Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

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

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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 for both onshore and offshore environments and how they impact on 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 engineering. The topics covered in the unit include soil parameter selection, basement design, shallow and deep foundation design, offshore foundation 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 geotechnical design of shallow and deep foundations (onshore and offshore), basements 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; (9) apply sensitivity studies in design; and (10) gain experience of communication of geotechnical issues in a face to face interview.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in class assessment and design assignments; (2) oral examination; 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
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.
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  • 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.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.