Unit description

Expanding on the knowledge gained in Soil Mechanics and Geology, this unit teaches students how to apply this knowledge to design the geotechnical aspects of a range of different projects. Design of building and bridge foundations will be covered, in addition to the design of dams and excavations. Methods of investigating a site and assessing the stability of a slope will be investigated. Computer modelling will be introduced to provide practical working knowledge of techniques used in industry to analyse geotechnical problems.

Unit content

Topic 1: Methods and approaches to geotechnical design including safe working loads, ultimate limit states and interaction with other disciplines
Topic 2: Methods of site investigation
Topic 3: Design of shallow footings
Topic 4: Design of deep footings and pile foundations
Topic 5: Design of foundations for buildings, bridges and other structures including methods to model soil structure interaction
Topic 6: Design of excavations using techniques such as passive soil nailing or rock anchors
Topic 7: Design and construction of dams
Topic 8: Slope stability of soils and rock slopes

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 2

  • Das, B. and Sobhan, K., 2014, Principles of Geotechnical Engineering, 8th Edition, Cengage Learning, Stamford, CT, 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 book40%
Project report50%

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 2017 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.