EARTHSCI 372 : Engineering Geology


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An integration of quantitative and qualitative concepts in geology as applied to engineering projects. Fundamentals of soil and rock mechanics will be introduced. Topics covered in the course include landslides, dewatering schemes, contaminant transport, foundations, mines (open-pit and underground), dams, tunnels, urban geology, and transportation infrastructures. Case studies are used in lectures to demonstrate the importance of geology and water to engineering projects. Fieldwork is required.

Course Overview

This course integrates quantitative and qualitative concepts in geology as applied to engineering projects. Basics of soil and rock mechanics, hydrology, and hydrogeology will be introduced. Case histories will be used as examples throughout the lectures and to demonstrate the importance and applications of geology to engineering projects. This course is good preparation for postgraduate study in engineering geology. The skills developed in this course are particularly useful for those wishing to embark on a career involving engineering geology, geotechnical engineering, civil infrastructure, and mining. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: CIVIL 220 or EARTHSCI 201 or 220 or GEOLOGY 201, and 30 points from EARTHSCI 201-263, GEOG 260-263, GEOLOGY 202-205 Restriction: CIVIL 726, GEOLOGY 372

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Evaluate and classify the engineering geological properties of rock, soil and defects. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Understand and critically evaluate the geotechnical properties and engineering significance of rock masses and soil masses. (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Compare and contrast the design requirements of dams, canals, tunnels, large underground openings, large buildings and viaducts so as to be able to assess the engineering geological requirements of these engineering structures. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Demonstrate skills in the procedures of geotechnical data extraction and analysis from outcrops, drillhole cores, aerial photographs, maps and literature. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Apply ability and knowledge to make useful engineering geological maps and logs for a variety of rock and soil masses. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  6. Critically appraise, critique, compare and contrast engineering geological models.
  7. Be able to read the ground – i.e. be able to interpret geomorphology in a way that contributes to geotechnical engineering and environmental assessment.
  8. Describe and discuss the sources of uncertainties in the engineering geology models and the concepts of representative volumes and scale effects. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 50% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Final Exam

Learning Resources

Gonzalez de Vallejo, L., and Ferrer, M. 2011. Geological Engineering. CRC Press
[available online via the UoA library]
Readings will also be provided electronically.
Students are strongly encouraged to consult relevant journals such as Engineering Geology, Quarterly Journal of Engineering geology & Hydrology, Landslides, as appropriate.

Special Requirements

Students must complete practical work and adhere to any laboratory safety guidelines provided.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 34 hours of lectures, 16 hours of laboratories, and a combined 100 hours of work based on reading, writing up the laboratory assignments, and exam preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 27/07/2020 11:22 a.m.