A shallow foundation is an enlarged base for the support of the columns or walls of the superstructure in order to spread the stresses of the columns or walls onto a wider founding stratum without failure, so as to achieve ultimate and serviceability. Prior to the discussion of the bearing capacity of a shallow foundation, a review of the various failure modes of shallow foundations on the soil is first carried out. To apply a finite element analysis on a bearing capacity problem, the foundation can be modelled as flexible and uniform pressure can be applied gradually until the system has reached the ultimate condition, which is usually a very large settlement. The governing equations can be solved with adequate boundary conditions to investigate the stresses at the ultimate condition, and the solution of the problem is commonly taken as the most rigorous solution, as the solutions are either similar to those from other methods or are better.