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Syllabus for

Academic year
ACE045 - Geological and geotechnical site characterisation  
Geologisk och geoteknisk karakterisering
Syllabus adopted 2018-02-22 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPIEE
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 27120
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: B
Maximum participants: 80

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0118 Examination 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c   26 Oct 2019 am L,  07 Jan 2020 am M   20 Aug 2020 pm J

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Jelke Dijkstra

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In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

Recommended courses: BOM200 Engineering Geology and BOM355 Geotechnics, or equivalent knowledge in basics on geology, soil mechanics and groundwater flow.


The aim of this course is to give an introduction to various geological, hydrogeological and geotechnical site characterisation techniques and methods that not only enable the creation of a conceptual geo-model as a basis for infrastructure design, but also enable consideration of various alternatives. It is aimed for that after the course the students will be able to design a suitable site investigation as relevant for different stages of design (e.g. preliminary design, road/railway plan, detailed design) and in parallel, they will be able to interpret the results of such investigations as a basis for subsequent geotechnical and/or rock engineering design.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

● Knowledge
○ Describe the principles of geological genesis with a focus on the Swedish environment
○ Describe the particulars of various geo-materials
○ Describe the principles, benefits and limitations of different site investigation methods and laboratory test types
● Comprehension
○ Distinguish between different features of basic geological processes
○ Understand the interdependence of engineering design and design of site characterisation, depending on the composition of the shallow subsurface.
● Application & Analysis
○ Design, execute and interpret of field and laboratory tests for a wide range of geo-materials (soft-soils to crystalline rock mass)
○ Evaluate several techniques used in the desk study phase (geological maps lineage etc).
● Synthesis:
○ Integrate knowledge on large scale geological and hydrogeological processes, as well as future engineering needs, in the design of a site specific (hydro-)mechanical investigation for engineering properties.
○ Demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of the geological and geotechnical site characterisation techniques, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used, including both ethical and economic aspects and also environmental and safety considerations.
○ Demonstrate the ability in speech and writing clearly report and discuss his or her conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which they are based in dialogue with different audiences within the field of geological, hydrogeological and geotechnical site characterisation techniques.


● Introduce a framework for conceptual modelling and site characterisation in engineering practice.
● Early investigations based on geological maps and geological history, with focus on geological processes.
● Geotechnical site investigation techniques (principle, interpretation, applicability and limitations) for materials ranging from soft soils to hard rock.
● Geotechnical sampling and laboratory testing (principle, interpretation, applicability and limitations).
● Geophysical methods (principle, interpretation, applicability and limitations) .
● Hydrogeological site investigations (principle, interpretation, applicability and limitations).

● Insight into the possibilities and limitations of the geological and geotechnical site characterisation techniques, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used, including both ethical and economic aspects and, also, sustainability considerations.


As a Master's level course, the course relies on an active participation by the students. Lectures are supported by compulsory project work reflecting a realistic case performed in groups of students. 


Lecture slides/notes, selected keynote articles and book Chapters will be provided in digital format on the course home page.

Examination including compulsory elements

Written examination and compulsory project work. A well executed project work can give bonus points to the exam, but only for the main exam.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.