Programmes - HKU SPACE Community College
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 CEF Course

Certificate for Module (Soil Mechanics)

Programme Code: CP 108 37622307

Course Code: CP108


Microcredential Course

Programme Code: CP108A
Medium of Instruction: English
Course Fee: HKD $6300
​Application Fee: HKD $150

Course Introduction

The programme aims at introducing fundamental description and the classification of soils; mechanical concepts including the effective stress concept, strength of soils, consolidation, settlement and testing procedures.

Course Details

On completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the basic principles of elasticity and key parameters pertaining to measurement of soil strength and deformation;
  2. Describe the nature and classification of soils and quantities pertaining to soil;
  3. Identify the application and limitations of common soil mechanics experiments;
  4. Analyse elementary geotechnical problems using the effective stress concept.


Introduction to soil mechanics
Introduction to the concept of critical state

Mechanical properties
Void ratio, porosity, degree of saturation
Mass relationships: water content, bulk density, specific gravity and relative density

Soil phase
Classification of soils

Soil description
Soil testing, classification and analyses
Colours, mass characteristics, particle size analysis, grading curves, effective grain size and uniformity coefficient, limit and plasticity tests

Elasticity theory
Case study

Principle of effective stress, effective vertical stress and pore water pressure
State of stress
Shear strength
Mohr’s diagram method of stress analysis
Geostatic stress condition
Lateral stress coefficient
Horizontal and vertical stresses
Failure criterion analysis

Flow of water through soil
Total head
Pressure head
Darcy’s law
Flow and seepage problems
Geotechnical seepage problems and solutions

Partially saturated soils and
Capillary head

Consolidation theory and settlement analysis

Soil compaction
Soil properties and air voids

Entry Reqirements

Applicants shall:

  1. have gained in the HKDSE Examination Level 2 or above in five subjects* including English Language and Chinese Language#, Mathematics (Core) and one of the following: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Combined Science or Geography; or

  2. hold a Diploma in Foundation Studies or equivalent qualification; or

  3. hold a Diploma Yi Jin.

Equivalent qualifications will be considered by the College.

Applicants who do not possess the above academic qualifications but who are aged 21 or above with relevant work experience will be considered on individual merit.

* Applicants are allowed to use not more than two Applied Learning (ApL) subjects in the application. The recognition of the ApL subjects is as follows: 
“Attained with Distinction (II)” is deemed equivalent to Level 4 or above in the HKDSE Examination;
“Attained with Distinction (I)” is deemed equivalent to Level 3 in the HKDSE Examination; and
“Attained” is deemed equivalent to Level 2 in the HKDSE Examination.

# ApL Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students) would be accepted as an alternative Chinese Language qualification.


Students are required to do a 2-hour written examination, group-based reports and tutorial exercises.

Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be awarded within the HKU system through HKU SPACE a Certificate for Module (Soil Mechanics).