ENCN452-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


Stress-strain behaviour of soils. Critical-state soil mechanics. Approximations and limitations for geotechnical analyses. Piles under axial and lateral loading. Shallow foundations.

The aim of the course is to increase students' understanding of deformational behaviour of soils and fundamental concepts in geotechnical analysis and design. The course focuses on two aspects in particular: stress-strain behaviour of soils, and analysis and design of foundations. The background theme of the course is modelling as a fundamental engineering problem-solving methodology. The coursework includes performing laboratory tests on soils specimens and shake-table experiments on scaled-down soil models, use of analytical and numerical tools for geotechnical analysis, and scrutiny of procedures for design of shallow and deep foundations.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course you should be able to:

(a) Interpret key features of stress-strain behaviour of soils
(b) Explain fundamental concepts in modelling of stress-strain behaviour of soils
(c) Apply analytical and numerical methods for geotechnical analysis, and discuss their assumptions, approximations and limitations
(d) Apply principles of foundation engineering to geotechnical and structural design of shallow foundations
(e) Discuss and apply methods for analysis and design of piles under axial and lateral loading
(f) Develop understanding for testing of soils in the geotechnical laboratory, and analytical skills required for geotechnical modelling, analysis and design
(g) Develop and integrate knowledge and skills required for solving complex problems in geotechnical and foundation engineering.




Timetable Note

The course is delivered in 34 lectures, 2 tutorials, and 4 laboratory sessions. The material will be presented using slide presentations and clarification notes on the whiteboard. The latter is an essential component in the delivery of lectures, integrating various concepts and highlighting key content and considerations.

The tutorials are used to prepare for and facilitate laboratory sessions. The methods and tools covered are directly used in the homework for the assignments.

An independent study including preparation for lectures, scrutiny of concepts and example calculations is an essential component for making this course most effective for you.

The anticipated workload for the course is summarized below.

Lectures - 34
Labs (Geotech & Computational) - 10 (3, 3, 2, 2)
Tutorials - 2
Independent study - 104
Reading - 27
Test and exam preparation - 25
Assignments and reports - 45
Tutorials and lab preparation - 7

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Misko Cubrinovski


Christopher McGann


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Assignment 1 (Geotech lab 1 : triaxial test) 8%
Assignment 2 (state concept interpretation) 7%
Assignment 3 (Geotech Analysis/Modelling using In-situ/Lab tests) 10%
Assignment 6 (shallow foundations) 13%
Assignment 6: (Piles:under lateral loads; elastic analysis 5%
Assignnment 5 - Settlement of piles 7%
final exam 50%

1. Final exam:  A minimum pass mark of 50% in the exam is required in order for a student to pass the course.
2. All assignments must be submitted by the due date. Late submissions will not be accepted. If a student is unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond their control they should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible.
3. Aegrotat eligibility: “Aegrotat provisions are intended to assist students who have covered the work of a course but have been prevented by illness or other critical circumstance from demonstrating their mastery of the material or skills at the time of assessment” [UC Calendar].
4. All assignments should be done individually.
5. Homework assignments should be submitted electronically as pdf files, with details as advised by the TAs.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Coduto, Donald P; Foundation design : principles and practices ; 2nd ed; Prentice Hall, 2001.

Muir Wood, David; Geotechnical modelling ; Spon Press, 2004.

Muir Wood, David; Soil behaviour and critical state soil mechanics ; Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Electronic files of course materials, including assignments, course materials, and any lecture notes will be made available through LEARN. Handouts may be provided during lectures and recommended readings from textbooks may be assigned.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,164.00

International fee $5,750.00

* 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 ENCN452 Occurrences

  • ENCN452-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023