Sub Surface Exploration and Geotechnical Investigation

A 3 month course which helps students develop skills on soil investigation techniques and interpretation of engineering parameters and focusses mainly on the theoretical aspects

  • Domain : CIVIL
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A Quick Overview

This course on sub-surface exploration and geotechnical investigation (GI) delivers the different stages of soil investigation ranging from planning of ground investigation to interpretation of ground engineering parameters. Generally, the geotechnical investigation is carried out from small scale to large scale projects such as building foundations, slope stability assessment, excavation systems, roads, embankments, bridges, tunnelling, offshore structures and marine structures. This is performed to evaluate the ground conditions and anticipate any geo-hazards during the execution (construction) phase of the project. To carry out the soil investigation for a specific project, geotechnical engineers prepare technical specifications as per the Indian standards (Indian projects) and International standards (International projects) and plan it accordingly. 

This course mainly focuses on the following:

  • How to plan the soil investigation based on scope of the project
  • Preparation of the technical specification and Bill of quantities (BoQ) for GI
  • Recommendation of field tests and laboratory tests based on project needs
  • Soil sampling techniques and core recovery in rocks
  • Engineering description and classification of soil and rock stratum
  • Overview on review of factual report
  • Presenting the cross-section of sub-soil profile using AUTOCAD
  • Interpretation of ground engineering parameters from factual data
  • Writing detailed geotechnical interpretative report

From this course, one can develop skills on various soil investigation techniques and interpretation of engineering parameters. Any graduates with a basic civil engineering degree and gaining adequate knowledge from the above course can start their career in any geotechnical engineering companies. Once recruited as a fresh geotechnical engineer, he/she can effectively perform the soil investigation campaign from planning phase to writing the geotechnical interpretative report with minimal supervision. 


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Course Syllabus

1Site investigation

  • Introduction
  • Concept of sub-surface exploration
  • Purpose of Geotechnical Investigation

2Planning of sub-surface exploration

  • Desk studies and reconnaissance work from field observation
  • Preliminary site exploration
  • Detailed geotechnical investigation

3Soil exploration techniques / Field investigation techniques

  • Methods of soil exploration
    • Trial pit/exploration pit
    • Field exploration in soil
    • Types of samples collected
      • Soil samplers used 
      • Importance of undisturbed samples
    • Field exploration in rock
    • In-situ tests 
      • Standard penetration test
      • Cone penetration test
      • In-situ vane shear test
      • Pressuremeter test
      • Plate load test
      • In-situ permeability test
    • Groundwater level measurement
    • Geophysical survey methods
      • Electrical resistivity method
      • Seismic refraction method

4Laboratory testing of soil and rock samples

  • Laboratory tests on soils
    • Index properties tests
      • Particle size distribution
      • Unit weight
      • Moisture content
      • Specific gravity
      • Atterberg limits
      • Compaction
    • Strength and deformation test
      • Unconfined compression test
      • Direct shear test
      • Triaxial tests
    • One dimensional consolidation test
    • Chemical testing of soil and groundwater
      • Organic content determination
      • Carbonate content determination
      • Sulfate & Chloride content determination
      • pH value determination
  • Laboratory tests on rocks
    • Strength test
      • Point load index test
      • Unconfined compression with elastic moduli test
  • Triaxial compression test
  • Slake durability test
  • Splitting tensile test

5Engineering description and classification of soils

  • Engineering description of soils and rocks
  • Recommended symbols and legends for soil and rocks 
  • AASHTO and USCS methods of soil classification
    • Based on particle size distribution
    • Based on Atterberg limits

6Review of field and laboratory test results

  • Review of factual soil investigation report
  • Geological cross-section of sub-surface profile based on SPT results
  • Collation of field and laboratory test results
  • Development of geotechnical model from field and laboratory test results

7Interpretation of ground engineering parameters for design

  • Selection of suitable characteristic value for soils and rocks (Ex :Characteristic SPT value for soils and characteristic UCS value for rocks)
  • Development of characteristic soil profile for the geotechnical design
  • Estimation of shear strength parameters and stiffness from characteristic value
  • Preparation of geotechnical interpretative report

Projects Overview

Project 1


Project 1:

A 40 - 50hr project on conducting the geotechnical investigation for the given proposed construction site. 

Key Highlights:

  • Reviewing the scope of the given proposed site and locating all the field tests on the given site layout.
  • Creating the site layout and locating all the field tests using AUTOCAD
  • Preparing the detailed technical specification for geotechnical investigation program based on the video lectures using Microsoft word
  • Preparing the bill of quantities based on the video lectures in excel format


  • Soil investigation layout plan in .DWG file 
  • Detailed technical specification in .Doc file
  • Bill of quantities in .XLS or .XLSX file.

As a geotechnical engineer, plan the geotechnical investigation for the above project. Write detailed technical specification and prepare bill of quantities. Locate all required field tests such as standard penetration tests, cone penetration tests, plate load tests, trial pits, stand pipe piezometers. Prepare the soil investigation layout(location of all field tests) in AUTOCAD format. Also identify the hazards during the construction phase of the project

Project 2



A 40 - 50hr project on writing the detailed geotechnical interpretative report capturing all the interpretations for the given factual soil report.

Key Highlights:

  • Reviewing the given factual report based on the video lectures
  • Findings of all the interpretations in the graphical format using excel sheet
  • Creating the geological cross-sections for the given boreholes using AUTOCAD
  • Summarising the geotechnical model from the above interpretations
  • Writing the detailed geotechnical interpretative report based on the above interpretations and video lectures using word document
  • Estimating the bearing capacity and subgrade modulus for the given size of the foundation using excel sheet


  • Geological cross-sections in .DWG file
  • Detailed geotechnical interpretative report in .Doc file
  • Bearing capacity and subgrade modulus calculation in .XLS or .XLSX file.



  • Top 5% of the class will get a merit certificate
  • Course completion certificates will be provided to all students
  • Build a professional portfolio
  • Automatically link your technical projects
  • E-verified profile that can be shared on LinkedIn

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Frequently Asked Questions

1Who can take this course?

Recent diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate students and young civil engineers who want to enhance their career in the geotechnical engineering field.

2What is included in this course?

Course will include preparation of soil investigation specification and bill of quantities, soil investigation techniques carried out at the site, laboratory testing of soil and rock samples, visual identification of soil and rock samples during field testing, draw the subsurface profile, classifying the soil based on Indian standards, AASHTO, ASTM standards.

3What will the student gain from this course?

The students will get hands-on experience related to geotechnical investigation and gain knowledge on practical aspects which can be used for real projects.

4What software skills are you teaching and how well are these tools used in the industry?

GI does not require any software. Graduates and engineers should gain the basic understanding on subsurface profiling using AUTOCAD or EXCEL.

5Which companies use these techniques and for what?

Geotechnical investigation is usually carried out by soil investigation sub-contractors, usually hired by a contractor or consultant. The reason to carry out the investigation is to study the ground conditions and interpret the geotechnical parameters required for a specific project and mainly to identify the geotechnical hazards like poor ground conditions, presence of water bodies, cavities in the ground and behavior of neighboring structures during construction phase.

6What is the real world application for the tools and techniques will you teach in this course?

The tools and techniques covered in this course are really practised by all geotechnical engineers for real projects like commercial buildings, residential buildings, offshore structures, coastal structures etc. As the geotechnical investigation plays a significant role in the initial stage of every project.

7How is this course going to help me get a job?

After successful completion of this course, one would gain knowledge in dealing with GI and how to classify the soils. As there is always an increasing demand for geotechnical engineers in the present & future and with clear understanding on GI techniques, graduates will have the opportunity for the job in any part of the world and can work with minimal supervision/training on real time projects.

8How is your course going to help me in my path to MS or PhD?

With recent advances in infrastructures, there is an increasing demand in geotechnical research areas. The basic understanding on the course will be very useful for the engineering graduates while carrying out their theoretical and research works. Also, with the help of this course, one could get-on to the real time projects and look onto the practical aspects while pursuing MS or PhD.

Flexible Course Fees

Choose the plan that’s right for you


2 Months Access


Per month for 3 months

  • Access Duration : 2 Months
  • Mode of Delivery : Online
  • Project Portfolio : Available
  • Certification : Available
  • Email Support : Available
  • Forum Support : Available

Lifetime Access


Per month for 3 months

  • Access Duration : Lifetime
  • Mode of Delivery : Online
  • Project Portfolio : Available
  • Certification : Available
  • Individual Video Support : 12/ Month
  • Group Video Support : 12/ Month
  • Email Support : Available
  • Forum Support : Available
  • Telephone Support : Available
  • Dedicated Support Engineer : Available

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