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Importance of MSc accreditation for CEng
confused
4 Posts
Question
Hi, I'm in my third year doing a mechanical BEng which is IET/IMechE accredited. I want to apply for the Advanced Mechanical Engineering MSc degree at Imperial, however it is not accredited. I was just wondering how important this is and what effects it would have on the future career/getting chartered?
11 Replies
Andy Millar
1763 Posts
First point, you don't need a Masters at all for CEng, let alone an accredited one. If you do have an accredited Masters then the review panels will look for very slightly less evidence of technical learning in your career when you do apply, but not enough to make it worth getting a Masters / Accredited Masters just for that. It's far, far more important to go for the qualification that you will enjoy the most and that will take you in the right career direction.
Applicants who do not have the recognised qualifications will instead have an individual assessment of their qualifications and any other relevant learning such as:
• formal academic programmes
• in-employment training
• experiential learning
• self-directed learning
And in practice if you have a Masters degree that's going to be a pretty "light touch" assessment. It's the candidates who are at HNC level who tend to have the hardest time, and plenty of them manage to achieve CEng. 

If you search back through this forum you'll see that same message repeated many times (ok, I admit mostly by me!), you might find some useful clarification there.

Regarding future career, in my experience you are unlikely to find that employers have any interest at all in whether degree programmes are accredited or not, what they are concerned about is what you actually learned on them. That said, if you have ideas on which direction your career might take it is worth looking up adverts on job sites (e.g. LinkedIn) to see what qualifications are asked for, some specific industry sectors do have their own favourite requirements.

Hope that helps,

Andy
David Parr
256 Posts
Just to say, Andy, we should be directing people to use UK-Spec issue 3 at the moment :)
mbirdi
1035 Posts
Andy makes a valid argument about there being more than one route to Chartered Engineer status. However I'm going to provide an alternative angle here and point out that the UK has amongst the best universities in the world, providing education and research at the forefront of Engineering and Technology.  We've left the EU, and it's now vitally important to support British talent to achieve their aspirations so that the UK can compete with the rest of the world.

Now, I see that the MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College doesn't flag up on the Engineering Council website for searching for accredited courses by any of the PEIs, and they (Imperial) should be contacted to find out why not? In the mean time entering 'MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering' in the search field shows up a number of universities offering accredited courses. Queen Mary in London flags up as an alternative option to Imperial and is accredited by the IMechE. Other accredited MSc in Mechanical Engineering courses in London also appear in the search list.

In order to be internationally recognised by the Washington Accord will require a partially accredited BEng and a partially accredited MSc award.
Andy Millar
1763 Posts
David Parr:
Just to say, Andy, we should be directing people to use UK-Spec issue 3 at the moment :)

Hi David,
I deliberately used issue 4 this time because of the distance the OP was from applying! But you're right, I should have made that clear (nearly did but I was being quizzed on why I was typing messages that late in the evening :) )
Cheers,
Andy

Andy Millar
1763 Posts
mbirdi:
Now, I see that the MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College doesn't flag up on the Engineering Council website for searching for accredited courses by any of the PEIs, and they (Imperial) should be contacted to find out why not? 

I'm sure they are getting approached regularly about this - I suspect (but don't know) that they feel they already have an excellent reputation so why put themselves through the hassle. It's been a fair few years since I had any involvement in University accreditation (I was involved from the Uni side rather than the IET side), I remember at the time the Unis involved felt they were being asked to jump through hoops which they considered (rightly or wrongly) were not always connected with giving a good teaching experience, and so had to keep considering whether this hassle was worth a potential increase in student numbers i.e. income. As I say, I don't know how Unis feel about the accreditation process today, but absolutely I hope the PEIs are keeping in touch with those Unis who decide its not for them to find out why - and are listening carefully to the answers. (Similar to the question of why the vast majority of engineers don't go for professional registration - it's important to understand why they don't feel the benefits are worth the hassle.)

Ref Washington Accord, that's a very interesting point about which I know absolutely nothing - worth another thread to discuss?

Cheers,

Andy

mbirdi
1035 Posts
Andy, your reply that it's a hassle for universities in getting accreditation has got me to investigate Imperial college engineering courses in detail to see if that holds true today. From what I've seen, all their MEng and a couple of BEng courses are either fully accredited with respective PEIs, or up for renewal. Their Masters in engineering, including Advance Computing are accredited or up for renewal, with the exception to Advanced Computing and Advanced Mechanical Engineering courses that require a 1st or above, all other Masters requires a 2:1. So Imperial should be queried as to why their MSc in Advance Mechanical Engineering does not meet accreditation requirement of say IET or IMechE? I think the originator of this thread might be competing with MEng graduates for a place on this course. Maybe better to apply to Queen Mary or UCL instead where a 2:1 or 2:2 is the norm.
Roy Bowdler
820 Posts
Unless you have a better option, like getting a good start in your career. Imperial is an excellent choice.
 
confused
4 Posts
Thanks for your responses everyone. Its been informative and certainly gives me something to think about. Regarding a query thats come up in the replies, the course did use to be accredited, however as they offer a large range of modules and are flexible with the choices, they could not guarantee that it would meet IMechE criteria.
 
mbirdi:
In order to be internationally recognised by the Washington Accord will require a partially accredited BEng and a partially accredited MSc award.


Could you explain what the impacts of this would/could be if you wished to work abroad?

mbirdi
1035 Posts
Okay, I'm not sure where you received the information that it used to be accredited, but the following link indicates that the course was in development stage during 2019/2020 and the first course ran in 2020/2021 - click on the URL link below. I suggest you download the following 2020-2021 courses (in pdf format) for comparison: Advance Chemical Engineering; Advanced Mechanical Engineering; MEng in Mechanical Engineering.

When you compare the pdf files, you will see the difference between a fully developed and accredited course and a course that's at the experimental stage.
​​​​​​
https://www.imperial.ac.uk/staff/tools-and-reference/quality-assurance-enhancement/programme-information/programme-specifications/

​​​​​​There's also students blog and forum sites to give you an insight of what it's like to study at IC.

https://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/blog/student-blogs/

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=18

You may have read that the two top performing students from the MSc programs will be offered a PhD scholarship where expenses are paid for tuition fees and maintenance allowance.

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/mechanical-engineering/study/msc-advanced-mechanical-engineering/

As for being able to work abroad without international accreditation? I don't see any real evidence it could hinder you; certainly not if you're working for a large well known company, and also your IC degree will also have international recognition. But if you're interested in this course I would pursue chasing IC about whether the 2021-2022 course will be fully accredited by the IET or IMechE.
Andy Millar
1763 Posts
mbirdi:
But if you're interested in this course I would pursue chasing IC about whether the 2021-2022 course will be fully accredited by the IET or IMechE.

But begging the question: what are they going to do if it isn't, or if (which is more likely) there's no response? I'd suggest the answer is that this should not be a reason in itself not to take up this course (for all the reasons we've all given above), it might be a small bit of evidence in a wider argument as to whether to take it or not.

I think my main feeling is, both to this and another similar thread that's running alongside, it's a stressful time trying to choose the right course, so anything that can reduce that stress is a good thing. In many years of recruiting engineers, and of helping engineers achieve Chartership (and IEng), personally I have never seen the accreditation of a degree make any difference whatsoever. So if that's one thing that can be ticked off the "things to get stressed about" list that's got to be a good thing. HOWEVER all the caveats above stand about checking that this is true for all industry sectors and all countries. I'll start another thread on the countries aspect and see what happens...

Thanks,

Andy

Roy Bowdler
820 Posts
Thi is a duplicate post. See thread about Washington Accord
 
My understanding is that a degree has to have graduates, before it can be accredited.

Accreditation is carried out in accordance with Engineering Council regulations and guidance. The regulations are developed by academics, for academics, accreditation “audit” visits are also carried out by panels with strong academic representation, responsible to the IET Academic Accreditation Committee.

About a dozen years ago, I became involved in an initiative for which Engineering Council had received government funding. This was called “Engineering Gateways” and partner universities offered programmes called “MSc in Professional Engineering”.  Because each programme of study was individually bespoke and designed around work-based learning opportunities, accreditation was deemed impractical. To work around this it was agreed that institutions would deem each individual study plan “acceptable” to them as “further learning”.

The IET developed a simple mechanism to deal with this, but some other institutions were mired in pedantry. Until about 15 years ago, many professional engineering institutions were infamous for being very “snooty” about their “academic requirements” and some key influencers within them were unwilling to accept the change of attitude that was needed. How each has subsequently evolved is open to debate?

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