Types of Engineering Degrees

The minimum requirement for any student to become recognised as an Engineer is to complete a Bachelor’s degree, also known as an undergraduate degree. Any qualifications past this level are known as graduate (or postgraduate) degrees. In this page you will learn all about the main types of both Undergraduate and Graduate degrees that you can obtain to become a qualified Engineer.

If you would like to know how to get into University or College to start an Engineering degree, check out the University Pathways page.

Undergraduate (Bachelor’s) Degrees

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An undergraduate degree is the minimum qualification required to become an Engineer. Upon completion of an undergraduate degree you are considered a graduate. Note that the minimum length next to all the degrees is the general minimum number of years of full-time study required to obtain each degree.

Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) [4 Years]

A Bachelor of Engineering is a requirement to work as a professional engineer. A Bachelors degree in Engineering is one of the most challenging courses and requires, particularly in the final two years, significant commitment and time studying. Every Bachelor of Engineering is offered in a specific discipline, for example: Bachelor of Engineering (Civil).

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) [5 Years]

An alternative course structure that is popular in many universities in the USA, where a five year course is undertaken to obtain a Bachelor of Science over three years and then the remaining two years are dedicated to a specialised field of study. The resulting qualification upon completion of course is a Masters of Engineering degree. This structure will suit those who are not entirely sure which discipline or major they would like to specialise in, allowing further time to make a decision while studying. Similar to the Bachelor of Engineering, this course is offered in specific disciplines, such as Bachelor of Science (Chemical Systems) – Master of Engineering (Chemical).

Graduate (Postgraduate) Degrees

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Once a Bachelor course has been successfully completed, the option exists to begin working or to continue studying. Any further study beyond a Bachelor’s degree is known as a graduate (or postgraduate) course. There are two graduate degrees available: Master of Engineering or a Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering.

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) [1-2 Years]

There are two variations of a Masters of Engineering degree to be undertaken: by research or coursework. Coursework involves taking a series of advanced classes in a specialised discipline, allowing you to gain further knowledge and understanding. Masters by research comprises of the completion of a project and producing a thesis detailing the work undertaken. The aim is to research and develop a new technique (or addition to an existing technique) that does not exist, furthering the literature in a particular field. This is similar to a PhD, however less innovation and work is required.

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (Ph.D.) [3-6 Years]

Undertaking a Ph.D. in engineering is an extremely challenging and rewarding experience. The main purpose is to produce a thesis detailing the new research that you have undertaken, similar to the Masters by research, however much more innovation and contribution is required. A Ph.D. by coursework can be undertaken, although it is not very common. While the length of a Ph.D. depends on which country you study in and if you are also offered a part-time teaching role (such as a Research Assistant), the minimum expected duration is three years full-time (although in some cases it can take longer to complete).

Which Degree is Right for You?

At a minimum, if you want to work as an Engineer then you will need to obtain a Bachelor of Engineering. Undertaking further studies beyond the Bachelor degree (B.Eng) generally depends on what your motives are. If you want to get into pure and applied research fields then you will almost always need to have a Doctorate (Ph.D.), with some limited exceptions for those who have a Masters (M.Eng). Ultimately, you need to try something and see how you feel about it. You may find that you don’t like doing technical work all the time, and prefer to manage projects or perform financial planning and management. To read more the wide variety of career options in Engineering, check out our Careers Page.

Looking for more information about degree types? You can check out University sites which offer considerable information about their offered courses, or you can contact us.