Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Geotechnical Site Investigation
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 4 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 4 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment S1 Desk study for site investigation area  written technical report  1000 words  35%
Semester Assessment S2 Walk-over and geophysical report  written technical report  2000 words  50%
Semester Assessment 10-minute oral presentation  Assessed small group (3 or 4 students) oral presentation  15%
Supplementary Assessment S1 Desk study for site investigation area  written technical report  1000 words  35%
Supplementary Assessment S2 Walk-over and geophysical report  written technical report  2000 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Written Report  written report outlining presentation  500 words  15%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Plan and conduct a Desk Study and produce a standardised report on this according to EN/BS 5930.

Plan and conduct a Stage 2 site investigation (EN/BS 5930) of a defined field area and produce a safety assessment for the selected site.

Produce a report on the Stage 2 site investigation to industry standard.

Conduct and interpret geophysical surveys of a selected area and produce graphical information which is georeferenced.

Evaluate case studies to dicern 'best practice'

Brief description

This module is a two-semester core module for the EES degree scheme. It will use a range of different teaching and learning techniques to train students in standard methods of approaching geotechnical surveys.

The course will start with a short series of introductory lectures which will cover the requirements of BS 5930:2015 Code of practice for site investigations (the industry-standard). The students will then follow a series of self-taught workbook exercises to develop a full understanding of the stages used in standard site investigation work. The students will present a series of seminars (4 x 2 hour) with small groups being given specific tasks to investigate and report to the module as a whole. Each seminar group will help to build and in-course on-line 'textbook' which will cover all aspects of the standard methods of site investigation and the correct use of soil classification as applied by geotechnical practioners.

Safety in the field will be a key feature of this module. Students will undertake a full risk assessment for field activities and produce standardised reports/assessments of risks before embarking on field exercises.

there will be two half-day field exercises in the local area. These will intorduce the use of equipment from the DGES pool such as GPS, proton magentometer and GPR. The exercises are designed to show the capacity of the different geophysical techniques in site investigation work. Field data will be processed and interpreted through a series of five laboratory practical classes. The field exercises will be written up as an assessed technical report.


The module begins with four hours of lectures which will cover the scope and application of BS 5930, the industry standard for site investigation work. The aim of the lectures is to introduce the subject matter but not to cover the material in great detail since the students themselves will do this through the directed workbook process and seminar series.

The module will have a strong field and laboratory practical components which will cover field surveying techniques, data collection, manipulation and interpretation. These exercises will use proton magenetometer survey equipment, GPS and ground penetrating radar to address 'real-life' geotechnical problems at specific field sites.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Geophysical techniques produce quantitative data which needs to be manipulated and interpreted. This requires the use of number.
Communication There are seminar exercises as well as oral and written skills that are assessed in this module.
Improving own Learning and Performance Workbooks will direct the student learning but the emphasis will be upon the students to monitor their performance and motiveate them to improving their own learning through self-assessment.
Information Technology Using GIS software to produce maps based on survey data and using proprietary software to acquire and export data from field-based geophysical equipment.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to train students in specific career skills. We will aim to have at least one external visitor from an employer of EES graduates to run one of the seminars in this module.
Problem solving This module includes a wide range of problem solving exercises. It will require students to solve 'real life' problems using local exemplars.
Research skills Students will be required to research the 'standard' methods for site investigation and produce written reports to industry standard guidelines.
Subject Specific Skills There is a shortage of skilled professionals in the geotechnical sector. This module will deliver subject specific skills which aim to make our graduates employable in the field of geotechnical site investigation.
Team work The entire module will be based around team exercises. Students will move between groups to ensure a spread of workload in to increase their experience of working in different groups.


This module is at CQFW Level 6