ENCN353-17S2 (C) Semester Two 2017

Geotechnical Engineering

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2017
End Date: Sunday, 19 November 2017
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 July 2017
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 13 October 2017


Mohr's circle; time-dependent soil behaviour; settlement; capacity and failure of foundations; field investigations; slope stability; earth pressure theories and retaining structures.

This second course in geomechanics focuses primarily on the analysis of common geo-structures and foundations. It makes use of the soil mechanics concepts and calculations learned in ENCN 253 and familiarity with this material is assumed. Generally speaking, the course content has been developed on the assumption that ideas and understanding, as opposed to codes or rote-learned formulae, are the backbone of successful engineering – our aim is to understand the behaviour of soil, and then put this understanding to work to solve practical geotechnical engineering problems and make decisions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

¥ Analyse the stability of common geotechnical structures and foundations using conventional methods,
¥ Compare various in situ and lab-based testing methods for different soil types and scenarios, and interpret typical soil test data,
¥ Describe and analyse the deformation of soil using effective stress-based principles and appropriate idealisations of soil behaviour,
¥ Describe conventional methods of design for SLS and ULS for geo-structures, and how to use factors of safety.




Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Jenny Haskell


Mark Stringer

Lab Technician

Siale Faitotonu


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
final exam 50%
homeworks (x4) 20%
Labs (x2) 10%
Test (modules 1-3) 15%
Tutorials 5%

Exam: A minimum mark of 40% must be achieved in the final exam in order to pass the course. All modules from the course are examinable.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

William Powrie; Soil mechanics : concepts and applications ; 2nd; Spon Press, 2004.

Recommended Reading:

Muir Wood - Soil Mechanics: a One-Dimensional Introduction (this book has very good explanations of fundamental soil mechanics concepts – if you are struggling with modules 1 or 2, or want to brush up on ENCN 253 concepts, this is a good place to start).

Bolton - A Guide to Soil Mechanics (classic text from one of the giants of modern soil mechanics. If you want a chatty, insightful read, or think geotech might be your thing, I cannot recommend this book enough!).

Parry - Mohr Circles, Stress paths and Geotechnics (good text for modules 1 & 3).
Davis & Selvadurai - Plasticity and Geomechanics (the best text for module 3)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $919.00

International fee $5,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENCN353 Occurrences

  • ENCN353-17S2 (C) Semester Two 2017