Module code: ENGM054

Module Overview

Earthquake engineering module aims to cover the fundamental concepts associated with the way earthquakes are generated, principles behind seismic  hazard analysis, methods to analyse behaviour of structures and foundations under seismic loading, behaviour of ground during earthquakes (ground response analysis and liquefaction). It also covers earthquake resistant design principles.

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

BHATTACHARYA Suby (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 73

Seminar Hours: 18

Tutorial Hours: 4

Guided Learning: 44

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

No prior knowledge of structural dynamics is assumed. Knowledge of 2nd order ordinary differential equations, matrix algebra and the theory of eigen-analysis is essential. In order to carry out the first course work, students should have basic knowledge of soil mechanics. For the second coursework, students should have a basic grasp of either a computing language or a spreadsheet program and able to use a structural analysis program.

Module content

•           Earthquakes: A geophysical and geological perspective

Basics of earthquakes, measurement of earthquakes, seismic hazard analysis, estimation of fault movements for design purposes.

•           Earthquake motion

Input motion characteristics and construction of synthetic/artificial input motion

•           Behaviour of structures under seismic loading including design

Free and forced vibrations of SDOF systems, generalised SDOF systems, Rayleigh’s method, time domain numerical methods and Newmarks’s method, earthquake response spectra, behaviour of MDOF systems and modal analysis, Seismic design of structures according to EC8, member and connection behaviour.

•           Behaviour of ground under seismic loading including foundation design

Liquefaction and site response analysis, Advanced soil testing for dynamic design, use of Cyclic Triaxial and dynamic simple shear apparatus to study liquefaction, Liquefaction evaluation and mitigation techniques, Soil Structure Interaction issues in seismic design, design of foundations (shallow and deep foundations) in seismic areas, Winkler Spring approach for foundation design, detailed case studies of building and bridge failures during earthquakes.     

Coursework, which combines both numerical and design aspects of earthquake engineering.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 20
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 20

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of seismic design (LO’s 3, 5) is through a 2 hour unseen examination.

  • solving open ended problem such as assessing the seismic hazards and evaluate the strategies for mitigation and re-engineering through acquired knowledge and understanding together with the necessary analytical skills to carry out design code specific calculations. This is done through course work (LO’s 1,2,3,4,5).

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Examination [Learning outcomes assessed 3, 5] (2 hours) {60%}

·         2 pieces of course work [Learning outcomes assessed 1, 2,3,4,5] (40 hours) {40%}.

Coursework -1: Analysis of a pile-supported building (20 hours, 20%)

Coursework -2: Seismic analysis of a reinforced concrete building (20 hours, 20%)

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment will be through a range of self assessment exercises and quizzes held in the class. These exercises will provide automatic feedback where necessary. Feedback will also be given in tutorial sessions.

Students will receive written feedback on their course work.

Module aims

  • provide an appreciation of the causes of earthquakes and the hazards associated with it to the built environment.
  • provide an understanding of the principles of seismic design and methods of analysis
  • provide the ability to carry out calculations necessary for seismic design
  • provide the ability to recognise the uncertainties in seismic analysis and design

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the causes of earthquake and describe the nature of seismic loading KT
002 Identify and assess the hazards that can be caused by an earthquake to a built environment   KCPT
003 Evaluate the dynamic behaviour of structures and ground analytically and also by using software  KCPT
004 Review the various methods to mitigate seismic hazards, for example liquefaction and ground modifications at soft soil sites. KCPT
005 carry out design using appropriate codes of practice KCPT
006 Technical report writing T
007 Oral & written communication T
008 Graphical presentation of data T
009 Sketching T
010 3D spatial awareness T
011 Critical thinking T
012 Observation T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • provide a specialist knowledge of structural and soil dynamics and earthquake engineering.

  • deliver principally by lectures but also includes laboratory demonstration of advanced soil testing and learning through course work. The course work involves carrying out a structure and foundation design based on the fundamental principles and also by using software.   

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures (20 hours)

  • Specialist seminars (4 hours)

  • Laboratory classes and tutorials (6 hours)

  • Course Work -1 including report writing (20 hours)

  • Course Work -2 including report writing (20 hours)

  • Exam (2 Hours)

Directed and guided reading (including revision ad preparation for lab classes) (78 hours)


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM054

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Bridge Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Structural Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Infrastructure Engineering and Management MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2021/2 academic year.