Unit description

Introduces students to the study of soils and their behaviour, enabling analysis of the response of soils to applied loads. The basic geology and engineering properties of soils will be explained, in addition to techniques to measure or estimate them. Slope stability and soil-structure interaction will also be explained. The unit lays the foundation for more advanced units in geotechnical engineering.

Unit content

Topic 1: Introduction to engineering geology including the identification of soils and rocks, minerals, weathering, landscape formation and geomorphology
Topic 2: Introductory to engineering properties of soils including, description, characterisation and classification
Topic 3: Laboratory test methods to determine geotechnical properties of soils
Topic 4: Fundamentals of the mechanical behaviour of soils including effective stress, shear and bearing strength of soils, consolidation and settlement
Topic 5: Steady state water seepage through soils
Topic 6: Analysis of soil deformation and settlement
Topic 7: Earth pressures and design of retaining walls

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 1

  • Main Textbook: Das, B & Sobhan, K, 2014, Principles of Geotechnical Engineering, 8th edn, SI Edition, Cengage Learning, USA. ISBN: 9781133108672.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching method
Lecture on-site 3 hours (12 weeks)
Tutorial on-site 1 hour (12 weeks)
Exam: closed book70%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2016 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 2

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.