BYG115 Soil Mechanics

Course description for academic year 2020/2021

Due to Covid-19, changes may occur in course descriptions for the autumn semester of 2020. Changes in each course will be published on Studentweb or Canvas. When a course description has been changed there, the description on web is no longer valid. Examples of such changes could be accomplishment of practice, course type, or whether letter grades or passed/not passed will be used as grading scales.

Contents and structure

Soil mechanics is the subject that deals with soil properties in civil engineering (the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, 1956). The subject will give an introduction to:

  • Classification of soil materials
  • Stresses and strain in soil
  • Shear strength of soil
  • Lateral earth pressure
  • Primary settlement of soil and calculations
  • Slope stability
  • Bearing capacity of foundations

The course is introduced with an intensive period of lectures, where students learn the terminology and classic methods of soil mechanics.

The students must fulfil a field course, which is followed up by a laboratory exercise.

Learning Outcome


  • The candidate has a basic understanding of what soil is in construction engineering
  • The candidate has a basis for assessing different properties in the soil in the event of tension changes
  • The candidate has knowledge of lateral earth pressure against supporting structures
  • The candidate has knowledge of slope stability and braced cuts
  • The candidate has knowledge of the settlements and bearing capacity of foundations


  • The candidate has a good foundation level for further participating in the planning of geotechnical analysis
  • The candidate can make estimates and calculations for the design of foundations and supporting structures

General qualifications

  • The candidate has established general expertise in soil mechanics and foundation engineering

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge

BYG103 Mechanics

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Mandatory assignments
  • Investigations to current construction and civil engineering Projects
  • Field and laboratory investigations of soils

Course requirements

4 written assignments must be approved to attend the exam.

1 field/lab course with delivered report.

Approved mandatory work requirements are valid for 3 consecutive semesters.


Written exam, 4 hours. The time and place of the exam will be announced on Studentweb.

Grade scale A-F, where F is not passed.

Examination support material

Approved calculator

More about examination support material

Course reductions

  • TOB053 (1) - Engineering Geology - Reduction: 5 studypoints
  • TOB012 (1) - Soil Mechanics - Reduction: 5 studypoints