ENEC12008 - Geotechnical Engineering

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This unit explains how geological processes that produce landforms, geological structures, rocks, and soils affect the location, design, construction, and maintenance of civil engineering projects. In this unit, you will gain knowledge of the engineering properties of soils, conduct and analyse data from geotechnical tests performed according to Australian Standards, and prepare high quality geotechnical reports.You will select appropriate approaches for analysing the behaviour of soils in civil engineering applications. You will need to use appropriate 'civil engineering language' in context and document the process of modelling and analysis of geotechnical problems. You will present information in a professional manner and communicate, work, and learn, both individually and in teams. In this unit, you must complete compulsory practical activities. Refer to the Engineering Undergraduate Course Moodle site for proposed dates. This unit will promote progress toward the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 15 - Life on the land.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites
Prerequisites: [ENEG11006 Engineering Statics AND [MATH11218 Applied Mathematics OR MATH11160 Technology Mathematics]

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School Compulsory Residential School
View Unit Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2024

Term 2 - 2024 Profile
Mixed Mode

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 20%
2. Written Assessment 20%
3. Practical Assessment 30%
4. Online Test 30%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2023 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 100.00% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 42.86% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Student Unit and Teaching Evaluation
The online test was stress-free with plenty of time provided to understand and effectively answer questions.
This nature of the online test should be maintained in the future.
Action Taken
The online test was maintained to be as stress free as possible.
Source: Student Unit and Teaching Evaluation
The lectures were very engaging with a lot of content presented but broken down in a manner that was interesting as well as easy to learn. With real-life examples, the lecturer challenged our thinking as well as assessed our understanding on the spot, making sure we all understood the concepts discussed prior to moving on to the next topic.
It is recommended to continue to prioritise the engaged teaching approach to provide students with the best possible learning experience.
Action Taken
Student engagement was maintained with continued spot feedback sessions to assess student learning.
Source: Student Unit and Teaching Evaluation
The online test questions can be expanded, it felt like a lot of equations discussed in class were not needed.
The role of geotechnical equations in the course should be further reinforced in future offerings.
Action Taken
More focus was placed on equations and when to apply them in practice. This was through practical tutorials and regular lectures incorporating numerical problems.
Source: Student Unit and Teaching Evaluation
Students should be allowed to type their equations as opposed to only handwrite equations permitted during the test.
Students should be allowed to type the equations from the next offering for better structuring the equations needed to complete the test.
Action Taken
Students have been permitted to type the equations as suits.
Source: SUTE
The content was relatable to engineering practice and the lecturer was very passionate about the subject matter.
The high relevancy of the content with changing engineering practice should be maintained.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE
The course requirements were very clearly communicated.
The clear communication style should be upheld in all future offerings.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE
The residential school was a good opportunity to practice various soil testing. A longer residential school would be better.
The residential school component should be maintained along with increasing the duration to four days.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Identify and discuss the implications of geological factors affecting the location, design, construction, and maintenance of civil engineering projects
  2. Conduct geotechnical tests, analyse test data, and prepare geotechnical reports
  3. Calculate basic engineering properties of soils and explain the relationship to soil behaviour
  4. Analyse the behaviour of soil in response to engineering applications using appropriate theories and national standards
  5. Communicate, work and learn both individually and in teams, document the process of modelling, testing, and analysis and present the information in a professional manner.

The Learning Outcomes for this unit are linked with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standards for Professional Engineers in the areas of 1. Knowledge and Skill Base, 2. Engineering Application Ability and 3. Professional and Personal Attributes at the following levels:

3.4 Professional use and management of information. (LO: 5N )

1.1 Comprehensive, theory-based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline. (LO: 2I 3I 4I )
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline. (LO: 3I )
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem-solving. (LO: 1N 3I 4I )
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources. (LO: 2I )
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes. (LO: 4I )
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains. (LO: 2I 5I )
3.5 Orderly management of self, and professional conduct. (LO: 2I )

1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline. (LO: 1N 2A 3I 4A )
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline. (LO: 1I 3A )
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership. (LO: 2A 5I )

Note: LO refers to the Learning Outcome number(s) which link to the competency and the levels: N – Introductory, I – Intermediate and A - Advanced.

Refer to the Engineering Undergraduate Course Moodle site for further information on the Engineers Australia's Stage 1 Competency Standard for Professional Engineers and course level mapping information

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Practical Assessment
4 - Online Test
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10