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Engineering Engineering Accreditation With Only the Graduate Degree?

  1. Jun 13, 2010 #1
    I'm an undergraduate student who is trying to decide whether to pursue a major in physics or mechanical engineering. This forum has been very informative and thanks to all the information I've found here, I have ALMOST made up my mind.

    However, I need to know one last thing. Does anyone here know of whether it is possible to obtain the Professional Engineer designation in Canada with a science undergraduate degree and a graduate degree in engineering? And if yes, whether or not the engineering graduate degree by itself would be enough preparation for the academic examinations which would no doubt need to be taken in order to obtain the designation?

    It seems to imply on the websites of the various engineering accreditation boards that YES, one can get the Professional Engineer designation without the undergraduate degree. However, it is not very clear and I remember reading somewhere on these forums that this cannot be done.

    If somebody could clarify this for me, it would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2010 #2
    I found a source from Wikipedia that reads "Through the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB), Engineers Canada accredits Canadian undergraduate engineering programs that meet the profession's education standards. Graduates of those programs are deemed by the profession to have the required academic qualifications to be licensed as professional engineers in Canada."

    I'd take note of the fact that the CEAB accredits only UNDERGRADUATE engineering programs -- at least according to Wiki

    Good luck.
  4. Jun 15, 2010 #3


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    It is possible, in at least two provinces (Alberta and BC). HOWEVER, you'll need to take a bunch of engineering courses (they're usually not technical in nature, more along the lines of econ, finance, management, etc.) and be supervised by a P.Eng doing P.Eng type stuff (i.e. not programming, not exclusively, anyways). I had a fellow grad student friend who did just that, a little while ago.

    A few years back, one of APEGGA or the CEAB decided they wanted faculty in our Faculty to actually be Engineers (many came from Physics backgrounds, or hadn't bothered with getting P.Eng or even signing themselves up as EITs). It was surreal seeing profs you'd had a few hours before in the same undergrad Engineering Economics class as you. In any case, I believe that many engineers[1] from overseas also have to take these classes in order to achieve P.Eng designation.

    However, I had a one or two friends who had been in Physics (one had actually started out in Engineering) complete their physics undergrad degrees, and then start (shortened) engineering undergrad degrees--I think it took them around 2 or 3 years, about the same time as a usual M.Sc.

    Your best bet is to actually contact your provincial governing body, and/or the Engineering Faculty of the prospective university, and ask them about it (I'd also ask if they have anything in paper format to remove any ambiguity that you might have).

    [1] BTW, that term is legally defined in, if I recall correctly, all provinces in Canada, and you're not allowed to willy-nilly call yourself one if you're not a P.Eng or EIT, even if you had the undergrad degree.
    http://www.peng.ca/english/students/faqs.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jun 16, 2010 #4
    I see... thanks for the responses guys!

    MATLABdude, did your grad student friend take those courses at the same time and place as his graduate school courses? Were they courses that he had to take in order to obtain his masters engineering degree anyway? Or did he he have to get himself into those classes, in order to meet the requirements for a P. Eng?
  6. Jun 16, 2010 #5


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    No, he took them while he was doing his research (he was in for the long haul and got himself a Ph.D) It varies from department to department, and possibly school to school, but in general, it's between 6 and 8 courses (possibly more--undergrad ones--if they decide your background is insufficient, though that only happened to one friend of mine who went to CompSci grad school out of Engineering Physics). One thing that usually doesn't vary: they're harder and more intensive than your standard undergrad courses (which you haven't yet taken, so you'll just have to take my word for it until then).

    None of those courses applied to his graduate course requirements. Some of those courses, however (at least at my school) are offered as evening ones--this allows those aforementioned foreign-accredited engineers to come in after their work. However, the nice thing about grad school (research-based ones, and not course-based, at any rate) is that you often have a fair bit of flexibility (enough to take a day-time course or two per semester, for instance, as long as you let your supervisor know about it). Some of those courses are also offered during the summer (to accommodate co-op students), so that might also be worth looking into.

    Once again, first things first, if you're decided on going Physics and then taking engineering grad school, contact the regional engineering association and the school in question. Please, please do not just take what I've said as it may be totally irrelevant in your locale/school. Secondarily, you may also consider taking engineering physics. Most places, they take most of the big, challenging physics courses anyways.
  7. Jun 18, 2010 #6
    Ah, alright. You've been very informative, thanks!

    And yes, I think I will contact my regional engineering association (which does happen to be BC), just to be sure. I'm already aware of my prospective schools' regulations.
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