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Ethics is integral to all decisions, designs, and services performed by civil engineers.

Not only the public trust but also their lives, safety, and welfare depend on professional engineers' efficient, safe, and economical performance of their duties. ASCE's ethics programs, policies, and resources are designed to assist its members in understanding their ethical obligations and incorporating them into the day-to-day conduct of their professional and business-related affairs.

Graphic of a woman in a hard hat holding blueprints with the caption "Competency, Integrity, Safety, Obligation"
Sara's Story

Guidance on Licensing and Ethical Responsibilities for Civil Engineers

Last month Sara was reported to her state engineers’ board for a possible ethics violation. Tomorrow morning, she would meet with the board. Although she felt she had done nothing unethical, Sara’s eyes had been opened to the complexity and gravity of ethical dilemmas in engineering practice. She wished she had sought and/or received better guidance on ethical issues earlier in her career.

In this publication we explore what it means to be an ethical engineer as applied to one fictional engineer's experiences.

Read Sara's story (PDF)

Ethics case studies

Given the vital importance of engineering works to society, it is essential for engineers to understand their responsibility to protect the public health, safety, and welfare even in circumstances when doing so may come at a great personal cost. This video series features interviews with engineers and other professionals regarding their experiences with some of the most significant engineering ethics cases of modern times.

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