Engineering Ethics

Honor and integrity are fundamental in Tau Beta Pi.  Fully worthy character is a basic membership requirement of the Association.  The character and reputation of Tau Beta Pi members must be above challenge.  The slightest suggestion of anything untoward in their actions or speech seriously reflects upon themselves, Tau Beta Pi, and their profession.

The honor and integrity of engineers comprise two elements.  First, they must conform to all the requirements of honesty and responsibility which are expected of the best citizens, regardless of occupation.  These standards have been known for ages.  They are learned in the churches, in good homes, and by association with refined people.  They identify high-grade, respectable persons.

Second, engineers must meet the requirements of the special ethics of their profession.  Every profession has established a code or standard to govern the conduct of its members in matters that pertain to the profession, and which do not concern lay citizens.

Many of the important national engineering societies have adopted their own codes.  In addition, the Engineers' Council for Professional Development (whose work in this area is now being performed by the American Association of Engineering Societies) formulated a code of ethics for engineers which  was consistent with the codes of the several societies.  The Council's code was designed to support the special codes of the societies, and to guide engineers in branches of the profession where there are no special codes.

A book entitled "Ethical Problems in Engineering" (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1965) should be read by every engineer for its importance in the application of rules of conduct among engineers, between engineers and their employers or clients, and between engineers and the public.

Every member of Tau Beta Pi should be familiar with the A.B.E.T. code of ethics of engineers.  Approved in its present form in 1977, the code is supported by a set of suggested guidelines for use with the fundamental canons.  The code is as follows:



Engineers uphold and advance the integrity. honor, and dignity of the engineering profession by:

  1. using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare;

  2. being honest and impartial,, and serving with fidelity the public, their employers, and clients;

  3. striving to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering profession; and

  4. supporting the professional and technical societies of their disciplines.


  1. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties.

  2. Engineers shall perform services only in the areas of their competence.

  3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.

  4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.

  5. Engineers shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly with others.

  6. Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the profession.

  7. Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.