Course Title: Geotechnical Engineering 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Geotechnical Engineering 1

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2022

Course Coordinator: A/Professor Gang Ren

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2409

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 10.12.27

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

CIVE1265 Introduction to Civil & Infrastructure Engineering 


Course Description

Geotechnical engineering deals with the behaviour of soils under the influence of loading from structures. It is one of the most important branches of civil engineering. It uses the concepts of soil and rock mechanics to model real world engineering problems, aided by empirical observations and a systematic classification of soil materials which seeks to correlate classification and physical properties with engineering behaviour. This course serves as an introduction to geotechnical engineering and covers basic concepts and terminology.  It is a prerequisite course for the subsequent Geotechnical Engineering 2 (CIVE1108) and Geotechnical Engineering 3 (CIVE1159).

This course is a designated Work Integrated Learning (WIL) course within the BH077 program.  It includes a WIL experience in which your knowledge and skills will be applied and assessed in a real or simulated workplace context and where feedback from industry and/or community is integral to your experience.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BH077, Bachelor of Engineering, Civil and Infrastructure, (Honours):

1.3 In depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.

1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline.

2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.

2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.


On completion of this course you should be able to:

1. Define geotechnical engineering, determine soil physical characteristics (including unit weight / density - water content relationship), classify soilsand describe field compaction methods and related quality control.

2. Describe soil and common rock formations and weathering process.

3. Determine the coefficient of permeability and equivalent hydraulic conductivity in stratified soil (according to established scientific principles for the flow of water through saturated soils) and calculate seepage, pore water pressure distribution, uplift forces and seepage stresses for simple geotechnical systems.

4. Describe the purposes and different phases of a soil investigation, soil exploration program, soil exploration methods and soil identification in the field. Describe geophysical principles and relate them to survey of geological materials.

5. Discuss the concept of effective stress and determine stress distribution within a soil mass.

6. Explain the ‘shear strength’ of soil, describe the direct shear test method and interpret direct shear test results.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn this course through pre-recorded lecture videos, tutorials and laboratory demonstrations.

pre-recorded lecture videos will involve the discussion of theory on various topics of geotechnical engineering. You will learn to apply theoretical knowledge to problem solving in geotechnical engineering practice.

Total study hours: You will undertake the equivalent of 65 hours per semester in viewing lecture videos, tutorials and demonstrations. In addition you can expect to spend the same amount of hours in independent study.

Overview of Learning Resources

Prescribed text, recommended references, available computer and simulation programs and Geomechanics Laboratory resources are used in this course. Online resources will be made available through myRMIT.

RMIT Library Subject Guide: 

Overview of Assessment

Note that: This course has no hurdle requirements

Assessment Tasks[DR1] 

Assessment Task 1: Timed Practical Assessments in Week 7 

Weighting 35% (Open book assessment)

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 2 in Week 10: Online Quizzes

Weighting 20% (open book quiz online)

This assessment task supports CLOs 2, & 5

Assessment Task 3 in Week 13 or 14: Take home Assignment

Weighting 45% (A major assignment covering all topics)

This assessment task supports CLOs 1-6 

 [DR1]can you provide week the assessment will be held