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An engineer's degree refers to a various number of academic degrees relating to engineering:


In Europe

In Europe, it can be an approximately five-year degree roughly equivalent to a master's degree.

at 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.

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, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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.; in Austria also DI) . 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. [1] 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. (informatics) 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 and abbreviated dipl.ins., DI or M.Sc.(Tech.). It is possible to obtain after 4.5 years of studying, or even faster, but the average is around six years. Under the Bologna process, this is split into two parts, the first being one where the students can get 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 was Licenciado (5 years) and although almost totally equal to a Bologna Master, it was considered a simple Degree for foreign countries (the word engineer is Engenheiro - abbrev. Eng.). The Master also existed (Mestrado) and was a 2 years course over the previous 5 of the Licenciatura.

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. After the french "baccalaureat" (High School diploma), about 10% of students are accepted in "Classes preparatoires" (intensive classes), where physics, mathematics, or biology are taught. National Examinations, with restricted acceptances in the engineering schools, are realized after the first two years.

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 "dottore in Ingegneria" (abbrev. "dott."). After five years of engineering studies can be obtained the degree called "laurea magistrale in ingegneria" (MEng level) and the title of "dottore magistrale in Ingegneria" (abbrev. "dott."). After a "state exam" you become "Ingegnere" (abbrv. Ing)[2]

Romania followed the German system until 2009. The engineering degree was called "Diploma de inginer", and the graduate was called a "Inginer diplomat". This was sometimes considered 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. The master degree, called "Inginer Master" was obtained after following a one year post-graduate program. Some universities had called "Diploma de Sub-inginer" which is was 3 year course equivalent with a college degree. Following the [Bologna process] the graduates obtain the "Inginer licentiat" degree, after following a 4 years program. In this case the "Inginer Master" degree is obtained after an addidional 2 years graduate program.

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 de 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). There is also a shorter type of engineering degree called Ingeniero Técnico (Technical Engineer), which is a three-year degree (involving also a Degree Project) and is 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.[3]

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. In Serbian abbr. is dipl.inž. [4]

In the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom the highest award for non-postgraduate studies in engineering is the Master of Engineering (MEng). 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 (BEng) is usually a three year course (four in Scotland), or can also include a year in industry. Many universities offer the BEng, and may then allow a transfer onto the MEng.

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 MEng.

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(Honours) -BEng(Honours)-degree. The Post Graduate Diploma is mapped to a British Master of Engineering (MEng) degree.

Engineers who have been awarded a BEng(Ordinary) or BEng(Honours) and have appropriate training and experience in the work place are able to apply to become an Incorporated Engineer (IEng). If an engineer has studied beyond the BEng for an MSc or has an MEng, they may apply to become a Chartered Engineer (CEng), once they have completed the required amount of post graduate work-based competency training and experience. Competency and training requirements are met over a period of 4-8 years in practice for a total of 8-12 years education, training and professional responsibility. Formal structured post graduate training schemes such as the monitored professional development IMechE enable the Engineer in training to satisfy the requirements for Chartered Engineer faster.[5]

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

MIET-Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology is recognised as regulated engineering profession by virtue of the Statutory Instruments n.2007/2781-The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulation 2007-Directive European Union 2005/36/EC.

In the United States

In the United States, the bachelor's degree is the standard four year 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 two year master's degree is 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.

In Latin America

In Latin America, the bachelor's degree in engineering is non-existent and is granted only by few universities that try to follow the American model; most of them are in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Ecuador. In liberal arts and some natural sciences, the four year American bachelor's degree could be equivalent to a "licenciatura" (or licensed professional) in fields like anthropology, politics, economics, biology, nursing, etc. However, in the science and engineering fields, a fair comparison of a bachelor's degree would be the equivalent of "tecnólogo" or technologist degree in the field of interest (i.e. tecnólogo en electrónica). This is usually a career that last four years and it does not require a research thesis but a project of end of career in most cases. It should not be confused with an associated degree or technician's training because it requires the completion of typical engineering courses and foundations in basic sciences like mathematics, physics, and algebra. Nonetheless, the aim of a "tecnólogo" is to implement at a hardware or manufacturing level the design or theoretical model made by the "ingeniero" (engineer). Usually, the next step for a "tecnólogo" would be to follow an "ingeniería".

The "ingeniería", as in the same fashion of few American institutions, grants the diploma of "Ingeniero" or engineer, (not to be confused with a bachelor degree), which is a terminal career that train advanced practitioners and researchers depending on the desire of the student in pursuing the application of a theory or the development of a theoretical subject in engineering. Usually, the requirements to be accepted into candidacy for an engineering degree are the completion of the courses curriculum, thesis, and in most cases an internship in a company or lab where the students can sharp their skills. For an average terminal engineering degree, the credit courses to be completed exceeds the 220 without taking in consideration research hours, making an "ingeniería" one of the most extensive careers. It usually takes a time frame of 5 to 6 years, depending of the field, the completion of the curriculum after which the student is entitled to present the thesis plan. This thesis is advised normally by two university professors and could be research oriented or focused on the application of the field into a project of university interest. The thesis project can take in some cases up to 3 years to be completed. Some universities impose a deadline after which the student is obligated to take more refresh classes and present a new thesis plan.

Together with the degree of "físico" (physicist) and "matemático" (mathematician), a degree of "ingeniero" (engineer) in most Latin American countries, is the highest achievement in an engineering field. Magister's (master's) degrees are usually conferred in business administration (MBA) and in social sciences while doctorate degrees are traditionally granted only to medicine and law (i.e. Doctor en Medicina (M.D). and Doctor en Jurisprudencia (J.D)). Therefore, the requirement to be accepted into academia as a full professor or researcher of an engineering department in polytechnic institutes or universities in Latin America is the diploma of "Ingeniero", which can be assumed as the Ph.D. requirement for tenure track positions in American institutions.

Because of the educational structure of an "ingeniería" makes it equivalent to a post-master's degree, a typical master's degree or Ph.D. in engineering were not very popular in Latin American countries because they were seen as redundant. While a Ph.D. degree was born as a terminal diploma in countries with English based scheme like U.K, United States, Australia, India and some Caribbean Islands, the "ingeniero" degree was created as the top of an engineering career in Latin American countries and Spain. However, there is still a debate in trying to obtain fair curriculum equivalences between foreign degrees and the already terminal "ingeniería" careers.

In contrast with the USA, while few universities like MIT offer the terminal degree of engineer (i.e. Electrical Engineer degree or E.E), in most Latin American countries is still possible to find a wide variety of engineering fields at a graduate level, some of them even bilingual (English-Spanish). However, the general conception in the U.S.A. academia in regard to engineers who came from universities in Latin America to conduct research at a graduate level, is that they hold a bachelors of engineering degree due to misconception of the word "Ingeniero" (engineer) in addition to the fact that there is not a regulated path to convert their diplomas to a post-master degree. This issue represents an obstacle for Latin America engineers in improving their careers in American or European academia due to the common practice of accepting them into graduate school as bachelors of engineering, adding up more time for them to obtain Ph.D or post-doctoral opportunities.

The abbreviation for an "Ingeniero" is Ing. placed in front of the name (i.e. Ing. John Doe).

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.[6]


  1. ^ Beschluss der Kultusministerkonferenz vom 10.10.2003 i.d.F. vom 07.02.2008)
  2. ^ In Italy the state accreditation system, degrees and titles are regulated by state law. See regulations (in Italian) DM 4 Agosto 2000 for "laurea" (bachelor) and DM 28 Novembre 2000 for "laurea specialistica" (BEng(Hon)-master). Chartered professions (including engineering) are regulated by state law 328/01("D.P.R. 5 giugno 2001, n. 328").
  3. ^ National systems of engineering education, QA and accreditation", TREE – Teaching and Research in Engineering in Europe [1]
  4. ^ Ivan Klajn, Rečnik jezičkih nedoumica (NOLIT, Beograd)
  5. ^
  6. ^ Andrews, Gordon C. et al. (2006). Introduction to professional engineering in Canada. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada, ISBN 0-13-129440-7

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