This document is an adaptation of Acredita CI, of the Graduate Attributes and the Professional Competences elaborated by the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) and is an integral part of the Washington Accord, therefore it is an integral part of the quality criteria of Acredita CI.

After defining general concepts that make it possible to distinguish the characteristics of the different categories, the document presents the Graduate Attributes and the profile of professional competencies for engineers.

Engineering is an activity that is essential to meet the needs of people, economic development and the provision of services to society. Engineering involves the deliberate use of mathematics and the natural sciences, and of a body of knowledge of engineering, engineering technologies and techniques. Engineering seeks to produce solutions whose effects are anticipated in often uncertain contexts. Although it brings benefits, engineering activity has potential adverse effects. Consequently, engineering must be carried out responsibly and ethically, using available resources efficiently. It must also be economical, must safeguard health and safety, be ecological and sustainable, and generally must manage risks throughout the life cycle of a system.

Graduate Attributes are evaluable results, to attest that the educational objectives of the programs are being achieved.

The quality of a program depends not only on the stated objectives and the attributes evaluated, but also on the design, the committed resources, the teaching and learning processes of the program, and the evaluation of the students, including the confirmation that the Graduate Attributes are accomplished. Consequently, the Washington Accord bases the determination of the substantial equivalence of the programs accredited by the signatories, on the Graduate Attributes and on the best accreditation practices of which the signatory member accrediting agencies report.

Finally, an engineer who is trained based on the 12 AW attributes listed, is able to design solutions for complex problems based on the development of engineering activities that involve some or all of the aspects detailed here; and all this educational process is ensured with a solid knowledge base, as they are explained; will have a minimum professional performance similar to that detailed in this document as a Profile of Professional Competences. This profile can serve as a comparison parameter, to verify the minimum expected performance in graduates of Chilean engineering.

The graduate attributes adopted by the Washington Accord signatories are generic to the education of professional engineers in all engineering disciplines. They categorize what graduates should know, the skills they should demonstrate and the attitudes they should possess. The graduate attributes have been refined over more than a decade and in 2013 were adopted by the signatories as the exemplar (or reference point) against which substantial equivalence of their own accreditation requirements are to be assessed. In addition, the graduate attributes are intended to assist signatories and provisional members to develop outcomes-based accreditation criteria for use by their respective jurisdictions.

The key features of the graduate attributes are summarized in the following tables. A defining characteristic of professional engineering is the ability to work with complexity and uncertainty, since no real engineering project or assignment is exactly the same as any other (otherwise the solution could simply be purchased or copied). Accordingly, the attributes place as central the notions of complex engineering problems and complex problem solving.

The Washington Accord Graduate Attribute Profile has 12 elements, supported by a Knowledge Profile, WK1-WK8, and a definition of the Level of Problem Solving, WP1-WP7, both given below:

Graduate Attributes Definition

For Washington Accord Graduate

Engineering Knowledge: WA1: Apply knowledge of mathematics, natural science, engineering fundamentals and an engineering specialization as specified in WK1 to WK4 respectively to the solution of complex engineering problems.
Problem Analysis

 

WA2: Identify, formulate, research literature and analyze complex engineering problems reaching substantiated conclusions using first principles of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering sciences. (WK1 to WK4)
Design/ development of solutions: WA3: Design solutions for complex engineering problems and design systems, components or processes that meet specified needs with appropriate consideration for public health and safety, cultural, societal, and environmental considerations. (WK5)
Investigation: WA4: Conduct investigations of complex problems using research-based knowledge (WK8) and research methods including design of experiments, analysis and interpretation of data, and synthesis of information to provide valid conclusions.
Modern Tool Usage: WA5: Create, select and apply appropriate techniques, resources, and modern engineering and IT tools, including prediction and modeling, to complex engineering problems, with an understanding of the limitations. (WK6)
The Engineer and Society: WA6: Apply reasoning informed by contextual knowledge to assess societal, health, safety, legal and cultural issues and the consequent responsibilities relevant to professional engineering practice and solutions to complex engineering problems. (WK7)
Environment and Sustainability: WA7: Understand and evaluate the sustainability and impact of professional engineering work in the solution of complex engineering problems in societal and environmental contexts. (WK7)
Ethics: WA8: Apply ethical principles and commit to professional ethics and responsibilities and norms of engineering practice. (WK7)
Individual and Team work: WA9: Function effectively as an individual, and as a member or leader in diverse teams and in multi-disciplinary settings.
Communication: WA10: Communicate effectively on complex engineering activities with the engineering community and with society at large, such as being able to comprehend and write effective reports and design documentation, make effective presentations, and give and receive clear instructions.
Project Management and Finance:

 

WA11: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of engineering management principles and economic decision-making and apply these to one’s own work, as a member and leader in a team, to manage projects and in multidisciplinary environments.
Lifelong learning: WA12: Recognize the need for, and have the preparation and ability to engage in independent and life-long learning in the broadest context of technological change.

 

The Washington Accord Knowledge Profile has eight elements:

WK1: A systematic, theory-based understanding of the natural sciences applicable to the discipline.
WK2: Conceptually-based mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics and formal aspects of computer and information science to support analysis and modeling applicable to the discipline.
WK3: A systematic, theory-based formulation of engineering fundamentals required in the engineering discipline.
WK4: Engineering specialist knowledge that provides theoretical frameworks and bodies of knowledge for the accepted practice areas in the engineering discipline; much is as the forefront of the discipline.
WK5: Knowledge that supports engineering design in a practice area.
WK6: Knowledge of engineering practice (technology) in the practice areas in the engineering discipline.
WK7: Comprehension of the role of engineering in society and identified issues in engineering practice in the discipline: ethics and the professional responsibility of an engineer to public safety; the impacts of engineering activity: economic, social, cultural, environmental and sustainability.
WK8: Engagement with selected knowledge in the research literature of the discipline.
A program that builds this type of knowledge and develops the attributes listed below is typically achieved 4 to 5 years of study, depending on the level of students at entry. 

 

Complex Engineering Problems: They are those that cannot be solved without a deep engineering knowledge that considers one or several of the following characteristics, which provide a fundamental basis, an analytical approach based on fundamental principles for it.

  1. a) Deep theory-based knowledge of the engineering fundamentals necessary in the discipline.
  2. b) Specialized engineering knowledge that provides the theoretical and practical frameworks for the engineering discipline; many of which are at the forefront of the discipline.
  3. c) Knowledge that supports engineering design in a specific area (practice).
  4. d) Knowledge of engineering tools (technology) in the practice areas of the engineering discipline.
  5. e) Selected knowledge of the research literature on the discipline.

 

And they have one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. Involves technical or engineering matters and others of great scope or in conflict.
  2. They do not have an obvious solution and require abstract thinking, originality in the analysis to formulate adequate models.
  3. They involve infrequent problems.
  4. They are out of norms, standards and codes
  5. They involve several interest groups with very different needs (and even in conflict).
  6. They are high-level problems that include many components or sub-problems.
  7. They have significant consequences in a wide range of contexts
  8. Requires judgment in decision making

 

The attributes of Complex Engineering Activities, some of which might reasonable be encountered by a professional engineering undergraduate (i.e. during capstone design or a period of industry experience):

Range of resources EA1: it implies the use of diverse resources (and for this purpose, resources include people, money, equipment, materials, information and technologies).
Interactions level EA2: it requires the resolution of important problems that arise from the interactions between technical, engineering or other, long-range or conflicting problems.
Innovation EA3: involves the creative use of engineering principles and research-based knowledge to produce changes or new looks.
Consequences for society and the environment EA4: have significant consequences in a variety of contexts, characterized by the difficulty of prediction and mitigation.
Familiarity EA5: it can be extended beyond previous experiences by applying criteria based on principles.

 

An engineer who is educated based on the above guidelines, will have a Professional Competences profile similar to that detailed below. The program may use these guidelines as support to verify their own results.

Characteristic Professional Engineer
Comprehend and apply universal knowledge. EC1: Comprehend and apply advanced knowledge of the widely-applied principles underpinning good practice.
Comprehend and apply local knowledge. EC2: Comprehend and apply advanced knowledge of the widely-applied principles underpinning good practice specific to the jurisdiction in which he/she practices.
Problem analysis. EC3: Define, investigate and analyse complex problems.
Design and development of solutions. EC4: Design or develop solutions to complex problems.
Evaluation. EC5: Evaluate the outcomes and impacts of complex activities.
Protection of society. EC6: Recognise the reasonably foreseeable social, cultural and environmental effects of complex activities generally, and have regard to the need for sustainability; recognise that the protection of society is the highest priority.
Legal and regulatory. EC7: Meet all legal and regulatory requirements and protect public health and safety in the course of his or her activities.
Ethics. EC8: Conduct his or her activities ethically.
Manage engineering activities. EC9: Manage part or all of one or more complex activities.
Communication. EC10: Communicate clearly with others in the course of his or her activities.
Lifelong learning. EC11: Undertake CPD activities Enough to maintain and extend his or her competence.
Judgement. EC12: Recognize complexity and assess alternatives in light of competing requirements and incomplete knowledge. Exercise sound judgement in the course of his or her complex activities.
Responsibility for decisions. EC13: Be responsible for making decisions on part or all of complex activities.