General information

The additional information for the master's program "Subsurface Engineering" can be found directly here.

Compulsory courses

Computational methods I : Soil behaviour and Simple constitutive models for soils

125801 | SE-C-2 | 1st semester (WS) | M. Sc. | 2hrs /week | 9 CP | Moodle course

  • Introduces the conventional and advanced laboratory testing methods and addresses expected soil behaviour under monotonic and cyclic loading conditions from numerical modeling perspectives.
  • Fundamentals of standard elastoplasticity applied to geotechnical materials in accordance to failure criteria will be introduced.
  • Additionally, it discusses the fundamentals, advantages and limitations of widely used simple constitutive models for soils such as:
    • Linear Elastic (LE) model,
    • Mohr-Coulomb (MC) model,
    • Hardening soil (HS) model, etc.


Compulsory optional courses

Design of Geotechnical Structures

125812 | 125813  | SE-CO-6 | 3rd semester (WS) | M. Sc. | 4hrs /week | 6 CP | Moodle course

  • Shallow and Deep foundations:
    • Shallow foundations
    • Mat foundations
    • Pile foundations under vertical and horizontal loading
    • Pile groups
    • Drilled-shaft (caisson) foundations
  • Excavation pits, Retaining structures, and Soil improvement:
    • Introduces possible failure mechanisms of retaining systems, soil slopes as well as excavation pits and soil dikes. 
    • Gives a general overview of different types of retaining structures (e.g. flexible and rigid) with active and passive facings
    • Discusses different calculation methods to determine the safety factor of the slopes, excavation pits, and retaining structures against failure
    • Explains a multitude of supporting techniques (e.g. back anchoring, nailing, etc.) with their corresponding design methods with special attention to the interactions between the soil and supporting structure
    • Covers the seismic design of excavation pits and retaining structures
    • Introduces different methods of soil improvement
    • Gives an intensive overview of geosynthetic soil-reinforced geostructures
    • Discusses the deep soil improvement techniques (deep mixing, stone column, Geosynthetic Encased Columns-GEC)
    • Discusses the methods of design of geosynthetic reinforced soil systems based on German design guidelines for reinforced soil structures (EBGEO)
    • Introduces retaining structures back anchored with geosynthetic reinforcement

Problematic soils and Soil dynamics

125814 | 125815  | 125816  | SE-CO-7 | 3rd semester (WS) | M. Sc. | 4hrs /week | 6 CP | Moodle course

  • Problematic soils:
    • Soft plastic and organic soils
    • Swelling and shrinkage behaviour
    • Collapsible soils 
    • Physico-chemical effects
    • Structure and fabric, compacted soils
    • Unsaturated soils 
    • Experimental methods for investigations on these soils and phenomena
  • Soil dynamics:
    • Fundamentals of vibration theory 
    • Wave propagation in elastic isotropic half-space 
    • Laboratory tests on dynamic characteristics of soils 
    • Methods to estimate dynamic characteristics of soils 
    • Dynamic field measurement methods 
    • Design of dynamically loaded foundations 
    • Soil-structure interaction under dynamic loading 
    • High cyclic loading of soils (practical problem: offshore wind turbines)
    • Laboratory exercise (Resonant column experiment, Bender elements)
  • Geotechnical earthquake engineering:
    • Causes of soil liquefaction under seismic loading; methods to estimate the liquefaction risk; countermeasures
    • Design of slopes against seismic loading 
    • Design of retaining structures against seismic loading 
    • Ground response analysis

Optional courses

Practical Soil Mechanics

SE-O-4 | 3rd semester (WS) | M. Sc. | 2hrs /week | 3 CP | Moodle course

  • Soil classification tests (water content, grain size distribution, Atterberg limits (plasticity properties), maximum and minimum density, particle density), 
  • Determination of shear strength parameters (direct shear test, triaxial test), 
  • Determination of compressibility of soils (oedometer test)

Environmental Geotechnics

126701 | SE-O-5 | 2nd semester (SS) | M. Sc. | 2hrs /week | 3 CP | Moodle course

  • Relevant environmental pollutants and their respective industrial sectors
  • Advective and diffusive transport of pollutants in porous media
  • Methods for soil remediation and containment of pollutants
  • Barrier systems for landfills and low-contaminated soils
  • Individual project work dealing with specific questions of environmental geotechnics
  • Future challenges of environmental geotechnics

Environmental Geotechnics

SE-O-6 | 3rd semester (WS) | M. Sc. | 2hrs /week | 3 CP | Moodle course

  • Terminology and basics of geostatistics 
  • Spatial interpolation methods (deterministic and geostatistical methods) 
  • Mathematical techniques for modelling spatial variability (random field theory) 
  • Stochastic and deterministic processes to optimize monitoring design 
  • Possible applications and limits of geostatistical software