ENEC20003 - Geotechnical Engineering Design

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Geotechnical Engineering Design will enable you to develop and apply your knowledge of Australian Standards and/or relevant guidelines to analyse and design advanced geotechnical engineering structures involving a broad range of investigations. You will learn to use computer software to analyse and design the geotechnical components; conduct site investigations; test and characterise geotechnical materials, design foundations, and earth retaining structures; and make assessments of geotechnical stability. Considering stakeholders and sustainability requirements, you will formulate, plan, manage, and complete projects individually and in teams in an ethical and professional manner by. You will also document and communicate engineering information using the appropriate language for a professional engineer.


Level Postgraduate
Unit Level 9
Credit Points 12
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.25
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites There are no pre-requisites for the unit.

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 No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2023

Term 1 - 2023 Profile
Mixed Mode
Term 2 - 2023 Profile
Mixed Mode
Term 3 - 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 12-credit Postgraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 25 hours of study per week, making a total of 300 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 30%
2. Written Assessment 30%
3. In-class Test(s) 40%

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 - 2022 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 100.00% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 100.00% 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 Website
This is a very well run unit that covers complex engineering topics delivered very clearly and lucidly.
This practice will be continued and new innovations will be continued to further enhance the delivery.
Action Taken
Hands-on activities were practiced extensively in this term.
Source: Moodle Website
The use of GeoStudio provides students with a working knowledge of a standard industry software package. The variety of engineering topics was interesting.
This practice will be continued into the future. New and more industry-relevant problems will be included in the next offering.
Action Taken
In spite of the problems in accessing GeoStudio software, students were exposed to intensive learning of the software.
Source: Moodle Website
It would be good to have assignment feedback by way of comments mark-up on the submissions.
This issue will be investigated and ways to provide more comprehensive feedback will be explored.
Action Taken
Feedback is provided on time and as written feedback in their submission.
Source: In-class discussions and activities
GeoStudio software access issues need to address on time.
The software should be made available on all computer labs as well as on student's computers using SEQUEENT.
Action Taken
Source: During teaching time
Timetabling was done poorly as the room had no computers when the activity involved was to use computer software.
The computer labs need to be booked for workshops.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

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

  1. Design group piles, pad foundations, and earth retaining structures and assess the stability of slopes
  2. Formulate, plan, manage and complete projects individually or in teams in an ethical and professional manner considering stakeholder requirements and principles of sustainable development
  3. Identify and apply site investigation and geotechnical testing techniques to characterise sites and geotechnical materials based on Australian Standards
  4. Use appropriate software to analyse geotechnical components
  5. Demonstrate a professional level of communication and leadership.

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:
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes. (LO: 1N )
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline. (LO: 1I 2N )
3.3 Creative, innovative, and proactive demeanor. (LO: 1N 4I )
3.5 Orderly management of self, and professional conduct. (LO: 1I 4I )
1.1 Comprehensive, theory-based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline. (LO: 1A 3N 4A )
1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences underpin the engineering discipline. (LO: 1I 4A )
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline. (LO: 2A )
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem-solving. (LO: 1A 3N 4I )
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools, and resources. (LO: 1I 3I 4A )
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains. (LO: 2A 4I 5A )
3.4 Professional use and management of information. (LO: 1I 2A )
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 Postgraduate Units Moodle site for further information on 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 - In-class Test(s)
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Knowledge
2 - Communication
3 - Cognitive, technical and creative skills
4 - Research
5 - Self-management
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8