Studying an accredited engineering courses program
The quickest route to senior jobs in the engineering profession is to obtain a degree in an engineering subject which is accredited by an engineering institution.
It is the established path to becoming a Chartered Engineer and, increasingly, a route to Incorporated Engineer.
Study can be at a university, or college or higher education and there are numerous subjects to choose from - large numbers of students study electrical and electronic engineering, civil and structural engineering and mechanical engineering. Smaller numbers study a broad range of other engineering degree subjects, including aeronautical, chemical, manufacturing and marine engineering.
Degrees combining two or more engineering subjects are also available and increasingly popular with those students who do not want to specialise is just one of the engineering disciplines.
All engineering degree courses include the study of design, the choice of materials, mathematics and practical application of the subject in real situations. Many also include elements of other subjects which are eventually of importance to engineers as their careers progress.
The minimum qualifications required for entry on to a degree course are two A-levels or Advanced GNVQ, but for many courses three A-levels or an Advanced GNVQ plus an A-level are necessary to gain a place.
An accredited Honours degree in an engineering describe is the foundation qualification for those wishing to become Chartered Engineers.
More than a fifth of undergraduates in engineering are sponsored through their degree course by an employer. Sponsorship provided not any financial benefits for students, but also available industrial training and experience.
Many engineering degrees are offered as sandwich courses which encourage students to obtain industrial experience working for the sponsor company between periods of academic study. A course leading to a Master of Engineering (MEng) degree would, typically, feature four years of study sandwiched between two years of workplace experience.
Students of some engineering degree courses are offered the option to extend their Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) studies for an extra year for their MEng qualification. These studies aim to broaden and deepen the learning and experience of students.
The fourth year allows more courses on engineering management to be included as well as providing an opportunity to study the engineering subject in greater depth than would be possible in just three years.
Standards for the education and training of professional engineers have been revised by the profession’s regulatory body, the Engineering Council, and the new requirements will be phased in from 1999.
The main changes, which will qualify engineers and technicians for admittance to the Council’s National Register as Chartered and Incorporated Engineers and Engineering Technicians, are:
- Chartered Engineer (CEng): Four years or equally by a three year accredited BEng (Hons) degree plus a further year of additional learning.
- Incorporated Engineer (Eng): Three years academic study, instead of two, by either a three year accredited IEng degree or a two year HND plus a further year of additional learning.
Key educational requirements for registration are in three stages all of which are being boosted under the new arrangements - an accredited engineering course, initial professional development by an accredited programme to build competence and professional breadth, and a professional review to assess competence and commitment. Membership of an engineering institution will remain obligatory.
Postgraduate study has increased in popularity in recent years - particularly if a research career is an attractive prospect or the student wished to study a particular aspect of engineering in greater depth.
Around 16 per cent of students who graduate in engineering every year go on to a course for a higher degree. Others go into employment first and return to academic study later. Also, in increasing number of master degrees can be studied part time, or by distance learning.
Postgraduate studies can be at many different levels. There are taught courses for certificates, diplomas and MScs. Certificates and diplomas take up to a year of academic study and culminate in an examination. Masters degrees additionally include a thesis on a relevant project which extends the period of study to a full calendar year.
The Author: Tony Miller, The Engineering Council, U.K.
This article first appeared in Educational Courses in Britain
Science & Engineering Courses and Colleges in the UK