The objectives of this unit are to provide an understanding of the factors influencing soil strength, and to give practice in the application of this understanding by exploring the stability of slopes, retaining walls and foundations. At the end of this unit, students will be able to: critically analyse foundation stability and slope stability problems; use spreadsheets to perform parametric studies and produce design charts for simple geotechnical design problems; and communicate the results of experiments and analyses using written methods appropriate for professional geotechnical engineers. The syllabus comprises; methods of analysis for gravity and sheet pile retaining walls; reinforced soil; slope stability, including modes of failure, analysis and computer methods; bearing capacity of shallow foundations under general loading, and axial and lateral capacities of deep pile foundations; and the mechanical behaviour of sands and clays.


The course will cover the following topics:

  • Basis of Geotechnical Design according to EN 1997 1, geotechnical categories, design situations and limit states. Statical interaction between structures and ground, interaction relations, determination of contact pressures and displacements, condensed stiffness matrix, and method of substructures.
  • Opening of the excavation pit.
  • Basis of shallow and deep foundation and foundations on improved ground.
  • Design of shallow and deep foundation structures, design situations according to EN 1997 1, geotechnical analyses of individual construction phases and demonstration of limit states. Basis of design and construction of retaining structures.
  • Basis of geotechnical anchoring.
  • Ground improvement.
  • Embankments and excavations.
  • Preloading and vertical drainage.



  • J. Tomlinson in B. R, Foundation Design and Construction, Harlow: Pearson Education, 2001.
  • Budhu, Soil Mechanics and Foundations, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
  • I. Duncan, Soils and Foundations for Architects and Engineers, New York: Springer Science+Business Media, 1998.
  • CEN, EN 1997-1:2004: Eurocode 7: Geotechnical Design – Part 1: General rules, Brussels: European Committee for Standardisation, 2004.
  • CEN, EN 1997-2:2007 Eurocode 7. Geotechnical design. Ground investigation and testing, Brussels: European Committee for Standardisation, 2007.