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The second edition of the ASCE Body of Knowledge (BOK) states: For purposes of the civil engineering BOK, outcomes are statements that describe what individuals are expected to know and be able to do by the time of entry into the practice of Civil Engineering at the professional level in the 21st century—that is, attain licensure. Outcomes define the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that individuals acquire through appropriate formal education and prelicensure experience.1 It is quite likely that most civil engineering programs as they are currently structured do not fully meet this goal. The technical side of the BOK is probably addressed adequately, likely even more than adequately. However, all students who receive undergraduate degrees in civil engineering probably fail to adequately develop the full range of knowledge, attitudes, and skills suggested and implied by the BOK. Undergraduate civil engineering education would be greatly enhanced if the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) stressed in the BOK were more formally addressed in the curriculum. This objective will be more easily accomplished if resource material is available.
This primer was written as a resource for addressing some of the KSAs that are not specifically introduced in many undergraduate civil engineering programs. This primer was developed principally as a reference for an undergraduate course where topics identified in the ASCE Body of Knowledge are presented. The material covered in this primer is limited to the nontechnical aspects of civil engineering. The material presented in the book for each BOK outcome is intended as an introduction rather than thorough coverage, as an entire three-credit-hour course could be devoted to the individual BOK outcomes like leadership and communication.




In addition to civil engineering students, the primer could serve as a resource for those in other engineering disciplines, as many of the BOK outcomes are relevant to success in those fields. While the primer was conceived as a classroom resource, it would certainly be of value to those who have completed their formal education but have an interest in adding breadth to their technical knowledge. The goal of this primer is to introduce fundamental aspects of fourteen outcomes addressed in the second edition of the ASCE Body of Knowledge. Having an appreciation for these topics will lead to a broader perspective and understanding of the role that civil engineers play in society, as well as the impact society has on civil engineering and the impact of engineering on the world.
The following specific objectives will help the reader meet the stated goal:
1. To encourage introspection, self-evaluation, and development of a plan for increasing one’s breadth of knowledge
2. To develop attitudes that are essential to achieving both one’s potential and success in his or her engineering career
3. To advance the reader’s professional maturity and ability to be a leader in the civil engineering profession
4. To more fully appreciate the human values that are fundamental to professional practice and understand why these values are important in engineering practice 




The ASCE Body of Knowledge addresses the KSAs that should be mastered by engineers. Ideally, studying the material covered in this primer should encourage readers to expand both their knowledge of and interest in these topics. Ideally, readers will want to continue their professional development through study of all of the topics addressed by the Body of Knowledge. Discussion questions and group activities are included at the end of each chapter to invoke further introspection and research about the individual topics. Group discussions, especially if a knowledgeable facilitator is present, will provide a broader understanding of the importance of each topic to those practicing civil engineering.

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