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BYG115 Soil Mechanics

Course description for academic year 2023/2024

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

BYG161 Mechanics, ING172 Classical mechanics and thermodynamics

Teaching methods

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

Compulsory learning activities

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

All calculator models.

More about examination support material

Course reductions

  • TOB012 - Geoteknikk - Reduction: 5 studypoints
  • TOB053 - Fundamentering - Reduction: 5 studypoints