Professional Practice

Professional Engineer Licensure

A professional engineer license is an important professional credential for both civil engineers and environmental engineers. Northwestern’s undergraduate degrees in civil engineering and environmental engineering are both ABET accredited, making them excellent preparation for professional licensure. 

Professional engineer licenses are granted and maintained by each individual state, which allows for the practice of engineering within that state. For example, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation maintains the professional engineer licensure process in the state of Illinois. For more information, please visit the IDFPR website.

Process for Acquiring a Professional Engineer License

  1. Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. Senior undergraduates within six months of their graduation date are eligible to take the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty members recommend that all students do so before graduation.
  2. Pass the Professional Engineer Exam. Students are eligible to take this exam after graduation. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty members recommend taking this exam as soon as possible after graduation, while the topics covered on the exam are still in one’s recent memory. For more information on the Professional Engineer Exam, please visit the NCEES website.
  3. Acquire four years of apprenticeship working for a licensed professional engineer (this is the criterion for a graduate of an ABET-accredited program like Northwestern). Students are granted one year of apprenticeship each for MS and PhD degrees.

Other Licensure

Professional practice in the field of structural engineering may require a structural engineering license in certain states (including Illinois). Learn about the structural engineering license procedure at the NCEES website.

Professional Ethics