ENCN454-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024

Introduction to Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


Seismic behaviour of retaining walls, shallow and deep foundations, embankments, and slopes. Liquefaction. Case studies, design applications, and advanced methods of analysis.

The Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering course is the second elective course in geotechnical engineering in the undergraduate curriculum for civil and natural resources engineering students. The course extends the skills and knowledge acquired in the preceding geotechnical engineering courses (ENCN253, ENCN353 and ENCN452) to seismic problems.

ENCN454 is an introductory course in geotechnical earthquake engineering that provides essential background and methodologies for engineering assessment and design of structures in seismic regions. The focus of the course is on engineering assessment concepts and their application to seismic evaluation of land, buildings and infrastructure. These include evaluation of site response, retaining structures, foundations, soil-building interaction and stability of slopes under earthquake loads. All topics are discussed through well-documented case histories using field observations on the performance of land, buildings and infrastructure during recent strong earthquakes. The tutorials and computational labs are based on a hands-on approach and use of computational tools that are commonly utilized in the engineering practice. These tools are demonstrated in tutorials and are then used in the homework assignments.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Classify and evaluate earthquake sources/loads, and associated geotechnical earthquake hazards. (Washington Accord WA1, WA5), (UC EIE3, GA2)

  •  Explain key concepts in the seismic assessment of engineering structures. (Washington Accord WA2, WA10), (UC EIE2 EIE3)

  • Interpret the behaviour of soils and geotechnical structures during earthquakes. (Washington Accord WA2, WA4), (UC EIE3)

  • Apply simplified design-oriented methods for liquefaction assessment, and seismic analysis and design of retaining walls, embankments, bridges and building foundations. (Washington Accord WA1, WA3, WA5), (UC EIE3)

  • Analyse the response of sites, earth structures and soil-structure systems under earthquake loads. (Washington Accord WA1, WA5), (UC EIE3)




Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 11:00 - 13:00 E16 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 13:00 - 15:00 E5 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 24 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Robin Lee


Misko Cubrinovski


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Assignment (x4) 40% Learning Objectives: 1-5
final exam 60% Learning Objectives: 1-5

1. You cannot pass this course unless you achieve a mark of at least 50% in the final exam.
2. Late submissions will attract a penalty of 10% per day. Please contact the lecturer as soon as possible if you will be unable to submit an assignment by the deadline due to extraordinary personal circumstances or illness.
3. All assignments should be completed individually.
4. Homework assignments should be submitted electronically through Learn, with details as advised by the TAs.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Steven L. Kramer; Geotechnical earthquake engineering ; Prentice Hall, 1996.

Electronic files of course materials including lecture notes, assignments and course information will be made available through LEARN. Handouts may be provided during lectures.


Course communication

All communication with the class will be through lectures, Learn and email. Teaching assistants will provide information and feedback on assignments through Learn.

Repeating students

Students repeating this course are required to complete all of the course assessments

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,197.00

International fee $6,000.00

* 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.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 15 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENCN454 Occurrences

  • ENCN454-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024