Most countries have a recognised Masters-level Engineering qualification, as part of a professional accreditation pathway.
These take various forms, but the following is a quick outline of postgraduate engineering qualifications in various parts of the world.
Engineering Masters degrees in the UK
There are two main types of Engineering Masters in the UK: MEng degrees and specialised MScs.
UK MEng degrees
The UK MEng is normally an integrated degree. Instead of studying a Bachelors before a postgraduate Masters you will simply enrol on one four-year undergraduate degree.
Some programmes offer the opportunity to study the MEng as a five-year ‘sandwich’ degree, with one year spent on a professional placement. This is quite common in Scotland.
In either case, your course will award the MEng as a Masters-level qualification.
An integrated MEng is therefore the only degree required to become an engineer in the UK. (Though you will still need to complete further professional training after graduation).
UK MSc Eng degrees
Alternatively, you can study a Bachelors degree in Engineering (such as a BEng or appropriate BSc) before a professional postgraduate MSc in Engineering.
These are normally one to two years in length and labelled as MSc (Eng) courses, to distinguish them from academic programmes.
Accreditation of UK Engineering Masters
Both qualification pathways can prepare you to qualify as an engineer in the UK, provided your Masters is recognised by the UK Engineering Council.
You will normally have to complete further training and professional qualification before gaining Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.
Is the MEng recognised abroad?
If you study a MEng that is accredited by the Engineering Council in the UK, it will be recognised in many countries across the world. This is because the Engineering Council is a signatory to several international engineering agreements, such as the Washington Accord, which facilitate the mutual recognition of Engineering qualifications around the globe.
Many British Engineering Masters also carry EUR-ACE accreditation, which is a European professional standard
Engineering Masters degrees in Europe
European Engineering Masters are gradually being brought into line with the Bologna Process, operating across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). This organises qualifications into separate undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral ‘cycles’.
Prior to this, most Engineering qualifications were ‘long cycle’ degrees, often labelled as Diplomas in Engineering. These combined undergraduate and postgraduate study, in a similar manner to the UK’s integrated MEng.
Some long cycle Engineering Masters are still available, but most members of the EHEA are now moving to more conventional postgraduate degrees. These normally run for up to two years after an appropriate Bachelors degree.
Accreditation of European Engineering Masters
Individual countries in Europe have their own standards for professional accreditation. You should check these requirements if you plan to work abroad as an engineer.
Many European Engineering Masters are also accredited using the EUR-ACE label, via the European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education (ENAEE).
Engineering Masters degrees in the USA
In the USA, the MEng is a professional graduate program, often offered by professional graduate schools. It is not an integrated degree and requires an appropriate Bachelors.
Some of these graduate schools offer MEng and MSc degrees alongside each other, as part of broader graduate programs in Engineering and Technology. Students pursue the professional or academic qualification according to their career goals.
The MEng is normally a final (‘terminal’) degree and a recognised step towards professional accreditation as an engineer.
Accreditation of US Engineering Masters
The main body overseeing professional accreditation for Engineering in the USA is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) ABET is also a signatory of the Washington Accord, recognising American Engineering qualifications around the world.
Engineering Masters degrees in Australia and New Zealand
Australian and New Zealand universities offer Masters in Engineering as postgraduate courses. Most are up to two years long and combine coursework, research and practical projects.
Some research-based Masters in Engineering are also available.
In Australia, these are usually equivalent to an MPhil (and may be labelled as such). They are intended to prepare students for academic rather than professional careers.
Universities in New Zealand may also offer the Masters of Engineering (ME). This is also a research-based programme, focussing on a thesis.
Accreditation of Engineering Masters in Australia and New Zealand
Australian Engineering qualifications are accredited by Engineers Australia. New Zealand Engineering qualifications are self-regulated, but Engineering as a profession is represented by Engineering NZ. As with the USA and the UK, the Australian and New Zealand Engineering bodies are signatories of the Washington Accord, ensuring mutual recognition of qualifications across the world.