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The Right Choice: Applying Ethics to Engineering

William A. (Bill) Brant, J.D., P.E.

Course Outline

This experience is designed to make each of you a better person, and, in doing so, make you an ethical engineer in a global society.

Why take ethics? How can ethics help me? What is engineering ethics? Isn't ethics just common sense? Can ethics be taught? How does engineering ethics help me? Can't I just go to a code? You and I will explore these questions.

As we humans expand to a global economy, global ethics, including engineering ethics, must expand. The global economy is driving us to become a single global society of combined other diverse societies. Societies must be ethical in order to co-exist together on our planet. Our own American society demands ethics. Ethics will become to the 21st Century, what the quality revolution was to the '70's, '80's, '90's, and continues today.

"The Right Choice: Applying Ethics to Engineering" will introduce you to thinking ethically and applying your ethics to engineering.

"The Right Choice" is based on the one hour plus lecture, presented to the San Antonio local chapters of ASME and ASM International; and, is written in a lecture style format rather than an academic dissertation. The intent is to make this course more practical, rather than an academic study.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the end of this experience, you will:

Intended Audience

All engineering disciplines, all levels of management, and anyone interested in ethics will benefit, both in the U.S. and globally, from this experience.

Benefit to Attendees

Upon completion, you will have gained confidence to think, predict, avoid or solve ethical dilemmas.

Course Introduction

Good versus evil, individual versus society, determine how we live our lives. Ethics keeps us grounded and determines our place in family and society. In a technical society, our ethics chooses what and how we use technology. Thinking ethically, applying ethics in our personal and professional lives, stakes our place in society. As our economies become global, our ethics stakes our claim in our society among other societies around the world.

This is our challenge, The Right Choice: Applying Ethics to Engineering, and, beyond.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (1.15 MB) The Right Choice: Applying Ethics to Engineering. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

Together, we have covered almost 2500 years of the philosophy of ethics in a nutshell. Along the way, we have self-assessed ourselves; "the unexamined life, is not worth living."

We have learned there is a common thread that ties religions and cultures together and are touchstones for a Global Society, that will require Global Ethics for cultures to co-exist on this planet. We have learned the forces applied to ethical situations. We have learned the 5P's or ethical precursors to predict ethical problems. We have learned the core ethical values. And, we have learned the legal analysis approach to solving ethical dilemmas.

We have studied examples of good and evil ethics to prepare us for our future challenges. We hope to be wiser.

Along the way, we have opened our hearts and minds to ethics, allowing us to make "The Right Choice: Applying Ethics to Engineering," and beyond.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.