EARTHSCI 771 : Advanced Engineering Geology


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Advanced engineering geology focused on engineering practice. Interpretation of in-situ testing and laboratory test data (including groundwater) for the derivation of design parameters for input into numerical modeling software. The topics covered include, but are not limited to, design and analysis of site investigation, advanced core logging, slope stability analysis, rock fall assessment, introduction to numerical modeling, liquefaction and seismic hazard assessment for engineering design.

Course Overview

This course introduces practical aspects of Engineering Geology as related to professional Engineering Geological Practice. The focus will be on the design and interpretation of ground investigations, the selection of appropriate parameters to be used in design and how to analyse some common engineering geological problems. Local field excursions and laboratory assignments will provide the opportunity to apply engineering geological techniques and analytical approaches. Students will develop their literature review, critical reading and writing skills. 
The course includes 5 x 1 day field trips 22-26 February 2021. These are local excursions in the Auckland region. During these day trips, data is collected that is then analysed during 2 hour labs in weeks 1-5 of the semester. Assessment include 5 x 10% lab assignments and a 50% report based on the field day trips.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

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
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate how key geological principles can be applied to engineering practice (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Critically evaluate geological data from the field and laboratory and recognize their geotechnical importance (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Demonstrate an enhanced understanding of the inter-relationships between geological processes and the behaviour of the ground (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  4. Develop a ground investigation plan based on an in-depth knowledge of geological and engineering constraints derived from a critical evaluation of desk study data and the scientific literature; (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Apply an understanding of geological principles to assist engineers in the design of structures (Capability 1, 3, 4 and 6)
  6. Analyse the safety of slopes and excavations, and outline suitable measures to mitigate problems and ensure safety under in service conditions (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  7. Demonstrate an ability to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to problem solving associated with the discipline
  8. Work autonomously within a structured environment (Capability 4, 5 and 6)
  9. Demonstrate the ability to work within professional boundaries and norms where appropriate. (Capability 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 50% Individual Coursework
Report 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Special Requirements

The 5 x 1 day fieldtrips in Auckland 22-26 February are compulsory.  Contact the course coordinator if you cannot make  some of these days.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend a total of 150 hours including the day trips, the labs, undertaking, reading and completing assessments.

There are 5 x 1 day field trips in Auckland in 22-26 February, and then 5 x 2 hour labs in weeks 1-5.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including 5 x 1 day field days 22-26 February 2020 in Auckland. These site visits form the basis of a 50% report due at the end of Semester 1.

The rest of the course includes 5 x 2 hour lab practicals, each worth 10% toward the final grade, in weeks 1 to 5.

Learning Resources

Useful background reading is available in: Hencher, S. (2012). Practical Engineering Geology, CRC Press, Boca Raton. 467pp.
However, all required readings are journal articles and conference proceedings, which will be provided online via a link in Canvas.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: [Lectures, labs, tutorials, office hours, field trips, etc.]
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

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 07/06/2021 11:42 p.m.