Ultimate Guide to Engineering Ethics

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Engineering ethics is a set of ethical standards for engineers to follow which can apply to most circumstances that arise on the job. These standards may vary depending on the jurisdiction or discipline at hand. These ethical standards are the engineers’ obligations towards the public, employers and the profession. Some of the codes of ethics date back to the early decades of the twentieth century. The purpose of engineering ethics is to identify specific ethical issues that may arise in order to avoid a potential problem. Past ethical or technical issues can help engineers to learn from both previous failures and successes.

In Ohio University’s online Master of Engineering Management degree program, students explore ethical boundaries in courses such as Engineering Law and Foundations of Engineering Management. Students can also apply these ethical practices to a capstone project that they will complete by choosing a topic from their current workplace. For more information on this renowned, professional and respected student-centered program, please fill out the form on the right to learn more.

Also, please see below for additional resources on engineering ethics:

Current Codes of Ethics

General Principles

Background History

  • History of Engineering: An in-depth history of engineering from pre-scientific revolution through the information revolution.
  • American Institute of Electrical Engineers: The American Institute of Electrical Engineers became the forefront for ethical societies in 1884.
  • Ashtabula River Railroad Disaster: This railroad disaster in 1876 is one of the many engineering disasters that sparked ethical debates.
  • Boston Molasses Disaster: A detailed account of the molasses disaster and the ethical repercussions of the molasses case.
  • Quebec City Bridge Collapse: The collapse of the biggest cantilever bridge in the world in 1907 that played a significant part in engineering ethics.
  • Tay Bridge Disaster: The 1879 disaster of the iron railway bridge shocked the nation and played a central part in creating ethical implications for engineers.

Current Ethical Issues

Case Studies Key Individuals

  • Product Safety Case Studies: Studies of five case scenarios of product safety engineers.
  • High Voltage Lines: A discussion case study that explores the numerical problems of electrical energy.
  • C-5A Galaxy Case Study: An Air Force case study of the application systems engineering of the C-5.
  • Goodrich Case: A brief synopsis of the B.F. Goodrich Air Force A7-D Brake Problem Case.
  • TV Antenna Collapse: A recap of the TV antenna malfunction manufactured by Antenna Engineering, Inc and the ethical issues presented in the case.
  • Space Shuttle Challenger Case: A detailed look at the surroundings of the space Shuttle Challenger case.
  • Gilbane Gold: An ethical discussion of the ZCORP manufactures environmental obligation in Gilbane.

Learn More

An advanced degree program for engineers who want to become leaders without losing their foundation in engineering, the online Master of Engineering Management from Ohio University focuses on leadership and management skills and their direct relationship to engineering process improvement, project management, effective communication, and innovative solutions.