Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

Short Courses (CPD)

Short Courses (CPD)

In response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Newcastle University is not delivering any face-to-face CPD programmes before January 2021. If you are interested in studying any of our modules online, contact the CPD Unit for advice.

About the Course

Slopes and Retaining Structures

Analysis, design and stabilisation of slopes, tailing dams and retaining structures.

The course introduces you to the design and risk assessment of slopes, tailing dams and retaining structures. You'll find out about the latest international standards (Eurocode 7 and ICOLD Bulletins).

You'll learn how to design these structures aiming to guarantee a safe and economic design. Thus, the course also provides you with a basic knowledge of quantitative risk assessment. We pay particular attention to the stability analysis of existing tailing dams.

The course focuses on practical applications. It includes:

  • lectures to explain the theory
  • small group teaching activities to explain the practice
  • tutorials to teach design principles

A computer exercise provides real-life examples of theory. It provides you with opportunities to practise your skills.

This course is also delivered on at least one of the Faculty's Masters programmes in the School of Engineering, and you will attend alongside full and part time registered students.

Course dates
  • Monday 2 - Friday 20 November 2020 (duration 10 days): dates not confirmed

Objectives and Outline

Slopes and Retaining Structures

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, you'll have developed a good knowledge of:

  • the main analytical and numerical methods for the assessment of slope stability and soil liquefaction
  • testing techniques for tailing dams
  • Eurocode 7 and ICOLD sections on the design of slopes, excavations and retaining structures
  • BS6031 and BS8006

You'll be aware of:

  • the interplay between drained and undrained conditions in the causation of failure in tailing dams
  • the role of working drainage systems in tailing dams

You'll understand the role of:

  • soil variability in determining the critical failure mechanism
  • soil material properties in the stability of slopes

You'll be able to understand and interpret the types of failures occurring in tailing dams.

You'll have mastered techniques for:

  • stabilising rock structures
  • evaluation and analysis of some types of failures in rock structures (before and after remediation)

You'll be fluent in:

  • numerical and analytical methods for slope stability assessment
  • designing slopes for excavations and tailing dams
  • quantitative risk assessment
  • problem solving and application of appropriate analytical techniques for the analysis and design of retaining structures

Course Outline

The course includes lectures and practicals on:

  • the numerical and analytical methods available to carry out slope stability assessment
  • the key failure modes taking place in a tailing dam
  • soil liquefiability
  • quantitative risk assessment
  • the design of a retaining structure (eg gravity wall, georeiforced slope) according to Eurocode
  • Slope stability analysis: introduction and translational failure mechanisms
    • simple Limit Equilibrium Methods (Fellenius and Bishop simplified) for rotational mechanisms
  • General Limit equilibrium methods
    • tutorials on carrying out LEM analyses according to Eurocode 7 using the correct partial safety factors
  • Finite Element Analysis with strength reduction technique of a slope
    • pros andcons of slope stability assessment by FEM analyses versus LEM analyses
  • Design of cuttings and fills
    • computer exercise using Oasys and Rocscience
  • Design of geosynthetic reinforcement for reinforced slopes
    • design of soil nails and anchors
  • Tailing dams, their modes of failure
    • iquefaction of soils and measurement of soil liquefiability
  • Measurements of tailing properties by CPT, SPT tests, piezometers etc
    • quantitative risk assessment of tailing dams
  • How to capture tailing variability in engineering modelling
    • design of mitigation measures
  • Calculation of earth pressure by Coulomb and Rankine methods
    • tutorials on earth pressure calculation
Course dates
  • Monday 2 - Friday 20 November 2020 (duration 10 days): dates not confirmed

Further Information

Slopes and Retaining Structures

Academic Module Outline

This course is also delivered as a Module (code CEG8212) on at least one of the Faculty's Masters programmes, the majority of which can be studied part time, making them suitable for those in employment. You will attend with full and part time registered students. The Academic Module Outline is available via the University's Module Catalogue.

Course Materials

During the course, you will be able to access course materials electronically using the University Wifi. We suggest that you bring a laptop or tablet with PDF viewer if you wish to refer to the notes during the course. Please ensure that you make sure your electronic device is fully charged, as access to charging points may be limited within the lecture rooms.

Update to Course Content

Please note that our courses are reviewed regularly, both in response to feedback and so that information about recent research and developments can be included. Thus, content may be subject to change.


Slopes and Retaining Structures


Newcastle University


Slopes and Retaining Structures


  • Slopes and Retaining Structures
    • £2235 (duration 10 days)

We offer a 30 percent discount to full time students and to Newcastle University staff.

The course fee includes tuition, course materials, lunch and refreshments.

[ Information about Cancellations ]

Formal assessment may be available for this Course. Assessment attracts an additional fee of £365, and delegates will be issued with a transcript and Certificate of Credit Achieved.