Repositioning ethics at the heart of engineering graduate attributes

Alison Gwynne-Evans*, S Junaid, Manimagalay Chetty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The integration of ethics in engineering education has largely been focused at the curriculum design level. The authors posit that this integration be done at the accreditation level and investigate how ethics may be more extensively incorporated in the documentation of a particular engineering accreditation body’s qualification standards.
The paper proceeds, by means of a narrative review, to justify an expanded conception of the teaching of ethics within engineering education. It builds a synthesis of contrasting conceptual approaches to the teaching of ethics within engineering and proposes a conceptual framework to guide both regulators and educators to identify and engage with different elements of the ethics across the curriculum within an engineering programme.
The South African case study provides a context to engage with existing policy
formulation around programme accreditation and to demonstrate the application of the proposed conceptual framework across the graduate attributes to indicate how ethics might be more comprehensively integrated within an engineering programme.
This demonstrates that ethics needs to be repositioned at the centre of the preparation of engineers, rather than at the periphery. The expected consequence of this integration is the more extensive incorporation of ethics within and across accredited engi-neering
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-24
Number of pages18
JournalAustralasian Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • Engineering education
  • accreditation standards
  • competence
  • conceptual framework
  • ethics in engineering
  • graduate attributes


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