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AF1601 Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering 7.5 credits

The course encloses theoretical soil mechanics and principles for geotechnical design. The course also includes geotechnical laboratory methods.

Choose semester and course offering

Choose semester and course offering to see current information and more about the course, such as course syllabus, study period, and application information.


For course offering

Spring 2025 Start 17 Mar 2025 programme students

Application code


Headings with content from the Course syllabus AF1601 (Spring 2012–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

This course encloses

  • Basic characteristics
  • Laboratory methods
  • Effective stress concept 
  • Shear strength 
  • Consolidation
  • Lateral earth pressure
  • Bearing capacity
  • Slope stability

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of course the students should be able to:

- Define and use the basic concepts of Soil Mechanics, e.g. total and effective stress, pore water pressure, shear strength, elastic- and oedometer modulus

- Calculate the initial vertical stresses in a stratum and calculate the additional stresses from loading.

- Given a problem, chose proper soil mechanical model for the design of a construction.

- Analyze and design shallow foundations with respect to settlements and stability.

-Analyze and specify maximum allowed excavation depth and maximum slope inclination with respect to stability, hydraulic failure, and heave.

- Analyze, design and value embankments and slopes with respect to stability.

- Calculate the lateral earth pressures acting on earth retaining walls and sheet pile walls according to Rankine and Coulomb theories.

- Execute and report a geotechnical routine- and CRS test on clay soil sample.

- Write a geotechnical design memorandum.

Given realistic problems, you will be exercised in modelling and solving problems, alone and as a member of a group. Your writing skills will be exercised from continuous feedback given on all written assignments. Corresponding English terminology will be presented during lecture and in literature.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Completed upper secondary education including documented proficiency in Swedish corresponding to Swedish B and English corresponding to English A. For students who received/will receive their final school grades after 31 December 2009, there is an additional entry requirement for mathematics as follows: documented proficiency in mathematics corresponding to Mathematics A.

And 30 university credits (hp) in mathematics/statistics and 5 hp in Geology, Geotechnical Engineering or Geosciences.  

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


Braja M. Das "Principles of Geotechnical Engineering"

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • TENA - Examination, 4.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • ÖVNA - Exercises, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

TENA Examination, 4,5 credits, grade scale: A-F

ÖVNA Exercises, 3,0 credits, grade scale: P,F

Other requirements for final grade

Written examination (TENA, 4,5 cr)
Exercises and laboratory work (ÖVNA, 3,0 cr)        The written examination settles the grade of the course.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study


Education cycle

First cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Johan Spross, 08-790 8683