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 provides students with practical tools necessary for the design of deep and shallow foundations, basements and tunnels. Numerous case history examples are used to illustrate a wide variety of construction procedures and how they impact and shape the geotechnical design process. Particular emphasis is placed on the use of simple design approaches employing appropriate soil parameters. Students are exposed to typical commercial software used in geotechnical design. The topics covered in the unit include soil parameter selection, basement design, footing and raft design, pile and piled raft design, reinforced embankment design and tunnel design.

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

Students are able to (1) utilise improved interpersonal skills for working in groups; (2) proficiently prepare a design report; (3) discuss limitations of current practice and how improvements can be made; (4) explain how research benefits everyday design practice; (5) apply soil mechanics principles to the design of geotechnical engineering structures such as basements, shallow foundations, piled foundations and tunnels; (6) describe how construction-related issues impact geotechnical designs; (7) proficiently use common soil-structure interaction software; (8) discuss accuracy requirements and limitations; and (9) apply sensitivity studies in design.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignments; (2) quizzes; and (3) 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
and CIVL4401 Applied Geomechanics

Enrolment in
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) or an associated Combined Degree
and 120 Points
and CIVL3401 Applied Geomechanics
Contact hours
49 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.