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B.Sc. Physics, M.Sc. Engineering - Mistake?

  1. Mar 4, 2014 #1

    I would like to know everyone's opinion (preferably from those with hiring or first hand experience) regarding my chances of employment as an electrical engineer in the power industry, primarily with electric utility companies.

    I received my B.Sc. in Physics from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and I am finishing the last semester of my M.Sc. Electrical Power Engineering degree from RWTH Aachen University located in Aachen, Germany.

    My worry is that it will be difficult finding a job because I haven't graduated from an accredited ABET degree engineering program. I'm also worried employers will look down or be weary about my degree from abroad, even though it is a highly regarded University here in Germany and Europe.

    I currently have about two years previous internship experience in electrical engineering, however not specifically in the power industry. I am now applying for internship and entry-level positions.

    I would appreciate any feedback, positive or negative. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2014 #2
    Probably I'm not overly qualified to answer this(as I'm still a physics student), but I've read that in the united states, people with physics degrees can often work as engineers in industry. This may be mainly Phds though. I think in the United States, licensure is state by state. However, I believe that I read somewhere else that Canada is extremely strict on engineering, require anyone seeking licensure in engineering to have an accredited ABET engineering degree. This is what I've read though, perhaps licensed engineers from outside of Europe might chime in on this? Anyways, my two cents.
  4. Mar 4, 2014 #3
    I wouldn't see why they wouldn't accept a master of science in engineering from Germany. I have only seen people with degrees from China or Philippines not have their education transferred over. I am from Canada and often most people have their education transferred over after having their education assessed by the accreditation board and any remedial courses required taken.
  5. Mar 4, 2014 #4


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    Education Advisor

    As far as Canada is concerned, you are not strictly accurate. To obtain a P.Eng license to practice as an engineer (an equivalent of a PE license in the US), it is required that an individual needs to complete an accredited CEAB engineering degree from equivalent (or its equivalent elsewhere) or equivalent academic qualifications. According to the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) website (with link below), those who do not have an undergraduate degree in engineering from an accredited program will be assessed by the PEO to determine whether your degree is equivalent.


    To the OP, it sounds to me like your educational program will fit the criteria defined in the PEO site, so I don't foresee you having any problems finding employment as an engineer, at least from a licensing perspective.
  6. Mar 4, 2014 #5


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    It's not clear from your post if you plan to seek a PE license at some time in your career. You do not normally need a license in the US to work as an engineer in an engineering field as long as somebody at your place of employment is licensed. If you want to set up your own engineering business and advertise your services as an engineer, then a license is probably required, but you have to check state laws and regulations to be sure.
  7. Mar 9, 2014 #6
    Thank you for sharing this. I am relieved to know I can pursue my PE license in the future.

    However I am still concerned my bachelor education will forever put me at a disadvantage during the hiring process with employers. The reason I feel this way is because I have applied to many internship positions over the past few months in the utility sector in locations where the focus of power engineering is not taught at any universities in the entire state, yet I haven't even received an interview. I would assume with my background specifically in power engineering I would not only be an asset to the company but in the very least be considered for an interview. I spent much time and effort creating resumes and cover letters for each specific position, so it's hard for me to conclude something otherwise.

    I am now considering going back to university to finish a BSc in electrical engineering, but it seems very unnecessary to me in terms of the subjects I would be learning which are offered (mostly micro electronics).

    Hopefully this post doesn't sound like a rant. I'm just trying to gain an understanding of the employment situation for somebody with my background. Thanks in advance for reading and any advice people may give.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  8. Mar 9, 2014 #7
    I do plan to obtain a PE license, if only a company would give me a chance to gain experience without a BSc in EE.
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