Courses & Units

Foundation Engineering and Design ENG421


This unit builds on the basic concepts and fundamental principles of engineering geology and soil mechanics covered in a prerequisite unit. It gives an introduction to Geotechnical Engineering, and provides the basic concepts and mechanics necessary for geotechnical design. Through this unit, students will develop an understanding of the factors influencing soil strength, and apply this understanding to explore the stability of slopes, retaining walls and foundations. This unit is aimed to investigate the stability of the ground, and the stability of any structures built in or on the ground. An understanding of the factors influencing the ability of the ground to withstand loads of various types is essential for all civil engineers. It emphasizes understanding principles and applying them to practical situations. The aim is to give students the necessary skills to design, construct and supervise geotechnical projects.


Unit name Foundation Engineering and Design
Unit code ENG421
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Engineering
Discipline Engineering

Dr Hong Y Liu

Level Advanced
Available as student elective? No
Breadth Unit? No


This unit is currently unavailable.


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* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2020 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2020 will be available from the 1st October 2019.

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the behaviour of engineering soils under typical loading conditions in terms of total stress, effective stress, stress and strain invariants, and stress history according to poroelastic model, Mohr-Coulomb failure model and critical state model.

2. Design appropriate testing methods to determine the drained and undrained shear strengths of engineering soils in laboratory and field.

3. Evaluate the stability of geostructures against typical failure mechanisms using analytical and numerical methods.

4. Design typical geotechnical structures such as footing, pile, slope and retaining wall including their documentations to ensure their short-term and long-term stabilities using both total and effective stress analysis methods.



Band Field of Education
2 030911

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Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:



Teaching Pattern



Four major assessments:  practicals (10%), quizzes (10%), design projects (50%) and end of semester exam (30%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



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