ENCN454-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Introduction to Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


Seismic behaviour of retaining walls, shallow and deep foundations, embankments, and slopes. Liquefaction. Case studies, design applications, and advanced methods of analysis.

The Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering course is the second elective course in geotechnical engineering in the undergraduate curriculum for civil and natural resources engineering students. The course extends the skills and knowledge acquired in the preceding geotechnical engineering courses (ENCN253, ENCN353 and ENCN452) to seismic problems.

ENCN454 is an introductory course in geotechnical earthquake engineering that provides essential background and methodologies for engineering assessment and design of structures in seismic regions. The focus of the course is on engineering assessment concepts and their application to seismic evaluation of land, buildings and infrastructure. These include evaluation of site response, retaining structures, foundations, soil-building interaction and stability of slopes under earthquake loads. All topics are discussed through well-documented case histories using field observations on the performance of land, buildings and infrastructure during recent strong earthquakes. The tutorials and computational labs are based on a hands-on approach and use of computational tools that are commonly utilized in the engineering practice. These tools are demonstrated in tutorials and are then used in the homework assignments.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the conclusion of this course you should be able to:

  • Classify and evaluate earthquake sources/loads, and associated geotechnical earthquake hazards.
  •  Explain key concepts in the seismic assessment of engineering structures.
  • Interpret the behaviour of soils and geotechnical structures during earthquakes.
  • Apply simplified design-oriented methods for liquefaction assessment, and seismic analysis and design of retaining walls, embankments, bridges and building foundations.
  • Analyse the response of sites, earth structures and soil-structure systems under earthquake loads.




Timetable 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 08:00 - 10:00 A5 Lecture Theatre
22 Feb - 4 Apr
26 Apr - 6 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 14:00 - 16:00 E14 Lecture Theatre
22 Feb - 4 Apr
26 Apr - 6 Jun

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Misko Cubrinovski


Gabriele Chiaro and Robin Lee


Claudio Cappellaro and Ribu Dhakal (CNRE (PhD student))


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Assignment (x4) 40%
final exam 60%

1. Final exam: A minimum pass mark of 50% in the exam is required in order for a student to pass the course.
2. All assignments must be submitted by the due date. Late submissions will not be accepted. If a student is unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond their control they should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible.
3. Aegrotat eligibility: “Aegrotat provisions are intended to assist students who have covered the work of a course but have been prevented by illness or other critical circumstance from demonstrating their mastery of the material or skills at the time of assessment” [UC Calendar].
4. All assignments should be done individually

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Steven L. Kramer; Geotechnical earthquake engineering; Prentice Hall, 1996.

Electronic files of course materials including lecture notes, assignments and course information will be made available through LEARN. Handouts may be provided during lectures.


Course communication

All communication with the class will be through lectures, Learn and email. Teaching assistants will provide information and feedback on assignments through Learn.

Repeating students

Students repeating this course are required to complete all of the course assessments

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,114.00

International fee $5,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 15 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering.

All ENCN454 Occurrences

  • ENCN454-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021