The Engineering Body of Knowledge contains 30
capabilities categorized in three areas: Basic or
Foundational, Technical, and Professional Practice.
The full Engineering BOK is intended to apply across
the engineering profession, for each engineering
discipline and employment situation. (The capabilities
are featured in Appendix D of the report.)
Basic or Foundational
1. Mathematics >> Mathematics enables engineers to use logic
and calculations to work on practical problems.
2. Natural Sciences >> Physical and biological sciences are the
foundation of engineering.
3. Humanities and Social Sciences >> The humanities examine
the “what” of human values and the societal sciences the “how.”
4. Manufacturing/Construction >> Manufactured products and
constructed infrastructure are a major factor in determining the
quality of life.
5. Design >> Design is the means by which ideas become reality
and which enables useful products and projects to be manufactured and constructed.
6. Engineering Economics >> Economic analysis is essential in
7. Engineering Science >> Engineering science is the bridge from
pure science to engineering.
8. Engineering Tools >> Engineers must keep abreast of the tools
being used and developed in their area of expertise.
9. Experiments >> Experiments provide insight into cause and
effect by demonstrating what outcome occurs when a particular
factor is changed.
10. Problem Recognition and Solving >> The essence of engineering is recognizing and solving problems.
11. Quality Control and Quality Assurance >> The measure of a
project’s quality is how well the results conform to all requirements.
12. Risk, Reliability, and Uncertainty >> Risk, reliability, and/or
uncertainty assessment is essential in engineering practice.
13. Safety >> In manufacturing, safety is an integral component of
design to ensure the safety of workers and consumers of products.
14. Societal Impact >> An understanding of societal context is a
critical aspect of most engineering activities.
15. Systems Engineering >> Systems engineering seeks to make
the best use of personnel, material, equipment, and energy.
16. Operations and Maintenance >> The safe, reliable, and cost-effective operation and maintenance of engineered systems and
works requires engineering supervision.
17. Sustainability and Environmental Impact >> Engineers should
focus on sustainable materials, processes, systems, and resource
and energy use.
18. Technical Breadth >> In order to function as members of
multidisciplinary teams, engineers need to have a working knowledge of other disciplines.
19. Technical Depth >> As technology advances, technical depth in
a given field becomes more important.
20. Business Aspects of Engineering >> Engineers work within a
business framework and must recognize the related opportunities
21. Communication >> An engineer needs to communicate effectively with technical and nontechnical audiences.
22. Ethical Responsibility >> Ethical values and principles manifest themselves in all engineering practice areas.
23. Global Knowledge and Awareness >> The effectiveness of
engineers will increasingly be determined by their understanding
of global developments and influences.
24. Leadership >> The engineer who is in a leadership mode
moves a team or group into new areas.
25. Legal Aspects of Engineering >> Engineers working on projects must be aware of and comply with applicable local, state, and
federal laws and regulations.
26. Lifelong Learning >> Lifelong learning is necessary in order to
remain current in the midst of changes in knowledge, technology,
27. Professional Attitudes >> An engineer’s attitudes are important components of professionalism.
28. Project Management >> Project management is the process
by which an engineering organization meets deliverable, schedule,
and budget requirements and manages human resources.
29. Public Policy and Engineering >> Although public policy
affects the various types of engineering practice in different ways,
all engineers are impacted.
30. Teamwork >> Engineers serve on teams and must function
effectively as team members.
NSPE is encouraging individual profes-
sionals of all disciplines and experience
levels and other stakeholders to take a look
at the EBOK and to provide commentary and
feedback for future editions. Is the EBOK too
broad? Are there any capabilities that aren’t
a part of your engineering practice? Is there
a missing capability? “We are hoping that
they will review this and see things that
they hadn’t thought of before that are clearly
a part of engineering practice and incorpo-
rate this into what they are doing,” says
Musselman. “This is looking to the future,
but it’s also looking at current practice.”
Walesh adds, “It would be great if
faculty members do something different in
their courses because of the EBOK or if a
young person would choose an engineering
career because they see these attributes
and say, ‘I want to be like that.’” PE
NSPE is seeking feedback on the first edition
of the Engineering Body of Knowledge and
anticipates that a second edition will be
prepared in the future to incorporate such
input. Review the EBOK at www.nspe.org/
of-knowledge.pdf and send your written
comments to NSPE General Counsel Arthur
Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.