Ethical thinking in examination at LTH

  • David Alcer
  • Therese Olsson
  • Jakob Petersson
  • Seyedmohammad Kahangi Shahreza
Keywords: Ethics, engineering, examination, education, LTH


One important aspect of engineering work is the responsibility to make moral decisions that are both efficient and worthwhile for the company and the society as a whole. This can lead to dilemmas where the engineer must come to critical assessments and take proactive decisions to avoid harmful outcomes. For this reason, training in ethical thinking is required to be a part of the university curriculum for engineering students in several countries, including Sweden. The main question concerning its implementation is about the form the ethical aspects take in the curriculum. The two most widespread models are stand-alone courses and ethics across the curriculum. We discuss the advantages associated with each approach and suggest that a well implemented ethics across the curriculum setup is preferable as the backbone of engineering ethics education. We also argue that the examination plays a crucial role in the inclusion of ethical aspects based on the principle of constructive alignment. Therefore, one core focus of this work will be on the role of ethical considerations in examination situations.

General syllabus and learning outcomes of PhD and master degree programs at Lund Tekniska Högskola (LTH) were checked to find out the importance of ethics in them, finding only a quite limited amount of engineering ethics content. We have also interviewed 14 educators at LTH to get a hint of what they think about including ethical thinking in their courses and examinations. I general most responders found this important, but difficult to achieve.