industrial engineer

Engineer's degree

An engineer's degree is a graduate academic degree intermediate in rank between a master's degree and a doctoral degree in the United States. In Europe, it can be an approximately five-year degree roughly equivalent to a master's degree.

The Engineer's degree in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom the highest award for non-postgraduate studies in engineering is the Master of Engineering (M.Eng). In England, Northern Ireland and Wales this is a four-year course or a 'sandwich' five-year course (with one year spent working in industry). In Scotland, it is a five year course. The Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng) is usually a three year course (four in Scotland), or can also include a year in industry. Many universities offer the B.Eng, and may then allow a transfer onto the M.Eng.

The Engineering Council Graduate Diploma is set at the same level as the final year of a British BEng and its Postgraduate Diploma is set at the same level as the final year of a British M.Eng.

The Graduateship in engineering, awarded by the City & Guilds of London Institute (Institution Established in 1878 recognized by Royal Charter n.117 year 1900), is mapped to a British Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree. The Post Graduate Diploma is mapped to a British Master of Engineering (MEng) degree.

Engineers who have been awarded a B.Eng and have appropriate training and experience in the work place are able to apply to become an Incorporated Engineer (I.Eng). If an engineer has studied beyond the B.Eng in some way or has an M.Eng, they may apply to become a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng), once they have completed the required amount of post graduate work-based competency training and experience.

Chartered Engineer and Incorporated Engineer titles awarded by the Engineering Council UK, are broadly equivalent to North American Professional Engineer (P.Eng / P.E) and Professional Technologist (P.Tech) designations, but with often a far greater geographical recognition.

MIET-Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology is recognised as practitioner of engineering profession by virtue of the Statutory Instruments n.2007/2781-The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulation 2007

The Engineer's degree in the United States

In the United States, the bachelor's degree is the standard undergraduate degree awarded to engineering students and is generally the only degree required for licensure (that is, it is the first professional degree in the field). For graduate students, the master's degree is by far the most common route, which may be followed by the doctorate. The Degree of Engineer or Engineer's Degree is the least commonly obtained advanced degree in engineering. It is usually preceded by a master's degree and is not a prerequisite to a doctoral degree. It serves as a terminal degree for practicing engineers. The availability of degrees and the specific requirements differ considerably between institutions and between specialties within an institution. Officially, both undergraduate programs and graduate programs at the master's-level may receive ABET-accreditation, but ABET will only accredit a bachelor's or a master's degree at a given institution (not both). In practice, although undergraduate accreditation is common, master's-level accreditation is rare unless an undergraduate program is not available (for example, the Naval Postgraduate School).

In many other fields, the master's degree would naturally be followed by a traditional research doctorate (Ph.D.). But in this case, the engineer's degree provides an alternative that has been tailored for professionals rather than academicians. Some schools, Stanford and Caltech for example, require a thesis. But, the requirements are generally less than those of Ph.D. candidates and more comparable to those of most Master of Science students. Others, like Santa Clara University, do not have a specific research requirement. For this reason, many consider an engineer's degree to be on a level between a master's degree and a doctorate. Nonetheless, it is in fact a terminal degree, much like the Ed.S. degree in education.

In the past, it was not uncommon for a would-be engineer to earn an engineer's degree as their first and only college degree. But since World War II this has fallen out of favor, and it becomes continually more difficult to find a school that offers this option.

Note: A degree with some form of the word "engineer(ing)" in the title is not necessarily an engineer's degree in this sense. Particularly, a "Master of Engineering" (M.Eng.) or "Engineering Doctorate" (Eng. D) degree is not an Engineer's degree, nor is any other bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree. Rather, the engineer's degree is in a category of its own. For example, a student with a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering might next earn the degree Electrical Engineer. The person would then have a B.S. in E.E., a M.S. in E.E., and an E.E. degree. The former two are degrees in engineering, and only the latter degree is actually an Engineer's degree.

Common abbreviations of engineering disciplines (U.S. and Canada)

An abbreviation of the discipline is often used to represent an engineer's degree where one might typically use M.S. or Ph.D. Several are potentially ambiguous, especially P.E.

  • Agricultural Engineer - Ag. E. or A.E.
  • Biomedical Engineer - B.M.E.
  • Chemical Engineer - Ch. E. or Chem. E.
  • Petroleum Engineer - P.E.
  • Building Engineer - B.E.
  • Ceramic Engineer - Cer. E.
  • Civil Engineer - C.E.
  • Clinical Engineer - C.E.
  • Computer Engineer - Cp. E.
  • Electrical Engineer - E.E.
  • Electronics Engineer - Ec. E
  • Industrial Engineer - I.E.
  • Structural Engineer - S.E
  • Software Engineer - S.E. or S.W.E.
  • Engineer in Aeronautics and Astronautics - E.A.A.
  • Engineer in Computer Science - E.C.S.
  • Engineer in Mechanics - E.M.
  • Environmental Engineer - Env. E.
  • General Engineer - G.E.
  • Geological Engineer - G.E.
  • Materials Engineer - Mat. E.
  • Mechanical Engineer - Mech. E. or M.E.
  • Manufacturing Engineer - Mfg. E
  • Mechatronic Engineer - M.T.E.
  • Metallurgical Engineer - Met. E.
  • Mining Engineer - Min. E
  • Naval Engineer - Nav. E.
  • Nuclear Engineer - Nucl. E.
  • Ocean Engineer - Ocean. E.
  • Production Engineer - Prod. E.
  • Systems Engineer - Sys. E.

Engineer's degrees in Canada

Engineering is a professional degree in Canada, and is regulated provincially, by organizations such as the PEO (Professional Engineers Ontario). The requirements to be a Professional Engineer (P.Eng, or ing. in Quebec) include being a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, having reached the age of majority, passing the professional practice examination, satisfying work experience requirements and being of good character, as confirmed by references. Accreditation is evaluated by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board, a standing committee of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. The time required to qualify as a P.Eng is usually four years, or five years after graduating with an engineering degree. The post graduate experience includes some form of internship experience.

Engineer's degrees in Europe

In most countries of continental Europe, universities specializing in technical studies have awarded their students an engineer's degree instead of a master's degree. The typical length of studies for an engineer's degree has been five years.

Following the introduction of the Bologna process, it has instead become increasingly common for the universities to split technical studies into two parts, the first being the one after which they award the bachelor's degree (baccalaureus, typically three years), and the second part being an optional two years, upon the successful completion of which they award either the engineer's degree or a master's degree (MEng or MSc).

Countries have varied in the implementation of the Bologna process. Most traditional universities continue to have a primary academic degree program distinct from the program to obtain the Bachelor of Engineering degree. For example, in Finland the two concepts — academic and vocational engineering degree — remain separate, even if the qualification no longer requires one or the other de jure.

A German-style engineer's degree is considered equivalent to an MSc degree in U.S. or UK and in international context, the holders of the Engineer's degree are authorized to use MSc. However, there has been some debate over whether the Engineers should differentiate themselves from a Master of Science, this degree having become victim of inflation lately.

Because the European high school curriculum covers the topics of the typical U.S. freshman year, the five-year-long engineer's degree may legitimately be considered the complete equivalent of the U.S. degree. This case moreover, is supported by the fact that in some parts of Europe, only the most academically able are able to finish their engineering degrees in the time officially prescribed, and the fact that many European states have a rather longer academic year than in the United States.

European institutions in some states argue that a suggestion that American degrees are superior on grounds of their apparent length is unfounded, given these observations. As a final observation, note as an example that the Delft University of Technology does not accept the US secondary school qualification as sufficient for entry.

In France, engineering is taught in Ecoles d'Ingénieurs, which are part of the French Grandes écoles system. Since the Bologna process, the Diplôme d'Ingénieur is officially considered to be at the level of a European master's degree.

Individual country variants before Bologna

In countries with significant German influence on higher education, the engineer's degree was one attained as a Diplom, and was typically awarded after around five years of study. In addition to Germany itself, this has included states like Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.

In German, the traditional engineer's degree is called Diplom-Ingenieur (abbr. Dipl.-Ing.) . This degree is generally equivalent to a Master's degree, which is not to be confused with the old Magister degree. Most programs that used to lead to a Dipl.-Ing. degree lead to Master's degrees today, as the Diplom-Ingenieur as an academical title is phased out because of the Bologna process.

The German University of Applied Sciences (in Germany also called Fachhochschulen) awarded the traditional engineering degree Diplom-Ingenieur (FH) (abbr. Dipl.-Ing (FH)). This degree also required to write a Diplom thesis. This is also being modified by the Bologna process, as bachelor and master degrees from a University of Applied Sciences are equal to the degrees from a traditional university. Universities of Applied Sciences are phased out and they are changed to universities with own faculties and research institutes. These universities are strongly focused on fields like computer science, engineering or business schools. Subjects like Law or Human Medicine etc. which requires a Staatsexamen (state exam) can only studied on the traditional universities. Since 2005, most Universities in Germany offer Bachelor degree programmes (B.Sc., B.Eng. and others) and Master programmes that lead to the academic degree Master of Science, Master of Engineering, Master of Business Administration and others. Because of the Bologna process the engineering degrees Dipl.-Ing.(FH), Dipl.-Ing., Dipl.-Inf is phased out by Master and Bachelor degrees. For example, most companies who searched for an experienced Diploma Engineer in Germany will search in future for a M.Eng., M.Sc., B.Sc., B.Eng. The German style Diploma Engineer is the same as the Master of Engineering in the U.S.

In Turkey typical length of study for professional engineering degree is 4 years. Engineering degree is called mühendis, from word hendese(geometry), meaning "one who knows geometry and calculation". The title is limited by law to people with an engineering degree, and the use of the title by others (even persons with much more work experience) is illegal.

In Finnish, the engineer's degree is called diplomi-insinööri (abbr. DI), and is obtained after six years of studying. Under the Bologna process, this is split into two parts, the first being one where the students are awarded the intermediate tekniikan kandidaatti degree.

In Finland, the degree B.Eng (insinööri (AMK)) is a professional degree from a Finnish University of Applied Sciences (aka ammattikorkeakoulu)

In the western Slavic-speaking countries, the engineer's degree is called inżynier (Polish), inžinier (Slovak) or inženýr (Czech), the abbreviation is Ir. (inż. in Poland, Ing. in the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and is written before the person's name.

In Poland, the degree of inżynier is available after 3, 3.5 or 4 years of studies (like licencjat in non-engineering science) after final thesis completed (rather easier subjects taken than for MSc.). A magister inżynier (abbr. mgr inż. placed before the name of degree holder) refers to MSc. and engineer together, and is available after 5-years study and final thesis completed.

In Belgium, the degree is Burgerlijk Ingenieur or Ingénieur Civil (abbrev. Ir.). Belgium is particularly noteworthy as having a system under which demands made on students of engineering are particularly severe.

In Portugal, the degree is Engenheiro (abbrev. Eng.), and in Spain it is called Ingeniero (Ing).

In Greece, the degree is Διπλωματούχος Μηχανικός (diplomatouhos mihanikos) and the abbreviation is Διπλ.-Μηχ..

In the Netherlands, somebody holding an engineer's degree is an ingenieur. The abbreviation is ing. for en engineer's degree at "hoger beroeps onderwijs" or higher vocational education level and ir. for an engineer's degree at the "Wetenschappelijk onderwijs" or scientific educationlevel. Under the Bologna agreement these are being replaced by English-language abbreviations (B.Sc, BBE, M.Sc, etc.), however it should be noted that Dutch (WO) engineering qualifications are extremely demanding and are rarely for example completed in the nominal time. Note further, that an ing. engineer having completed a 4 year HBO or HTS Higher technical school college course, may enter a nominally 5 year ir. (internationally 3+2 year B.Sc+M.Sc) course at the start of its 4th (1st M.Sc) year, only on completion of a demanding 1 year "schakelprogramma" or crossover programme.

In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the degree is Civilingeniør/Sivilingeniør/Civilingenjör (regardless of the actual specialty and thus not to be confused with the English civil engineer). This retains the 19th century idea that the "actual" engineers were the military ones.

In Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, the degree is специалист инженер (specialist inzhenyer), a first degree after 5 years of study.

In France, the degree is Diplôme d'Ingénieur, while the title is Ingénieur diplômé (ID) but is never used before the holder's name. The degree can be obtained after five years of engineering studies after the Baccalauréat.

In Italy until 2001 there was two degree: 3 years long "diploma in ingegneria" (BEng level, title abbrev. "dipl. ing.") and 5 years long "laurea in ingegneria" (MEng level, title abbrev. "ing."). Since 2001 reform, the bachelor level is called "laurea" (abbrev. "L") and master degree level is called "laurea specialistica" or "laurea magistrale" (abbrev. "LS"). Accordingly, today after 3 years of engineering studies can be obtained the degree called "laurea in ingegneria" (BEng level) and the title of "Ingegnere junior" (abbrev. "ing. jr."). After five years of engineering studies can be obtained the degree called "laurea magistrale in ingegneria" (MEng level) and the title of "Ingegnere" (abbrev. "ing.").

Romania follows the French system and the engineering degree is called "Diploma de inginer", this being a 5 year degree course equivalent to a Master's degree (MSc/M.Eng). The five year course concludes with a comprehensive set of specialising exams ("examen de diploma"). Marks 9 or 10 are considered exceptional. Some universities award a so called "Diploma de Sub-inginer" which is a 3 year course equivalent to a B.Eng degree.

The situation in Spain is very similar to French one but for the non-existence of Grandes Écoles. Engineer's degrees traditionally used to be (at least nominally) six-year programs but the tendency since the mid 90s has been to reduce them to five years. The last step to get the degree is the Proyecto Fin de Carrera (Degree Project), which involves a combination of application development and some research work. Students submit a dissertation that they have to defend. The Spanish official name for the degree is Ingeniero (Engineer) but it is also frequently mentioned as Ingeniero Superior (Higher Engineer) in order to distinguish it from the Ingeniero Técnico (Technical Engineer) degree, which is a three-year degree (involving also a Degree Project) roughly equivalent to a Bachelor of Engineering. A distinctive characteristic of Spanish engineering degrees is that the average duration of studies up to graduation is about 40% above the nominal duration and that the drop-out rate is considerable.

In Croatia, the old system included the engineer's degrees diplomirani inženjer (abbr. which was awarded by university faculties, and a lower ranked engineer's degrees inženjer (abbr. ing.) which was awarded by polytechnics, in a similar vein to the situation in the Netherlands. The old degree could later be upgraded to a magistar (abbr. mr., Magister degree) and then a doktor (abbr. dr., Doctorate). The situation was the same in other countries previously part of Yugoslavia.


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