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Engineering Professional Development

Slope Stability, Excavations, and Retention See upcoming dates

Course Overview

Develop a firm grasp of standard-of-care analysis, design, and remediation of unstable slopes, landslides, rockfalls, earth retention, excavations, buttresses, and embankments. Learn from expert and diverse course faculty about industry-leading and advancing topics such as rainfall-induced movements, slope risk assessment and asset management, and LiDAR and photogrammetry. After attending Slope Stability and Landslides, you will understand:

  • How to identify and analyze unstable slopes
  • How to identify, analyze, prevent and remediate landslides and other slope displacements caused by natural and human activities 
  • How to deal with landslides and slope instabilities by learning the importance of engineering, geology, and local experience 
  • How to analyze slopes with applied science using limit equilibrium-, deformation-, and probabilistic-based methods

Who Should Attend?

Who Should Attend?

  • Civil and geotechnical engineers
  • Employees with geological surveys and water boards
  • Consultants and investigation/laboratory subcontractors
  • Geological engineers and geoscientists
  • Facility managers and physical plant engineers
  • Earthwork contractors and estimators
  • Architects and landscape architects
  • Utility engineers and managers
  • Local, county, and state transportation commissioners and staff
  • Engineers and contractors for military facilities
  • Lawyers and mediation professionals


“A practical and multidisciplinary course that also combined the theoretical/mathematical with current ground experience.”

Imogen Crawford, Statkraft

“Needed a soils refresher and to dig deeper into slope stability solutions etc. Was a great course.”

Michelle Hase, Wisconsin DNR

“I now have a much better understanding of the mechanics of the failure and solutions for the problems. Every session was informative.”

Danny K. Grimm, Hannah Engineering

“The information I obtained will help me with my job as a regulator.”

Greg Baptist - CISEC 

“Hands down the most comprehensive, practical, and useful slope stability course I’ve attended. I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity and expertise brought by multiple instructors.”

Steve Carroll, Ducks Unlimited

“Very informative and a good refresher...5’s for all instructors.”

Jeff Richardson, City of Medicine Hat, AB

“The course was fantastic! I appreciate all the instructors offering their specialized expertise on each topic.”

Vicki Voight. Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Geological Survey

Course Outline

Day 1

Soil Slopes, Excavations, and Cut Slopes

Introduction, Expectations, and Objectives

  • Slope failures, movements, and processes
  • Triggering mechanisms
  • The 4 G’s of slope stability: geometry, geology, hydrogeology and geotechnical

Shear Strength, Stress States, and Water Pressures

  • Fundamentals of shear strength
  • Measurements of strength
    • Laboratory tests and standards
    • In situ field tests of strength
  • Importance of Water and Pore Pressures in Slope Stability
    • Soil permeability
    • Seepage forces
    • Porewater pressure

 Slope Stability Analysis

  • Mechanics of limit equilibrium
  • Slope stability analysis methods
  • Commonly used Methods of Slices
  • Selection of analysis method
    • Drained versus undrained conditions
    • Total stress versus effective stress analysis
  • Evolving Analysis methods
    • Deformation analysis
    • Finite element methods
    • Probabilistic methods

Slope Stability Reporting

  • Components and structure of comprehensive slope stability analysis
  • Slope stability reporting

How and Why Unsaturated Slopes Fail

  • Soil suction and the soil-water characteristic curve
  • Stress conditions in unsaturated slopes
  • Infinite slope stability under unsaturated seepage conditions
  • Case studies of rainfall-induced cut slopes

 Demonstration of Slope Stability Analysis Programs

  • Why do 3D analysis?
  • Overview of 3D slope stability analysis using SVSLOPE
  • 2-D and 3-D Case studies, step-by-step
  • 3-D Conceptual model building
  • 3-D Orientation and MPA analyses


Day 2

Rock Slopes and Landslides

Geologic Aspects of Landslides

  • Geologic materials and processes affecting landslides
  • Landslide mechanisms and climatic conditions

Oso Landslide Case History

  • Historical context
  • Subsurface characterization
  • Land use and risk
  • Analysis and mechanisms

Rock Mechanics and Rock Slope Investigations

  • Methods to estimate shear strength of discontinuities
  • Rock slope failure modes and analysis
  • Rock slope investigation
  • Mapping
  • Geological engineering of rock slopes

Rock Slope and Landslide Investigations

  • Rock slope remediation
  • Quarry slope case study

Advancing Topics in Slope Engineering

  • Proactive Risk Assessment
  • Performance-based Asset Management
  • LiDAR and Photogrammetry for Slope Stability Assessment


  • Types and ratings
  • Investigation and instrumentation
  • Analysis
  • Mitigation and construction

Rock Toppling Case Study

Debris Flows

  • Design methodologies
  • Debris flow barriers


Day 3

Engineering Design for Slopes and Earth Retention

Geosynthetic Use in Slopes and Embankments

  • Reinforcement
  • Erosion control
  • Drainage
  • Landslide repair

Lateral Earth Pressures

  • Definitions and development of active, passive, and neutral earth pressures
  • Movements to mobilize active and passive pressures
  • Examples of lateral earth pressures

Design of Excavation Support Systems

  • Earth pressures for cantilever and anchored shoring
  • Design of cantilever shoring (hand method)
  • Design of anchored shorting (hadn method)
  • Design of cantilever shoring (computer program)
  • Basal heave, surface settlement, and lateral deflections

Case Studies in Slope Stabilization, Support, and Repair

  • Pipe and board method for shallow slope failure
  • Drilled pier and grade beam retaining wall for shallow slope failures
  • Lateral support system in an active landslide zone
  • Lateral support systems at a property line

Embankment and Buttress Design

  • Failure modes
  • Stress distributions
  • Nature and selection of fill material
  • Compaction specifications and acceptance criteria
  • Buttressing
  • Drainage

Upcoming dates (0)

Take this course when it’s offered next!