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).

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Residential School Compulsory Residential School
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Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2023

Term 2 - 2023 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 - 2021 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.6 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 53.66% 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: Moodle
The lecturer was extremely supportive and made a tough subject a breeze to learn.
The lecturer will continue to be supportive. The explanations provided will be further enhanced so students find the study of geomaterials interesting and intriguing.
Action Taken
Outstanding teaching and learning support was maintained this term too.
Source: Moodle
As the lectures are quite long, it will be good to have an overview slide at the beginning.
This is a very good suggestion. The importance and learning outcomes were discussed at the beginning of each lecture. This oral discussion will be accompanied with a slide(s) in future lectures.
Action Taken
An overview and learning implications were provided.
Source: Moodle
The time gap between lab report submission and Assignment 2 needs to increase.
More time will be allowed in future offerings.
Action Taken
A time gap of a week was allowed.
Source: Moodle
The lectures were very informative and relevant to the real world.
The high-quality lectures along with their real-world relevance will be maintained in future offerings.
Action Taken
Source: Moodle
Assignments were promptly returned which greatly helped learning.
The lecturer will maintain the good aspect of providing timely feedback.
Action Taken
Source: Moodle
The lecturer was holistic and made sure no one is left behind.
This is a great compliment. The lecturer will continue to engage with students and make sure everyone is making the most of this course.
Action Taken
Source: Moodle
The labs helped understanding of the content but the report felt too heavy.
Due to several fundamental laboratory tests conducted in this preliminary geotechnical engineering course, some students felt the report was too long. The coordinator will research alternate options and work more hands-on with students so that technical report writing becomes fun and not a burden.
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