Geotechnical Engineering


Research activities include advanced laboratory and field testing to characterize soil behaviour, and related constitutive and numerical modelling. These activities are conducted within a large and diverse geotechnical community: The Vancouver Geotechnical Society is one of the most active in Canada. Much of the research is undertaken in collaboration with government and in university-industry partnerships.

Key Areas

  • Soil property characterization in the state-of-the-art soil mechanics research laboratory
  • Internal erosion of dams
  • Liquefaction of silts
  • Soil-structure and soil-pipeline interaction
  • Theoretical and computational geomechanics
  • Soil dynamics and geotechnical earthquake engineering

Media Highlights

Specialization Requirements

Elective courses (min. credits) 29 17 29
Seminar course CIVL 597-007 CIVL 597-007 CIVL 597-007
Thesis course N/A CIVL 599 CIVL 699

Elective requirements

Electives may be taken from the list of Approved Electives below, or other electives may be taken with the approval of the Specialty Advisor / Supervisor.

Undergraduate students who are interested in Geotechnical Engineering are directed to the following courses:

  • CIVL 410
  • CIVL 411
  • CIVL 413
  • IGEN 450
  • MINE 480
  • EOSC 433

Graduate Courses

Approved Elective CoursesNameCreditsTerm
CIVL 504Seismicity and Seismic Design Parameters22
CIVL 505Seismic Response of Structures3N/A1
CIVL 507Dynamics of Structures I3N/A1
CIVL 518Reliability and Structural Safety31
CIVL 520Construction Planning and Control3N/A1
CIVL 537Computational Mechanics I31
CIVL 570Advanced Soil Mechanics21
CIVL 574Experimental Soil Mechanics32
CIVL 575Constitutive Models for Soil2N/A1
CIVL 579Geosynthetics21
CIVL 580Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering31
CIVL 581Soil Dynamics for Design Practice32
EOSC 529Advanced Geotechnics3N/A1
2EOSC 532Field Laboratory in Groundwater Hydrology32
EOSC 533Advanced Groundwater Hydrology31
2EOSC 534Geological Engineering: Soils and Weak Rocks32
EOSC 535Transport Processes in Porous Media3N/A1
2EOSC 536Advanced Rock Engineering31
EOSC 547Tunneling and Underground Engineering3N/A1
MECH 561Linear Elasticity31
MINE 505Advanced Topics in Rock Engineering31
MINE 590LMined Material Physical Characterization & Behaviour31
Approved Undergraduate ElectivesNameCreditsTerm
CIVL 410Foundation Engineering I31
CIVL 411Foundation Engineering II32
CIVL 413Design of Earth Dams and Containment Structures32
CIVL 417Coastal Engineering32
EOSC 330Principles of Geomorphology31
EOSC 350Env., Geotechnical, and Exploration Geophysics I31
IGEN 450Pipeline Engineering32
MINE 403Rock Mechanics Design31
MINE 480Mine Waste Management 32

1N/A – not offered in 2020/21.

2Credit will only be granted for one of EOSC 428 / 532, one of EOSC 434 / 534, and one of EOSC 433 / 536.


To learn more about Geotechnical Engineering at UBC, please contact Dr. Jonathan Fannin.



Excellent research facilities exist for advanced laboratory experimentation, field testing, and numerical modeling in soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering, including two graduate research laboratories with innovative test equipment and state-of-the-art control and data acquisition systems. Learn more.