Engineering ethical curricula: Assessment and comparison of two approaches

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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


The paper assesses two approaches for delivery of engineering ethics: a full semester ethics course and an engineering course that includes an ethics module. The Defining Issues Test was used to compare the improvement of a student's moral reasoning ability in each class as compared to a control class. Our findings were that the module approach used did not provide any improvement in moral reasoning. In addition, although the ethics course showed improvement when compared to the module, it was not significantly different from the control class. We also found that there was little distinction between males and females and no distinction by age, although education level did have an impact. The results suggest that to improve a student's moral reasoning and sensitivity to ethical issues, engineering ethics must be integrative, delivered at multiple points in the curriculum, and incorporate specific discipline context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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