Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit develops students' knowledge of geotechnical engineering and explores the application of geomechanics principles to the solution of problems related to shallow foundations, slopes, embankments, retaining walls and ground improvement. Students learn how the mechanical characteristics of soils, as inferred from laboratory and in situ tests, can be applied in geotechnical design. Topics include site and soil characterisation, laboratory tests in soils, bearing capacity, earth pressure theory, retaining wall design, road cuttings and embankment design, ground improvement and slope stability.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1OnlineOnline Restricted
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) proficiently write an engineering report on a laboratory experiment; (2) exercise improved interpersonal skills by working in groups; (3) apply soil mechanics principles to the solution of engineering problems related to the stability of foundations, walls and slopes; (4) proficiently interpret geotechnical laboratory and field ground investigation techniques; (5) demonstrate increased awareness of construction practices; (6) discuss accuracy requirements and limitations; and (7) design and specify ground improvement schemes.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class assessments and laboratory reporting; (2) mid-semester test; and (3) a final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Barry Lehane
Unit rules
Enrolment in
62550 Master of Professional Engineering (Civil Engineering specialisation
or Mining Engineering specialisation)
or 62570 Master of Offshore and Coastal Engineering
Advisable prior study
ENSC3009 Geomechanics
or CIVL2009 Principles of Geomechanics (ID 8046)
Contact hours
49 (lectures: 20 hours
seminars: 13 hours
practical classes: 12 hours
labs: 4 hours)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.