MSc Courses in


Soil Mechanics,

Soil Mechanics & Engineering Seismology

and Soil Mechanics & Environmental Geotechnics


Our advanced course in Soil Mechanics started running in 1950, the first in the UK. Since then it has remained the `flagship' course, producing well over 1,000 graduates and about half of the UK's qualified geotechnical experts. The `Engineering Seismology' course started in 1968 and `Environmental Geotechnics' was added in 1992 and these three courses evolve continuously.

The courses offer a unique spread of post-graduate geotechnical education. A total of 19 College staff provide teaching, with additional topics being covered by leading experts from Industry. Integration with parallel courses in Rock Mechanics, Environmental Engineering, Hydrology, Engineering Geology and Earthquake Engineering offers access to the latest thinking and research findings in these areas, as well as to our strong Soil Mechanics research group.

Field courses are undertaken in Cheddar, Kent and in Southern Europe (Portugal will be our destination in May 1999).

Each of the MSc courses may be taken full time in one year or part time over two years. We are looking for candidates with a good degree in a relevant subject area, ideally combined with industrial experience. United Kingdom research council (EPSRC) advanced course studentships and industrially funded bursaries are available for suitable candidates.

A full prospectus of Postgraduate Study in Civil Engineering can be obtained from the Admissions Office, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, LONDON SW7 2AZ, or by telephoning 0171 594 8001 or by facsimile on 0171 594 8004. Applications must be made on Form PG1.

Enquiries to the Soil Mechanics Section can be made on 0171 594 6077 (Miss Sue Feller, Course Administrator) or 0171 594 6083 (Prof Richard Jardine, Course Director) or by facsimile on 1071 225 2716.


This is a summary of the structure and content of the individual courses taught for the three MSc degrees. The members of staff giving the various elements of the courses are included.

The course numbering system is such that the Soil Mechanics students pursue courses SM, the Soil Mechanics & Engineering Seismology courses ES, and Soil Mechanics & Environmental Geotechnics courses EG. Any student will have the opportunity during their time at Imperial College to attend lectures in courses which they will not be formally examined in.




In geotechnical engineering we are dealing with a highly complex range of materials. Unlike most other construction materials, the geotechnical engineer has to make do with what nature has provided. Because of their particulate nature and the wide ranges of particle sizes, shapes, grading and packing arrangements, the development of mathematical models to describe and predict the behaviour of soils is a difficult and challenging task. Developing an understanding of the mechanical properties of soils forms an important part of geotechnical engineering.

The aim of this course is to explore, in some detail, the mechanical properties of soils and to develop appropriate mathematical models to describe and predict the engineering behaviour of the ground. By the end of the course you will be familiar with modern approaches to determining the strength and stiffness of soils and the application of these properties in practice.

Main course

Professor J B Burland


1. The concept of effective stress.

2. Concepts of stress and strain, stress paths and earth pressure at rest.

3. Shear strength and failure criteria.

4. Drained strength of sands and clays, peak, post-rupture and residual strength, the Critical State Concept, the work of Hvorslev.

5. Ideal porous elastic materials.

6. Compressibility of natural clays.

7. The Critical State framework and the work of Rendulic.

8. Elastic-plastic volume change of clays.

9. Undrained strength.

10. The stress-strain behaviour of clays.

Soil behaviour at small strains

Prof R J Jardine

A set of six lectures, supported by a tutorial session, is presented on the theme of soil behaviour at small strains. The topics covered include: characterising shear and volumetric stiffness characteristics; influential factors; kinematic nature of small strain stiffness; modelling behaviour; significance of small-strain non-linearity in foundation engineering; case histories.


The course is self contained with full notes, but students are referred to the following basic texts:

Atkinson and Bransby, The Mechanics of Soils, McGraw-Hill (out of print but copies in Library).

Atkinson, An Introduction to the Mechanics of Soils and Foundations, McGraw-Hill.

Lamb and Whitman, Soil Mechanics, Wiley.

Muir Wood, Soil Behaviour and Critical State Soil Mechanics, Cambridge.

Other books and papers which have some relevance will be mentioned in the lecture courses.




Dr T I Addenbrooke


These courses are concerned with the flow of water in incompressible and compressible soil strata. Particular attention is given to the formulation of the governing equations, boundary conditions and to their use in the solution of engineering problems.

The course should enable the student to formulate, in a realistic way, the solutions to real engineering problems; either by direct analytical or numerical methods.


This course covers a review of the fundamental parameters, their variability, and their dependency on changes in effective stress '.

The governing equations are derived for soils which are either isotropic or anisotropic with respect to permeability. Boundary conditions, relevant to the use of the theory to engineering problems, are also studied and various methods of solution are explored, giving examples of their use in practical cases.

Consolidation and swelling of soils

Review of the governing parameters, their variation with respect to effective stress ' and time. The course moves on to examine the formulation of the governing equations, boundary conditions and the solution of engineering problems.


Lamb and Whitman. Soil Mechanics. (Wiley)

Cedergren H R. Seepage, Drainage and Flow Nets. (Wiley)

Marshall T J, and Holmes J W. Soil physics. (Cambridge University Press)

Harr M E. Groundwater and Seepage. (McGraw-Hill)

Other books and papers which have some relevance will be mentioned in the lecture courses.



Prof R J Chandler

The course is designed to provide a detailed background to slope stability studies. It includes discussion of the classification of mass movement and landslide types, a thorough review of limit equilibrium methods of stability analysis, and detailed discussions of current ideas of the conditions leading to the failure of soil slopes. Methods of investigating existing slopes and landslides, and of the main methods of slope design and stabilisation are reviewed.

The course comprises about 30 contact hours of lectures and tutorials during the Spring Term. The lectures are grouped as follows:

Lecture group 1

Classification of 'Mass Movement'. Landslide classification: geomorphological classification by liquidity index of sliding soil, geometry and/or morphology; geotechnical classification by degree of 'drainage', and as 'first-time' or reactivated movement.

Lecture group 2

General methods of stability analysis. Simplified and rigorous limit equilibrium analysis of planar, circular and non-circular movements.

Lecture group 3

Case studies. 'First-time' landslides and theories of landslide generation: 'softening' and progressive failure. Factors to be considered for design: rate effects, anisotropy, sample-size, etc. Landslide reactivation and residual strength.

Lecture group 4

Slope and landslide investigation and instrumentation. Location of shear surfaces; movement observations. Slope stabilisation methods: ground profile modification, drainage, retaining structures, other methods.


There are no particular recommended texts, but extensive Course Notes are provided on each of the four lecture groups.



The course draws extensively on the material covered in the first term particularly on the strength and deformation of soils. The objectives of the course are to provide a refresher on the fundamentals of foundation analysis, in particular bearing capacity theory, and then to introduce students to the most recent developments in foundation analysis and design. At the end of the course an introduction is given to the important topic of foundation/structure interaction.

Main course

Professor J B Burland

23 lectures and 6 tutorials

Behaviour of design and foundations

Bearing Capacity

Pile foundations

Types of Piles and Defects

Piles in Clay

Negative Friction

Bored Piles

Pile Groups

Piles in Sand

Lateral Loading of Piles

Pile Testing Procedure


Elastic Stresses Beneath Loaded Areas

Elastic Displacement Theory

Methods of Settlement Prediction on Clays

Accuracy of 1xD Settlement Predictions for Stiff 'Elastic' Materials

Accuracy of 1xD Settlement Predictions on Soft Normally Consolidated Materials

Settlement on Sand and Granular Materials

Serviceability and Damage

Soil/Structure Interaction

Embankments on soft clay

Prof R J Jardine

A set of six lectures, supported by a tutorial session, is presented on soft clay foundation engineering. The principal focus of the course is on embankments, but much of the material is also relevant to cuttings, tunnels and other foundation problems. The topics covered include: genesis of soft clays; mechanical properties and permeability; pore pressure and ground deformation response to loading; aspects of consolidation; vertical drains; single stage and multi-stage stability; field monitoring and case histories.


Craig, R F, Soil Mechanics, 5th ed, Van Nostrand, Reinhold (UK)

Tomlinson, M, Foundation Design and Construction, 6th ed, Longman Scientific and Technical

Whitaker, T The Design of Piled Foundations, Pergamon Press

Fleming, W G K et al, Piling Engineering, 2nd ed, Surrey University Press.




Prof D M Potts


This course is split into two parts:

Geotechnical Analysis:

11 lectures

5 tutorials

Earth Retaining Structures:

11 lectures

5 tutorials

Geotechnical analysis

This course covers general design requirements, fundamental theoretical considerations and discussion of the various methods of analysis currently used in geotechnical engineering. Examples of the use of the different methods of analysis as applied to slopes, foundations and earth pressure problems will be presented.

The outline syllabus (and the approximate number of lectures) is as follows:

General requirements and theoretical considerations (2), Closed form solutions (1), Limit Equilibrium methods (2), Stress fields (1), Limit Analysis (3), Numerical Analysis (2).


Earth retaining structures

This course considers the different types of earth retaining structures. It covers design requirements, the mobilisation of earth pressures, gravity retaining walls, embedded cantilever walls, single and multi-propped embedded cantilever walls.

The outline syllabus (and the approximate number of lectures) is as follows:

Classification of earth retaining structures and their design requirements (1), Mobilisation of earth pressure (4), Gravity walls (1), Embedded cantilever walls (1), Single propped embedded cantilever walls (2), Multi-propped walls (2).



Prof P R Vaughan

About 18 hours of lectures and contact time in the Spring Term.

The course deals with the principles of soil mechanics as applied to earthworks and embankments, including water-retaining embankments. Topics dealt with are the pore pressures generated in fills during construction, in long-term operation and in reservoir opertion, and the boundary conditions which give rise to them; the properties of all types of fill materials, and the influence of construction techniques on these properties; the effect of weather conditions on fill placing; materials which cause problems in earth-moving; and the design of filters and drains.


None. Full course notes will be given.



Prof R J Jardine

Prof D W Hight

Dr A M Ridley

The course describes the techniques used to characterise soil properties and quantify the mechanical behaviour of soils.

Approximately 20 hours of lectures are given, 5 further hours are allocated for tutorial sessions. The lectures are given by:

In addition, half-day practical laboratory sessions are undertaken. Five such sessions cover soil testing, while three others involve rock mechanics experiments. A colloquium is held early in January in which the students present summaries of their practical soil mechanics work.


Designing a phased Site Investigation (SI); information sources; practical soil description; contaminated sites.

Laboratory methods: role and scope of lab tests; fundamentals of stress-strain and strength measurements; minimising errors for forces, stresses, pore pressures and strains; transducers and control systems; practical applications.

Field instrumentation; piezometers; settlement gauges; extensometers; inclinometers etc; measurements of in-situ stresses and permeabilities; suction measurements and air entry.

Drilling and sampling; in-situ testing and interpretation: SPT; vane; cone; pressuremeter. Measurement of soil suction.

Effects of sampling on soil properties; use of advanced techniques in an integrated SI (case history).



Dr J Harrison (Geology Dept)


Engineering Rock Mechanics is the study of rock mechanics and rock engineering and is concerned with all structures that are built on or in rock. This includes structures formed from the rock itself, such as slopes and caverns, as well as engineering structures such as dams and foundations.

The course is broadly divided into two sections, the first of which, Rock Mechanics Principles, is taught in the Autumn Term (10 x 2 hour sessions) and the second, Rock Engineering Applications, is taught in the Spring Term (9 x 2 hour sessions). You are strongly advised to follow the tutorial course closely (time and location: to be arranged). Soil Mechanics MSc students are assessed through examination. For Soil Mechanics and Engineering Seismology MSc students and Soil Mechanics and Environmental Geotechnics MSc students, the course is not examinable.

The primary aim of the course is to provide the student with a knowledge of the facts and the principles relevant to rock mechanics and a training in experimental, investigative and design techniques, so that with practical experience gained subsequently within industry, she or he can become equipped to carry out professional duties on rock engineering projects. The design of structures on or in rock, and their support, requires a deep understanding of the physical properties of rock, of the forces which have to be contended with, and of what can be achieved from a rock mechanics investigation. The course is designed to guide the student towards the point of understanding in engineering rock mechanics through a balance of lecture material (to cover the facts and principles), tutorial exercises (to build up confidence in applying the principles) and laboratory investigation (to develop understanding of rock as an engineering material).

Rock Mechanics principles

Stress and analysis; In-situ rock stress; Strain; Intact rock deformability; strength and failure; Discontinuity characterisation; Hemispherical projection methods; Rock mass deformability; strength and failure; Rock mass properties; Rock mass classification.

Rock engineering applications

Blasting and mechanised excavation; Rock foundations; Rock slope stability; Design of surface excavations; Design of underground excavations in discontinuous rock; Design of underground excavation and extraction methods; Highly stressed environments; rockbursts.




The Engineering Course comprises four main elements; Ground Profiles, Ground Investigation, Engineering Geology of Soils and Engineering Geology of Rocks. Further details are given below.

Dr M H de Freitas (Engineering Geology, Department of Civil Engineering)

Prof J B Burland

This course explains, by example, the reasons why a correct description of the profile of strata on site is crucial for safe and economic ground engineering.

6 hours of lectures supported by field works later in the term when the principles of soil description will be practised. The course forms the first part of a larger course, entitled Ground Investigation, in which the geological factors that can influence the design of a ground investigation are considered.


The difficulties created by geology

Investigation of profiles

The origin of profiles

Significance of profiles and engineering description of soils



Dr S K Sarma (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

Dr J J Bommer (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

This course is intended to provide a brief overview of the fundamentals of engineering seismology and soil dynamics for geotechnical engineers not specializing in these fields. The objective of the course is to familiarise the student with the basic elements of earthquake processes and observational seismology, the recording and prediction of earthquake strong-motion and the behaviour of the ground and of earth structures during earthquakes.

12 lectures and 4 tutorials (an approximate breakdown of the lectures is given below).


Principles of seismology. Crustal deformations, faulting, energy release, seismic waves, seismicity, seismic hazard.

Vibrational characteristics of the ground during earthquakes. Effect on ground movements of superficial geology. Strong ground-motion spectra.

Engineering applications of vibration theory and of strong-motion spectra for the evaluation of inertia forces (seismic coefficient) on engineering structures. Foundation compliance.

Principles of design and stability analysis of earth dams and foundations under seismic loads. Hydrodynamic thrust on water-retaining structures.

Basic concepts of codes for earthquake-resistant design.




Dr M H de Freitas (Engineering Geology, Department of Civil Engineering)

A course of 12 hours which presents a rationale for the design of ground investigations. It is based upon the need to create a conceptual model of the ground and its response to natural and engineered change. Three quarters of the course concentrate on describing the geological processes that have to be appreciated for a conceptual model of site geology to be constructed: the remainder describes the types of data that have to be used (qualitative and quantitative) and how they may be employed to assist engineering design. The course is supported by a field trip to Kent.


Definition of the ground on site and relevant processes; the design of investigation and the special role of the Quaternary.

Use of geotechnical mapping and field techniques.

Recording and interpretation of geological data and case histories.

Types of data, their management and use in design.




This course describes the geological characteristics of soils and soil masses, and explains their influence upon the engineering behaviour of these materials.

21 hours of lectures in seven 3-hour blocks. The lecture course starts by setting out the characteristics common to all soils and soil masses, and continues by dealing with each of the main environments of soil development.


Importance of soil to practical engineering.

Soil materials.

Soil weathering.

Temperate and Tropical - inland colluvial environments.

Temperate - inland alluvial environments.

Temperate - coastal environments.

Hot humid (tropical) environments.

Hot arid environments.

Glacial environments.

Tundra and periglacial environments.

Introduction to marine engineering geology.

Marine ground investigation I - Drilling and sampling.

Marine ground investigation II - Cone penetration testing.

Marine ground investigation III - Geophysics.

Deltaic environments.

Continental shelf environments, including cyclic loading.



This course describes the geological characters of rocks and rock masses, and explains their influence upon the engineering behaviour of these materials.

18 hours of lectures, supported by a field trip to the Bristol area later in the Term, which starts by setting out the characters common to all rocks and rock masses, and continues by dealing with each of the main categories of rocks.


Character of rock, rockhead, description of rock masses, hills and valleys, case histories.

Igneous rocks (intrusive and extrusive) limestones, sandstones, mudrocks (siliclastic and non-siliclastic) and metamorphic rocks.

Rock over the last 100,000 years and case histories.




Dr S K Sarma (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

Prof N N Ambraseys (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

Dr J J Bommer (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

This course introduces the student to the basic concepts of seismology and the interpretation of seismological data for seismic hazard analysis. The main focus of the lectures is the determination of ground motion parameters for engineering design. The course includes, in parallel with the main lectures, the presentation of findings from field studies of several destructive earthquakes around the world.

30 lectures and 10 tutorials (an approximate break down of the lectures is given below. The course also includes a half-day visit to the International Seismological Centre.


Introduction. Earth structure and plate tectonics, strain accumulation, elastic rebound and faulting. Ground rupture, tsunamis.

Energy release and seismic waves.

Physical parameters of the earthquake source: hypocentre, magnitude, seismic moment and fault plane solution.

Geological and seismological input for seismicity evaluation and magnitude-frequency relations.

Intensity and characterisation of earthquake strong-motion.

Strong-motion attenuation relations.

Seismic hazard analysis and estimation of design ground motions.

Earthquake case histories.



K E Bullen & B A Bolt (1985) An introduction to the theory of seismology. Fourth edition, Cambridge University Press.

L Reiter (1990) Earthquake hazard analysis: issues and insights. Columbia University Press.

C F Richter (1958) Elementary seismology. W H Freeman.

C H Scholz (1990) The mechanics of earthquakes and faulting. Cambridge University Press.



Dr S K Sarma (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

Prof N N Ambraseys (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

Dr J J Bommer (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

This course introduces the student to the fundamentals of soil dynamics, including the behaviour of soils under seismic loading both as a material and as a medium. Important topis covered include the influence of superficial geology on strong-motion and methods for the evaluation of the liquefaction potential of a site. A major part of the course is dedicated to the dynamic analysis of slopes and embankments subjected to earthquake loading with particular application to the design of earth and rockfill dams. The course ends with a brief review of the basic concepts of codes for earthquake-resistant design.

24 lectures and 5 tutorials (an approximate breakdown of the lectures is given below).


Dynamic soil properties and pore pressure effects. Design parameters for real foundation materials.

Evaluation of liquefaction potential.

Effect of soil layers on ground motion. Radiation of energy through foundations materials; soil-structure interaction. Response of foundations to earthquake motions.

Dynamic response of earth and rock-fill dams to earthquake excitations: calculation of distribution of earthquake forces; hydrodynamic thrust; average seismic coefficient; limiting factors of safety.

Concept of critical acceleration, stability analysis of slopes, sliding block analysis and displacement design concept.

Principles of seismic design of earth and rockfill dams.

Basic concepts of codes for earthquake-resistant design.



B Das (1983) Fundamentals of soil dynamics. Elsevier.

IAEE (1980) Basic concepts of seismic codes: vol I. International Association for Earthquake Engineering.

S Prakash (1981) Soil Dynamics. McGraw-Hill.

F E Richard, J R Hall & R D Woods (1970) Vibrations of soils and foundations. Prentice Hall.

H B Seed & I M Idriss (1982) Ground motions and soil liquefaction during earthquakes. EERI Monograph.




Dr S K Sarma (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

Dr J J Bommer (Engineering Seismology, Department of Civil Engineering)

This course begins with an introduction to dynamic analysis of structures and elastic media, including numerical solutions of the general equation of motion. The analysis is extended to multi-degree-of-freedom systems as well as to non-linear and elasto-plastic behaviour. These fundamentals are then employed to present the concept of response spectra and their use in engineering design. The elements of basic dynamics are also used as the starting point to present the operation of seismic recording instruments with particular attention to strong-motion accelerographs and the interpretation of records.

20 lectures and 8 tutorials (an approximate breakdown of the lectures is given below).


Dynamic systems and degrees of freedom.

Free and forced vibrations of discrete and continuous systems.

Viscous, hysteritic and radiational damping.

Response of elastic and elasto-plastic systems to an arbitrary excitation.

Use of Fourier Series for response analysis; numerical solution techniques; non-linear analysis.

Dynamic principles of seismological instruments. Strong-motion instruments and their operation; interpretation and processing of strong-motion recordings.

Fourier analysis.

Elastic and elasto-plastic response spectra; ductility factors. Construction of earthquake design spectra.



R W Clough & J Penzien (1975) Dynamics of structures. McGraw-Hill.

A K Chopra (1980) Dynamics of structures; a primer. EERI Monograph.

D E Hudson (1979) Reading and interpreting strong motion accelerograms. EERI Monograph.

N M Newmark & W J Hall (1982) Earthquake spectra and design. EERI Monograph.

G B Warburton (1964) The dynamical behaviour of structures. Pergamon Press.




Prof R J Chandler, Dr M H de Freitas (Engineering Geology), Mrs S Cullum (Independent Consultant), Dr P Hardisty (Komex Clarke Bond), Visiting Professor S A Jefferis (Golder Associates Ltd), Dr Z Al-Dhahir (Golder Associates Ltd).

This series of courses is designed to introduce environmental matters to geotechnical students. Though considerable reference is made to the various codes and guidance notes, so far as possible the emphasis is on basic principles and the major geotechnical environmental problems.

The courses comprise lectures and tutorials in the Autumn Term given by SAJ and ZA-D, and in the Spring Term by RJC, MHdeF, PH and SC.

Autumn Term:

. Contaminated Land (SAJ)

. Chemistry in the ground (SAJ)

. Contaminant migration (SAJ)

. Passive and active containment of contaminants; risk analysis (SAJ)

. Clean-up and control strategies (SAJ)

. Site Investigation and Sampling (ZAl-D)

. Engineering design of landfills (ZAl-D)

. Permeability of liners (ZAl-D)

Spring Term:

. Hydrogeology of Contaminated Land (MHdeF; PH)1

. Mining tailings disposal. Definition and description of tailings; design of tailings dams; case studies - Stavo, Italy; Deighton Tip, Huddersfield (RJC)

Comprehensive lecture notes are issued, together with various codes and guidance notes.

1 Hydrogeology of Contaminated Land.

The course deals with problems arising from managed and unmanaged disposal of contaminants and waste to the subsurface environment. It covers the use of landfill as a means of waste disposal and the problems of design, management, monitoring and regulation. It also deals with the problems of contaminated land arising from the unmanaged release of pollutants into the environment. The processes which govern the movement and behaviour of sub-surface contamination, methods of site investigation and remediation techniques.

30 hours of lectures over 10 sessions, accompanying problem sheets, and one piece of course work.

Course topics:

1. Introduction

Problems of waste management and environmental regulation.

2. Landfill

Hydrogeology of landfill sites. Gas generation and control in landfills. Monitoring emissions from landfills. Water balance modelling. Case study and coursework presentation.

3. Contaminated Land

Contaminant behaviour and governing equations for contaminant hydrogeology. Site investigation techniques - methods, data analysis, case histories. Remediation - objectives, decision making, risk assessment, ex-situ & in-situ methods, remediation design exercise.


Veilson, D M & Sara, M N - Current Practices in ground water and vadose zone investigations, ASTM, 1992.

McBean, E A, Rovers, F A & Farquhar, G J - Solid Waste Landfill Engineering and Design, Prentice-Hall Inc, 1995.




Prof R J Jardine

Dr T I Addenbrooke

Dr M H de Freitas

The MSc course requires all students to attend two field courses. The first will take place on the 24th - 26th October 1997 and will consist of visits to sites in the Kent area of South East England, with the group being based overnight in the historic city of Canterbury. All students should bring safety boots with metal toe protection) and waterproof clothing. We will supply hard hats.

The second field course will last for a full week and will take place after the main examinations. The entire class will be travelling overseas (previous trips have been to Greece, Portugal and Italy), visiting many sites of interest in connection with geomorphology and geotechnical engineering.




The Dissertation is the main element of coursework submitted for the MSc. Students are asked to agree a topic in conjunction with their personal tutors, reaching a decision as soon as possible after the overseas field course. The subject can be chosen freely, although some suggestions for titles are posted.

Dissertation work may consist for example of a laboratory study, a computer project, a literature review, a case history or a parametric study. The work normally continues through from May until August although a report could be handed in from mid July if it was complete.

Students may wish to consider possible choices of dissertation topics during the first two terms of the course but it is usually unwise to devote too much time to dissertation work before completing the examinations.



In order to be awarded your MSc degree and the Diploma of Imperial College (DIC), students will have to pass all four of our main exams and submit all of the requested coursework to a satisfactory standard. The main elements of coursework are:

1. Reports on the Kent field course

2. Reports on all laboratory experiments

3. Reports on the overseas field course

4. Main research Dissertation

5. In the case of Seismology students: Case Studies of earthquakes


The laboratory reports and Kent field course reports are required towards the end of January following colloquia held to discuss the field and laboratory work. The Case Studies of earthquakes must be handed in on the last day of the 2nd term. The overseas field course report and the main Dissertation must be handed in before the end of August.

Degree Results

The final assessment of how well students have performed on the course is made at an Examiners meeting which is held in September. At this meeting all of the coursework and examination results are reviewed in conjunction with our three external examiners. The pass list is posted shortly after the meeting has ended; the list also shows which students have achieved a mark of Distinction. Formal notification of the degree results is made at a later stage by the University of London.