ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Delegates to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying’s (NCEES) 2006 Annual Business Meeting, held in late September, voted to modify the NCEES Model Law requirements to include additional education for engineering licensure. The approved language states that, effective Jan. 1, 2015, an engineer intern with a bachelor’s degree must have an additional 30 credits of acceptable, upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level coursework from approved providers, in addition to four years of engineering experience, to be admitted to the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. The NCEES will define what the additional education should be.

Two NCEES committees that have been studying the issue for more than five years cited the decrease in the number of credits required to earn an undergraduate degree—from 150 credits a few decades ago to an average of 128 today—as one of the reasons for supporting the change to the Model Law. The new rules allow graduates with a bachelor of science degree in engineering to request that credits earned in excess of 120 be applied to satisfy the 30-additional-credits requirement.

In addition to the change in education requirements for engineer interns with bachelor’s degrees, modifications to the Model Law include the following options for qualification for licensure as a professional engineer:

  • engineer intern with a master’s degree in engineering and three years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects; 
  • engineer intern with a doctorate in engineering and an additional two years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects; and 
  • individual with a doctorate in engineering and an additional four years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects.

According to the introduction to the published revised Model Law (available online at, "The intent of NCEES … is to present to the states a sound and realistic guide that will provide greater uniformity of qualification for licensure, to raise these qualifications to a higher level of accomplishment, and to simplify the interstate licensure of engineers and surveyors."

The change to the NCEES Model Law closely follows recommendations by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in its Policy Statement 465: Academic Prerequisites for Licensure & Professional Practice, which was approved in 2004. In a recent Raise the Bar newsletter, however, the ASCE admitted that after modifying the Model Law, "the more daunting task will be changing the requirements in each of the 56 individual U.S. jurisdictions that regulate licensure."