In the UK, most engineering degrees are accredited and there are several advantages of choosing one that is:
- Some employers specifically recruit from accredited degree programmes
- Students can be sure that their accredited degree is recognised professionally
- Later on, the process of seeking registration as an Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng) is made more straightforward by holding an accredited degree
- Internationally, UK-accredited degrees are more widely recognised than those that are not accredited.
Accreditation is carried out by the individual professional engineering institutions under licence from the Engineering Council. A degree may be accredited by more than one engineering institution, particularly where it spans several engineering disciplines.
Accredited engineering degrees offer students, their parents and advisors, and employers, a mark of assurance that the degree programme meets the standards defined and set by the engineering profession. They also provide confidence that some or all of the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills for eventual registration with a licensed professional engineering institution have been met.
Engineering employers as well as academics are involved in the setting of standards, in reviewing degrees and in the decision-making process about whether to confer accredited degree status.
Most accredited degrees are bachelors, honours or MEng. An increasing number of MScs are being put forward for accreditation. Some Foundation degrees are also accredited.
The period of accreditation is typically five years, counting from the first-year student intake date. When choosing a degree, what matters is the accreditation status when you start. If accredited status is removed during your degree course, you and any other students already on that course would still graduate with an accredited degree. Students starting a degree part way through should check the accreditation status as if they had entered the first year.
However, an engineering degree doesn't have to be accredited. A university decides whether or not it wishes to apply for accreditation. Holders of non-accredited degrees may also work towards becoming Incorporated or Chartered Engineers. Their applications will be individually assessed by their chosen professional engineering institution. Advice will be offered about any additional course that should be followed in order to demonstrate equivalence with an accredited programme.
Your choice of degree will depend on other aspects in addition to its accreditation status, such as the engineering discipline, the breadth of coverage, the laboratory and other facilities, the opportunity for placements in the UK or overseas, and the extent of university-employer relationships.