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The University of Southampton

CENV6122 Advanced Foundation Engineering

Module Overview

This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of geotechnical analysis for foundations and anchoring systems, and will also develop your competence at numerical modelling and the geotechnical design process. It covers the design process from site investigation to construction, and introduces analysis methods related to both the ultimate limit state and the serviceability limit state. A major coursework element introduces you to industry state-of-the-art finite element software, and you will use this software for a practical design exercise. The module is titled ‘advanced’ as it builds on your knowledge from CENV2006 and CENV3020 related to foundations.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Know the soil mechanics concepts related to foundation design • Know the different types of foundation and anchoring systems used in civil engineering • Understand how to interpret design soil properties from a range of site investigation data • Understand how to analyse foundations at the ultimate and serviceability limit states • Know how to devise a numerical model of a geotechnical system • Develop competence using typical geotechnical finite element software • Develop and interpret results from a geotechnical numerical model

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Foundation and anchoring design challenges in civil engineering
  • Soil behaviour relevant to foundation and anchoring systems
  • Techniques used to investigate and characterise the ground for design
  • Technologies used to install or construct foundation and anchoring systems
  • Numerical and constitutive modelling methods used in geotechnical design
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Interpretation methods for site investigation data from in situ and laboratory tests to determine design parameters
  • Analysis methods for shallow and deep foundations, and anchoring systems, at the ultimate and serviceability limit states
  • Knowledge of field testing and monitoring methods, and their interpretation
  • Techniques for devising and interpreting a numerical model to address a geotechnical design issue
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Effective communication through written reports
  • Creativity and innovation in engineering design
  • Application of critical analysis to engineering data
  • Solving problems via idealisation and analysis
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assemble, critique and interpret site investigation data
  • Develop analyses of foundation capacity and response, and optimise designs
  • Devise and build numerical models of geotechnical systems using industry-standard finite element software
  • Review and interpret published work including field data and analysis techniques


• Geotechnical design overview including use of design codes • Soil mechanics: key concepts, revision and extension • Site investigation techniques: in situ and laboratory testing, soil parameter determination • Shallow foundations: types and technologies, ultimate capacity and serviceability response • Deep (piled) foundations: types and technologies, ultimate capacity and serviceability response • Anchoring systems: types and technologies, ultimate capacity • Field monitoring techniques and interpretation of field data • Numerical and constitutive modelling of soils • Finite element software: principles and practical use

Special Features

• Workshop sessions involving industry experts. • Coursework and tutorials using industry-standard geotechnical finite element software

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Lectures, supported by example problems • Workshop with industry involvement • Design-based coursework with tutorials • Private Study

Independent Study123
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Randolph, M.F. and Gourvenec, S. (2011) (2011). Offshore geotechnical engineering.. 

Powrie, W (2013) (2013). Soil mechanics: concepts and applications (3rd Edition). 

Tomlinson, M J (2001). (2001). Foundation design and construction. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 50%
Examination  (120 minutes) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 50%
Examination  (120 minutes) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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