Engineering ethical curricula: Assessment of two approaches and recommendations

Matthew J. Drake, Paul M. Griffin, Robert Kirkman, Julie L. Swann

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this paper, we assess two approaches for delivery of engineering ethics: a full semester ethics course and an engineering course that includes a discipline-specific ethics module. We use the second edition of the Defining Issues Test (DIT) to measure moral reasoning ability. We compare improvement of moral reasoning ability for each class pre and post ethical instruction and compare the results to a control class with no ethical instruction. Although the full term ethics course had more improvement than the single module, neither ethical intervention showed significant improvement over the control group. We also found that there was little distinction between males and females and no distinction by age, although education level did have an impact on ethical judgment. Our results of the experimental groups compared to the control group suggest that the approaches that many universities use to provide ethical instruction to engineers is not sufficient to have an impact on general ethical reasoning ability. We provide recommendations for improving ethics in engineering education, such as an integrative approach delivered at multiple points in the curriculum and incorporating discipline-specific context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5397-5403
Number of pages7
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2005
Event2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: The Changing Landscape of Engineering and Technology Education in a Global World - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 15 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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