Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


1. Student can evaluate solutions of typical engineering problems with finite element software, can suggest solution methods and constitutive models to be used for such problems and can solve them.

In particular student can choose the right constitutive model for given problem and use the right parameters for the model based on results of soil tests, as well as analyse the results and assess their correctness

2. Student is familiar with the finite element method theory and derivation. Student has some understanding of how the finite element software  works and how adjusting the parameters in the software may affect the solution, convergence and accuracy

3. Student knows and can evaluate the approximations typically used in finite element software, as well as typical implementations of hydro-mechanical coupling

4. Student can assess the accuracy of the FE solutions and relate it to the errors due to finite element method approximation, as well as modelling simplifications. Student knows how to improve the accuracy of presented solution and can compute problems with required accuracy.

5. Student knows typical enhancements of constitutive models used in finite element software and can apply them in practical cases. Student is familiar with some software specific constitutive models such as extended Mohr-Coulomb model and Hardening soil model and limitations of these models

6. Student can make independent modelling choices in finite element modelling and explain the benefits drawbacks of the taken course of action

7. Student is able to self-learn finite element software

8. Student can clearly communicate the outcomes of the analysis, write a report and defend the modelling choices made.

9. Group of student can solve together a company-posed design problem requiring use of Finite Element Method

Credits: 5

Schedule: 19.04.2022 - 27.05.2022

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Wojciech Solowski

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The course will concentrate on application of finite element method in geoengineering. In particular, the course participants will gain understanding of how the commonly used finite element software work and how the analyses should be made.

    The course will focus on application of finite elements in geotechnical engineering practice. Therefore, the typical enhancements of constitutive models present in commonly used engineering software will be described in detail. 

    The course participants will solve number of engineering problems with two different finite element software codes. Thanks to comparison between the obtained results, students will gain working understanding of approximations and accuracy of the performed calculations.

    The course finishes with a design project which will consolidate the geotechnical knowledge obtained in previous courses with newly acquired numerical skills.

    Sustainability goals: the course prepares the students to use lean design in their engineering practice, minimising the amount of materials needed for structures. The course also prepares the students to use new materials in their simulations, including choice of the material model, model parameters and designing the simulation. This is a key skill as the materials may dramatically change in the coming decades due to the carbon neutrality goal.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The final assessment criteria will be agreed upon during first lecture of the course. The suggestion is:

    Lectures (tests during the lectures): 30%

    Homeworks: 30%

    Final Project: 40%

    No final exam.

    Each part must be passed. The evaluation methods and percentages may be changed in agreement with the students during the course.

    Note that the final project is presented to designers from major construction companies operating in Finland which will provide opportunity for exchange of ideas and networking. The participation in the session is mandatory for the Aalto students. This session usually takes place either in the final class of the course or in the exam week.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    5cr, 135h

    Lectures (53 h)

    Lectures: 10 x 2 h = 20 h

    Preparation for the lectures: 6x2h - 12h

    Preparation for the tests: 3 x 7h - 18h

    Exercises (39h):

    Exercises: 9 x 2 h = 18 h 

    Finishing exercises: 6 x 1h = 6 h

    Homeworks 3 x 5h = 15h

    Final project (43h, group work):

    Exercises: 3 x 2h = 6h

    Final Project, group work 3 x 9h= 27h (2 x 9 before exercises, 1x9 after the third exercise).

    Preparation of a presentation and report: 8h

    Attending final presentation: 2h


Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Teaching Language : English

    Teaching Period : 2022-2023 Spring V
    2023-2024 Spring V

    Enrollment :

    Registration for the course will take place on Sisu (