This Code is concerned with how certain fundamental imperatives apply to one's conduct as an engineering professional. These imperatives are expressed in a general form to emphasize that principles which apply to engineering ethics are derived from more general ethical principles.

It is understood that some words and phrases in a code of ethics are subject to varying interpretations, and that any ethical principle may conflict with other ethical principles in specific situations. Questions related to ethical conflicts can best be answered by thoughtful consideration of fundamental principles, rather than reliance on detailed regulations.


Engineering is a profession that requires its practitioners to be well educated and knowledgeable. Systems Engineering, in particular, is a unique discipline in that 1) it is highly integrative, spanning elements of many activities, 2) often provides representation of stakeholders' interests other than employer or client, and 3) operates in largely international arenas where value systems, beliefs and customs vary widely. The practice of Systems Engineering can result in significant social and environmental benefits, but only if unintended and undesired effects are considered and mitigated.

Fundamental Principles

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

  • Being honest and impartial; 
  • Maintaining the highest levels of integrity and keeping abreast of the knowledge of their disciplines;
  • Striving to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering profession; and
  • Supporting the educational institutions, the professional societies and technical societies of their disciplines.

Fundamental Duties to Society and Public Infrastructure

  • Guard the public interest and protect the environment, safety and welfare of those affected by engineering activities and technological artifacts.
  • Accept responsibility for your actions and engineering results, including being open to ethical scrutiny and assessment.
  • Proactively mitigate unsafe practice.
  • Manage risk using knowledge granted by a whole system viewpoint and understanding of systemic interfaces.
  • Promote the understanding, implementation, and acceptance of prudent Systems Engineering measures.

Rules of Practice

  • Act legally, honorably, honestly, justly, and responsibly.
  • Respect, protect, and preserve the intellectual properties of others.
  • Honor all legal contracts and agreements.
  • Treat all constituents fairly.
  • Give prudent advice. Be truthful, objective, and maintain your professional and technical integrity.
  • Provide diligent and competent services to the best of your ability.
  • Respect the trust and the privileges granted to you.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance thereof.

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