EARTHSCI 771 : Advanced Engineering Geology


2023 Semester Two (1235) (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 the design, and how to analyze some common engineering geological problems. Lectures, laboratory assignments, and a 1-day field trip 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 assessment includes a 1-day field trip (TBA),  5 x 10% lab assignments, and a 50% report.

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


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Environment Tuākana Programme aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for, and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection), and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.
Māori and Pacific students are encouraged to contact Sonia Fonua ( or Kimoro Taiepa ( for information about the Tuākana programme.

Special Requirements

Attendance on the 1-day field trip (TBA) is needed for the 50% report. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend a total of 150 hours including the lectures, the 1-day trip, the labs, undertaking reading, and completing assessments.

The following time inputs are indicative of what a student may spend on the first half of the semester: 20 hours of lectures (10 x 2-hour lectures); 10 hours of laboratories (5 x 2-hour laboratories); plus a substantial part of the second half of the course will be spent working on the 50% report.

There will be a 1-day field trip in the Auckland region (TBA).

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Lectures, labs, and attendance on a 1-day field trip (TBA) in Auckland. The field trip day forms 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.

Learning 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.

Useful background reading is available in Hencher, S. (2012). Practical Engineering Geology. CRC Press, Boca Raton  and/or Gonzalez de Vallejo L, Ferrer M. (2011). Geological Engineering. CRC Press, Boca Raton.
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.

no changes

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.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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 course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 22/11/2022 10:29 a.m.