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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 13/06/2022 11:22:29

Title of Module: Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

Code: ENGG11025 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 10 ECTS: 5
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Djamalddine  Boumezerane

Summary of Module

The purpose of this module is to give students experience and confidence to allow them to undertake geotechnical design in a professional context.  Through this module they should develop a fuller understanding of the process of geotechnical design from initial conception through design, construction and final end use.

In the module the student will review the Eurocodes with special consideration to geotechnical design.  The determination of the parameters for design based on ground investigation data is an area that is fraught with difficulty since the ground is a variable and naturally occurring material.  Methods to collect good data will be covered.  In addition, techniques will be presented that will allow less than ideal data to be considered.  The student will learn to recognise when the data provided is inadequate for an adequate design and be able to make recommendations on how to collect the required data.  It is expected that by the end of the module that the student will have the confidence to question these inadequate investigations and be able to argue convincingly that better data is required.

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).


  • Use of Eurocodes for geotechnical design, particularly in earth retaining structures and foundation design

  • Practical design problems to demonstrate state of the art design of foundations, slopes and retaining walls

  • A review of sustainability in a geotechnical context and critical analysis of the designs undertaken to assess and where possible improve them in this area

  • Work towards being able to articulate the geotechnical requirements of the project with the view of bieng able to design further desk study and site investigation work to provide data for design

  • Undertake design based on results supplied to them with a view of maximising the sustainability of the proposed work

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. Undertake geotechnical design from initial concept to final design in accordance with the principles set out in EuroCode 7.

L2. Critically review geotechnical design proposals for sustainability and resilience with particular emphasis on modes of failure e.g. changes in pore water conditions and hydraulic actions.

L3. Develop the ability to complete professional reports and presentations in geotechnical engineering.

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 11.

Students will gain and consolidate knowledge primarily in the area of geotechnical engineering but will also become aware of the influence of geotechnical engineering on other aspects of projects such as programme, cost, environmental impact, buildability, etc…

Students will complete the module with a detailed knowledge of EuroCode 7 and the geotechnical design principles so that they can be critical in a constructive way of their own designs and those of others.

Students will be exposed to the state of the art for a selected technique as shown in the engineering literature and be aware of the limitations and advantages that these techniques offer

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Students will undertake a design that will require them to use a significant range of professional skills in the field of geotechnical engineering to demonstrate they have abilities in analysis, ICT, communication and problem solving.

In undertaking the required coursework for the module the students will need to demonstrate originality and creativity.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

The review of a series of case studies and the application of critical analysis to these case studies. The outcome of this will be the ability to make informed judgement concerning the actions taken and decisions made.

Design work will require the need to provide due consideration to complex issue and to make informed judgement sometimes with limited or inconsistent data.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

The preparation of professional reports suitable to be shared with other industry professionals and a presentation directed at the intelligent lay person. This work will be concerned with a proposed geotechnical design. This will require the use of a range of software tools to complete the work. The analysis undertaken to inform the report and presentation is expected to be numeric and requiring enhanced numeracy skills.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Students will work individually during the course of this module and will need to exercise substantial autonomy and initiative.

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
This module will be divlivered using traditional methods of lectures.
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 Delivery8
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity8
Asynchronous Class Activity2
Independent Study82
100 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 for ground engineering and the University's VLE.

In this module it is proposed that students will access the materials required from the University’s electronic resources. The materials that students are expected to consult are:

Construction Information Service – This provides access to the publications of the BRE, CIRIA, British Standards Agency including EuroCodes

Institution of Civil Engineers Virtual Library Archive – This provides access to the full library of the journals published by the Institution of Civil Engineers

Online databases for access to Engineering Journals such as ScienceDirect, Web of Science, Digimap Ordnance Survey Collection, Wiley Online Library etc..

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
External ExaminerK Tota-Maharaj
Accreditation DetailsAccredited by the Joint Board of Moderators as a Technical MSc and meeting Further Learning requirements for a Chartered Engineer (CEng)
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Coursework 50%
Examination 50%
(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
Report of practical/ field/ clinical workcheck mark check mark356
Presentation check markcheck mark151

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 mark 502
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
This module is given at the University in the normal classrooms and computer labs. These are accessible by people with mobility issues. There will not be any field trips or lab work required for this module so disabled students will have access to the module. Engineering as a profession is under-represented by women but this is a wider issue that this module cannot address except to confirm that more women in engineering is considered desirable and necessary. There will be no discrimination within the module against those from ethnic minorities, disabled students, students of different ages, genders, religions, sexual orientations and students from other 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

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.