Course syllabus

Field Investigation Methodology

VTGN01, 7,5 credits, A (Second Cycle)

Valid for: 2012/13
Decided by: Education Board 1
Date of Decision: 2012-05-02

General Information

Elective for: V5-at, W5
Language of instruction: The course might be given in English


The main aim of the course is to increase the student's knowledge of the importance and possible content of preinvestigations concerning large infrastructural projects. Geological methodology for reconnaissance and mapping is included as an important part, and geophysical measurement technology is a central part of the course. Furthermore, drilling and sampling technology including methodology of classification and interpretation are parts of the course. A central theme of the course is integrated utilization and interpretation of the different steps and methods within the field investigation process. An important part of the content is consisting of field measurements for engineering and environmental applications, which here mean investigations applied on problems related to engineering geology, foundation engineering, hydrogeology, groundwater protection and contaminated soil. The course includes training in applied interpretation and evaluation methodology and also presentation technique, as essential parts of the course are organized as a real field investigation. Hereby, the ability of reviewing and producing background material for decisions are trained for different demands and levels of investigation, related to hydrogeological, environmental and large infrastructural projects.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

- be able to describe how information regarding the underground can be sampled, interpreted and presented in a modern way.

- be able to define and describe principles and basic theory of the geophyscial methods included in the course.

- be able to describe non-destructive testing methods and how they can be connected to other kinds of field investigation methods and measurements.

- be able to give an account for possibilities and limitations of different field investigation methods within engineering and environmental applications.

Competences and skills
For a passing grade the student must

- have an ability to create and apply conceptual descriptions based on the geological conditions.

- be able to design a preinvestigation programme starting from the geological, hydrogeological and soil and rock mechanical prerequisites combined with the civil engineering and environmental demands of an infrastructural project.

- be able to use and understand the basic principles of softwares for simulation, analysis and interpretation of geophysical measurements.

- be able to carry out and interpret measurements with a couple of selected geophysical measuring instruments, for example geoelectrical and seismic equipment.

- be able to assess and also to present a preinvestigation orally and in written form for engineers, politicians and the public.

- show an ability to independently seek and assess the value of information regarding environmental issues including groundwater conditions.

- show an ability to select method for verification of indirect measurement, e.g. geophysical measurements.

Judgement and approach
For a passing grade the student must

- understand the preinvestigation process as such and its importance for civil engineering, building construction and environmental projects.

- demonstrate to have adopted an attitude, which emphasize and valuate co-operation between different professionals and experts when planning and executing projects dealing with the application of geophysical methods within engineering geology, geotechnics, hydrogeology, groundwater protection and contaminated soil and rock.

- show evidence of realizing the need for a multidisciplinary attitude and simultaneous evaluation of geotechnical, geological, hydrological, hydraulic, chemical, ecological, anthropogenic and other conditions when dealing with problems related to ground, groundwater and environment.


The aim of the course is achieved by a combination of theoretical studies of measuring principles, planning and execution of field investigations, writing of a technical report and oral presentation at a seminar. The course is dominated by a major comulsory project work which is carried out in groups of three students. The field investigation project consists of establishing a conceptual model, numerical premodelling for design of investigation strategy, field investigation, data processing, inverse modelling, interpretation and also written and oral presentation of results. The field investigation comprises three full days and consists of geological field reconnaissance, measurements with a couple of geophysical methods in combination with other field investigation methods as drilling, penetration testing and digging of test pits. Two of the days are carried out in groups of three students with on teacher per group.

During the project work with interpretation and reporting of the field investigations there are frequent possibilities to consult a teacher, at least six hours per group of three students. The project assignment is presented as a written technical report and it is also presented orally by each group and discussed at the final seminar of the course. Detailed written and oral feedback from the teachers to each group of three students .

Examination details

Grading scale: TH
Assessment: Written examination (four hours) and also written and oral presentation of a field investigation project. The written examination and the project assignment have equal weight when the final grade of the course is determined.

Code: 0111. Name: Written Examination.
Credits: 4. Grading scale: TH. Assessment: To pass the written examination at least 50% of the given points must be obtained. There is one theoretical part and one problem part in the examination but no partial pass requirements. The course literature may be consulted when the theoretical part has been handed in. Contents: Basic theory, application and interpretation of field investigation methodology and applied geophysics.
Code: 0211. Name: Project Task.
Credits: 3,5. Grading scale: TH. Assessment: To obtain a pass mark on the project task, the minimum requirements on content and presentation must be met. This includes form and presentation as well as geological and geophysical content and also processing, interpretation and assessment of geophysical information and other data from field investigations. Contents: Application of field investigation methodology and geophysical investigation methods. Analysis and synthesis of geological, geophysical and other data from field investigations related to civil engineering and environmental engineering.


Admission requirements:

Required prior knowledge: At least 30 ECTS of University Mathematics in Calculus and Linear Algebra, or the courses FMAA05 Calculus in One Variable, FMA420 Linear Algebra and FMA430 Calculus in Several Variables.
The number of participants is limited to: No
The course might be cancelled: If the number of applicants is less than 15.

Reading list

Contact and other information

Course coordinator: Professor Torleif Dahlin,
Course coordinator: Universitetsadjunkt Peter Jonsson,
Course homepage:
Further information: The course is a part of the specialisation Civil Engineering within the MSc Programme in Civil Engineering. It is also very suitable within the specialisations in Water Resources within the MSc Programmes in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering. It is also suitable for students, who are interested in field investigations of the subsurface, for example in connection with estimations of environmental consequences at large infrastructural projects.