an overview of the Eurocode for geotechnical design. They will study implementation of the Eurocode procedures and soil mechanics principles via straight forward exercises in foundation, slopes and retaining wall design.

This module will support students to develop their UWS graduate attributes, namely: Academic (critical and analytical thinking, inquiring, knowledgeable, innovation, and problem solving); Personal (effective communicator, creative, imaginative); Professional (Collaborative, research-minded, and socially responsible).

  • Introduction to and review of the basic principles of soil mechanics

  • Introduction to and review of the basic procedures of foundation design, retaining wall design and slope stability analysis

  • Introduction to basic soil laboratory testing procedures and the analysis of results

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. To be able to comment on and make suggestions concerning ground investigations.

L2. To be able to apply basic principles of soil mechanics to simples designs for foundations, soil slopes and retaining walls.

L3. To be able to understand simple soil laboratory tests to gain parameters for design.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Students will develop an appreciation of Geotechnical engineering as a specialism in the broader field of Civil Engineering

Students will have an understanding of the theory of soil mechanics

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Soil laboratory tests and analysis

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Review proposed designs of foundations, soil slopes and retaining walls.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Use and development of spreadsheets to deal with specific problems

Interpretation skills involved with summarizing and presenting the contents of a technical paper

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Working under guidance in a soils laboratory environment

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The learning and teaching activity for this module include lectures, soil and computer laboratory work.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop12
Independent Study152
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Various handout material that are provided as hard copy and on-line via the University's VLE.

Extension Resources: Consultation of the under noted resources is recommended and material from these resources may be of benefit to the student in the assessment process:

Frank et al, 2004, Designer’s Guide to En 1997-1 Eurocode 7: Geotechnical design – General Rules

Simons et al, 2002, A short course in Geotechnical Site Investigation

Simons & Manzies, 2000, A short course in Foundation Engineering (2nd Edition)

Simons et al, 2001, A short course in Soil and Rock Slope Engineering

Smith, I. M. (2014) Smith’s elements of soil mechanics. 1st edn. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Knappett J & R.F. Craig, 2012. Craig's Soil Mechanics,8th Edition.CRC Press, Taylor & Francis.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardEngineering
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelCivil Engineering and Quality Management
ModeratorShakun Paudel
External ExaminerJ Oti
Accreditation DetailsThis module is accredited by Joint Board of Moderators of the ICE, IStructE, IHE and CIHT as part of BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering.
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assessment Category 1: Coursework 40%
Assessment Category 2: Examination 60% . Due to Covid 19 Adaptive Assessment might replace exam.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Design/ Diagram/ Drawing/ Photograph/ Sketch check mark 206
Laboratory/ Clinical/ Field notebook  check mark90
Portfolio of practical workcheck markcheck markcheck mark11
Presentationcheck mark  100

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen open bookcheck markcheck markcheck mark602
Combined Total For All Components100% 9 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
The programme leaders have considered how the programme meets the requirements of potential students from minority groups, including students from ethnic minorities, disabled students, students of different ages and students from under-represented groups. Students with special needs (including additional learning needs) would be assessed/accommodated and any identified barriers to particular groups of students discussed with the Enabling Support Unit and reasonable adjustments would be made for classes and site visits.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.