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Policy Statement 465 - The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge and the Practice of Civil Engineering

 

Approved by the Committee on Preparing the Future Civil Engineer on July 16, 2019
Approved by the Committee on Professional Advancement on July 24, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on August 9, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on October 14, 2019

Policy 

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 is defined as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to exercise responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering and is 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, as a means to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. To promote attainment of the CEBOK, ASCE supports: (1) establishing accreditation criteria for the formal education process, (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 board certification to validate attainment of the CEBOK, including technical depth in a civil engineering specialty, and (5) recognizing educational institutions, employers, and others that have programs supporting individuals' attainment of the CEBOK. 

Issue

The civil engineering profession continues to undergo significant, rapid, and revolutionary changes. This affects the body of knowledge required for responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering, including its specialty areas. Beyond expanded technical knowledge and skills, today's civil engineers need to understand the immediate and long-term environmental, societal, political, legal, aesthetic, and economic implications of their engineering decisions. These and other changes have created a need for civil engineers to have a greater breadth of capability and specialized technical competence to meet their obligation to protect public health, safety, and welfare.

Since 2004, ASCE has periodically reviewed, revised, and refined the CEBOK. 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 a civil engineering specialty area. Attainment of the CEBOK requires formal education, mentored experience, and self-development. ASCE believes that the most effective means of fulfilling the formal educational requirements of the CEBOK is by completing a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering from an ABET-accredited program and a master's degree in civil engineering or a civil engineering specialty area. Structured, early‐career experience under the mentorship of a civil engineer practicing in responsible charge of engineering services, which progresses in both complexity and level of responsibility, is critical to fulfilling the experiential requirements of the CEBOK. ASCE acknowledges that there are alternative pathways that can fulfill the outcomes of the CEBOK.

Rationale

ASCE, the acknowledged leader of the civil engineering profession, has a responsibility to establish the standards of the civil engineering profession and to fulfill its mission to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. This responsibility includes the establishment of: (1) a CEBOK to describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering; and (2) a credentialing system to recognize individuals who meet this standard.

ASCE Policy Statement 465 
First Approved 1998

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