July 08, 2019  —  August 04, 2019


Online - Course

Contact Hours



The study of professional ethics is more than simply a hypothetical exercise, it is the very foundation of engineering practice.   Many practicing engineers in the United States swear an oath to uphold the “Obligation of an Engineer” upon completion of their degree.  Among other things, the Obligation pledges integrity, respect, and honesty for the good of the public.  This course will explore the history of professional ethics; the ethical canons upheld by national engineering societies; and the narrow line that separates legal and professional responsibilities.

Continue your personal and professional development with this course, which addresses the importance of holding paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of your professional duties.

Each week, a new module will be released, including a recorded lecture, quiz, discussion forum and homework assignment. You will have 7 days to review the lecture and complete the weekly assignments. The instructor will be available by email and phone for questions and comments during the class and will be interacting with students through the weekly discussion forum. The 4-week class will take approximately 6-8 hours to complete over the 4-week period.




WEEK ONE: What is Professional Ethics, and why should you care?

  • The philosophy behind professional ethics and historical perspectives
  • Micro, Macro, and Meta Ethics
  • Public perception
  • Quiz
  • Homework Assignment: Case Study – ASCE Case #1: The Challenger
  • Discussion Topic: How was the Challenger disaster due to an ethical mistake?

WEEK TWO: The Canons of Engineering Ethics

  • ASCE Code of Ethics
  • NSPE Code of Ethics
  • The Common Canon – Safety, Health, & Welfare of the Public
  • Quiz
  • Homework Assignment: Case Study – ASCE Case #4: Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse
  • Discussion Topic: At what point during the design process did the Engineer of Record violate the ethical standard of holding paramount the safety, health, & welfare of the public?

WEEK THREE:  Liability Versus Professional Accountability

  • The distinction between Liability and Professional Accountability
  • Personal involvement – Integrating professional ethics into everyday practice
  • Quiz
  • Homework Assignment: Case Study – ASCE Case #3: Former Vice President Spiro Agnew
  • Discussion Topic: Just because an action can be legally performed, does not make it an ethical choice.  Give an example from your industry of an unethical choice/action that is not explicitly illegal.  What drives that choice/action?

WEEK FOUR:  Practical Exercise on Current Events

  • Ethics and the Environment
  • Continuing Education – Professional Development
  • Case Study of the UCF Footbridge Collapse
  • Quiz
  • Homework Assignment: ASCE Interview – A discussion on Engineering Ethics
  • Discussion Topic: Choose one of the three topics from this week’s lecture (Environment, Professional Development, UCF Collapse) and provide a paragraph discussing your interpretation of the ethical argument presented.

Who Should Attend

o This course is intended for professionals within the engineering and construction industry with an interest in discussions on ethical responsibilities and decision-making for designers, inspectors, and contractors. It is also designed to provide 1 Professional Development Hour for Professional Engineers whose out-of-state licensure (i.e. MD, DE, NJ, etc) requires professional ethics training.

Registration and Payment

The following registration fees cover the session, all course materials and meals:

Local Government: $75.00
State/Federal: $125.00
Private Industry: $300.00

Click here for UVA TTA's general registration information, cancellation policy, and refund policy. UVA TTA accepts the following credit cards: American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Discover. Credit card information cannot be taken over the phone. Alternatively, after registering you can print out a voucher to send in with your payment. After you have completed the transaction you will receive an automatically generated email confirming registration and payment if applicable. Final confirmation and instructions will be sent out during the week prior to the class date.

Don't have access to a computer?
to get a paper registration form (PDF). Print it out, complete it, and email, mail or FAX it to our office following the instructions on the form. Include your check or government purchase order with your registration form. Please note that emailed or faxed-in registration forms will be considered as a "provisional booking" until payment is received. For more information, call our office at (434) 982-2897, fax at (434) 982-2856 or email uva-tta@virginia.edu