Approved by the Committee on Professional Advancement on April 29, 2022
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on June 1, 2022
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 22, 2022
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the attainment of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK) as a requirement for exercising responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering. The CEBOK defines the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to exercise responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering, which are attained through undergraduate and post-graduate engineering education, mentored experience, and self-development. Licensure constitutes a legal authority to practice engineering; however, the requirements for licensure do not ensure attainment of the CEBOK.
ASCE encourages institutions of higher education, governments, employers, engineers, and other appropriate organizations to endorse, support, promote, and implement the attainment of the CEBOK by individual civil engineers, who serve in responsible charge, to protect and advance the health, safety, and welfare of the public. To promote attainment of the CEBOK, ASCE supports: (1) maintaining appropriate accreditation criteria for formal education, (2) promoting structured mentored experience guidelines for the workplace, (3) influencing regulatory bodies to adopt supportive education and experience standards in their laws and rules, (4) implementing post-PE board credentialing to validate attainment of competency for responsible charge and (5) recognizing educational institutions, employers, and others that have programs supporting individuals’ attainment of the CEBOK.
The civil engineering profession continues to undergo significant, rapid, and revolutionary changes. These changes necessarily increase the information to be included in the body of knowledge required for responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering.
The Principles and Practices licensure exam tests broad understanding of civil engineering and one specialty area and grants the legal authority to practice engineering in responsible charge. However, neither the exam, nor the experience requirements for licensure have kept pace with the breadth and depth of change in civil engineering practice. Civil engineers must understand an ever-increasing depth of knowledge specific to their areas(s) of practice to maintain competency. Combined, this creates the need for civil engineers in responsible charge to have more breadth and depth of technical competence in their area(s) of practice than licensure requires, to meet their obligation to protect and advance the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Since 2004, ASCE has periodically reviewed, revised, and refined the CEBOK to address these changes. The CEBOK includes outcomes in (1) math, natural science, social science, and the humanities, (2) engineering fundamentals, (3) professional practice topics, and (4) technical topics that require both breadth of knowledge in civil engineering and depth of knowledge in general civil engineering or one or more civil engineering specialty areas. Attainment of the CEBOK requires formal education, mentored experience, and self-development. There are several pathways to fulfill the formal educational requirements of the CEBOK, however ASCE believes the most effective means is by completing a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering from an ABET-accredited program and a master's degree in civil engineering specific to general civil engineering or a civil engineering specialty area. Beyond formal education, structured mentorship, self-development, and experience, which progresses in both complexity and level of responsibility, are critical to fulfilling the experiential requirements of the CEBOK.
ASCE, the acknowledged leader of the civil engineering profession, has a responsibility to establish the standards of the civil engineering profession, to protect and advance the health, safety, and welfare of the public. This responsibility includes the establishment of a CEBOK to describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering, a document which is periodically updated to address the impacts of the pace of change in the world on the practice of civil engineering. Through this process, ASCE has identified the need for licensed civil engineers who serve in responsible charge to attain competence in their chosen civil engineering area(s) of practice that exceeds what licensure requires as documented in the CEBOK.
ASCE Policy Statement 568
First Approved 2022