Course Title: Stability of Earth Structures

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Stability of Earth Structures

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities. 

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption. 

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance:

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


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2022

Course Coordinator: A/Prof Majidreza Nazem

Course Coordinator Phone: 9925 3628

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 39.04.09

Course Coordinator Availability: Friday 11:00-13:00

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course will introduce you to advanced analytical and computational techniques for analysing as well as designing earth structures. These structures include, but are not limited to, foundations of buildings, base courses and embankments for road and railways and stabilised cut slopes in soil. By learning the fundamental concepts of nonlinear soil behaviour, finite element method, and limit analysis method, you will be able to use the state-of-the-art software packages in order to analyse a wide range of earth structures.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

  1. Describe, investigate and analyse complex engineering systems and associated issues, particularly in geotechnical engineering.
  2. Comprehend and apply advanced theory-based understanding of geotechnical engineering fundamentals in analysis of earth structures
  3. Apply underpinning natural, physical and engineering sciences, mathematics, statistics, and computer sciences.

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Recognise and comprehend the reliance of the community on safe and economic earth structures including foundations, embankments and stabilised slopes.
  2. Assess the stability of existing earth structures using a range of methods appropriate to potential mechanisms of failure.
  3. Design earth structures taking into account acceptance levels for probability of failure.

Overview of Learning Activities

A modular, blended learning model comprising lectures, tutorials, workshop sessions, group discussions, and presentations will be employed in this course.

You will be learning an advanced and popular software package globally used for analysing the earth structures.

Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be available on Blackboard. This includes lecture materials, tutorials activities, case studies, supplementary course notes, problem sheets and solutions, practice exam quiz questions, and the list of references.

RMIT Library Subject Guide:

Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Task 1:  Project 1

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1-3.

Assessment Task 2:  Project 2

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1-3.

Assessment Task 3: Final Assessment

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1-3.