The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is typically the first of two intensive competency exams needed to qualify for a professional engineer license (PE). In general, the process of becoming a PE is as follows:
- Earn a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program. The BSME from Michigan Tech has met this criterion since 1936.
- Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
- Complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE (most states).
- Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.
Earning a PE license is similar to passing the bar exam for attorneys after law school or the medical board exams after medical school for physicians. The National Society of Professional Engineers provides an accurate and concise definition of a PE here.
A mechanical engineering student should consider taking the FE (with an eye toward becoming a PE) if their career plans include work that requires the authority to prepare, sign and seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval, or seal engineering work for public and private clients. Students should inquire with prospective employers to determine if becoming a PE is desired for possible positions and how the credential may affect upward (or lateral) mobility in a particular company/organization.
The individual decision to prepare for and take the FE will depend on a student’s desire to keep the option open to take the PE exam after gaining the required work experience. The FE exam is not a degree requirement to graduate or an entrance exam for further education (i.e. it is not similar to the MCAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, etc).
The FE exam is appropriate to take for students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree. Most students take this exam during their final semester as an undergrad, but it can be taken earlier or post-graduation, if desired.
The FE exam is not state-specific and is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Even if you are not a Michigan resident, you could plan to take the FE here on campus and use the Michigan registration link. In Michigan, you do not have to apply for approval or submit any documents to take the FE. Once you create an account and log into ncees.org you will be able to register for the FE. You will be prompted to select a test (choose FE), discipline, and state to take the test. After selecting, FE, mechanical, and Michigan, a list of testing centers will be displayed. The testing center within the VanPelt and Opie Library is a local option. Once you select your testing location a list of available exam dates will be displayed. The FE exam is now online and has a certain number of slots available in certain date ranges throughout the calendar year.
Additional information about exam content, format, preparation, registration, fees and scoring can be found on the NCEES website.
The Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering department does have some exam review materials online here for you to access if you wish. These materials may not match up exactly with the mechanical engineering version of the FE exam, but may be helpful in some areas.
- How do I register on BanWeb and what if I think I need a waiver?
- Joining an Enterprise
- When and how can I add/drop classes? What is a ‘W’ grade?
- How to change your major or add a major/minor and/or concentration.
- Transferring credits from elsewhere
- Repeating a Course
- Academic Probation & Suspension
- I am feeling stressed. What can I do? (And Study Tips)
- Contacts for Filled Sections – By Department
- ME versus MET
- Study Abroad
- ROTC Academic Plans (AF Form 48, AR Form 104R)
- Co-op credits
- What if I have less than 12 credits for my last semester?
- Thinking of graduate school?
- Looking for Undergraduate Research?
- Am I ready to take Senior Capstone Design (MEEM4901/4911 or ENT4950/60)? How are MEEM 4901/4911 projects defined?
- Preparing for Graduation & Degree Audit FAQs
- Should I take the FE Exam? When? How?
Transfer Credits: If you choose to take classes elsewhere and transfer them to Michigan Tech, please follow the below procedure. The Transfer Services web page has links for all the information you will need as referenced below.
- First, choose courses that are an approved equivalent to Michigan Tech courses required for your degree.
- To access a list of courses already approved for transfer, use the Michigan Tech Transfer Equivalency System. This online system is also linked through the Transfer Services page. It is organized by state and then by institution. This is the system you must use for these equivalencies rather than transfer guides, etc from any other source. It is a good idea to make a dated screenshot of any equivalencies you find just in case anything changes between when you look the course up and when you complete the course.
- The Michigan Transfer Network may be a useful, time-saving tool for looking up course equivalencies at other institutions in the state of Michigan. This website allows you to see all other equivalent courses at colleges or universities in the state in one search, rather than looking at each institution separately. However, it is recommended that you confirm any equivalencies you find here by cross-referencing the Michigan Tech Transfer Equivalency System.
- Any courses with an equivalent course number shown on the Critical & Creative Thinking list, Social Responsibility & Ethical Reasoning list, any HASS list, or Co-Curricular list may be used for those requirements.
- Any courses with an equivalent course number shown on the ME tech elective list or MEEM 4XXE in most cases may be used for those requirements. MEEM 4XXE is mainly used to transfer a course that is not equivalent to any specific MEEM course, but does meet the criteria for technical elective credit.
- Equivalent transfer courses to both MA 2710 and MA 2720 are acceptable in place of MA 3710 for the BSME program.
- If the course you want or need is NOT included in the transfer equivalency system, you can request to have it evaluated for transfer credit by contacting Transfer Services.
- Transfer Services will let you know if you need to submit a course syllabus for evaluation.
- A short catalog description is not enough information to evaluate a course for possible Michigan Tech credit. You must provide a syllabus. The below information should be included.
- University or college name and location
- Course number, course title, and number of credits (note if credits are not on a standard semester system)
- Textbook(s) used
- Detailed description of topics (not just outcomes) and grading system. At a minimum, the description of topics must include a week-by-week (class-by-class, etc) breakdown of the topics/chapters covered.
- If all this information is available online, you can send attached files or link(s) to email@example.com. Allow several weeks for the course evaluation process to be completed by the appropriate Michigan Tech academic department.
- Before submitting a course for evaluation, please make sure that the course is being offered and you intend/are allowed to take it. Please bear in mind that you will be subject to any pre-requisites or restrictions in place at the transfer institution, as well as Michigan Tech pre-reqs, etc.
- If you will be taking a class at another institution in the state of Michigan (regardless of your residency), fill out a Guest Student Application and submit it to Michigan Tech Transfer Services (application linked on the Transfer Services page). This will streamline the process of becoming a student at another college or university in Michigan. Transfer Services must complete Part II on the application form (ME advisors cannot complete this).
- Once admitted as a guest student, register for the course(s) at the other institution.
- If a transfer course you are taking is a prerequisite for a course you plan to take in your next semester at Michigan Tech, notify Transfer Services of your registration and an in-session (IS) placeholder can be entered into Banner. The IS will act as a pre-req to allow you to register for the next course(s) you need here at Tech.
- Complete the transfer course(s). Grades for each course must be ‘C’ (2.00/4.00 or equivalent) or better to be accepted by Michigan Tech. For example, a grade of ‘C-minus’ will not transfer.
- How to complete transfer of credits to Michigan Tech:
Request an official copy of your transcript be sent to Michigan Tech as soon as you have completed the course(s) and earned a ‘C’ or better. This will not happen automatically. You must make a transcript request with the institution where you have completed courses. Official transcripts are sealed and must be sent to/received by Michigan Tech Transfer Services directly (electronically or otherwise) from other institutions. Do not request these transcripts to be sent to yourself, academic advisors, etc.
- Earned transfer credits are not included in any GPA calculations, but can impact your GPAs if the transfer replaces a previous Michigan Tech grade. Removal of poor grades from these calculations may cause GPAs to improve once transfer credits are entered. The earned grade at the transferring institution will not be used to calculate Michigan Tech GPAs.
- At least 30 credits of upper-level (3000 or higher) coursework must be completed at Michigan Tech to earn a Michigan Tech degree.
- Study Abroad credits are not necessarily transfer credits. Typically, study-abroad credits through sanctioned study-abroad programs are considered to be Michigan Tech credits and are normally graded as pass-fail according to minimum standards of grades that are earned while studying through those programs. Contact The Pavlis Honors College for more information on study-abroad opportunities and the pre-departure process. Courses will be evaluated and possibly approved as equivalent to Michigan Tech courses similar to the syllabus submission process detailed above. It is critical that you have all your study-abroad equivalencies pre-approved before leaving Michigan Tech and departing for that experience.
If you are considering continuing with an advanced degree at Michigan Tech after graduation, the first step is applying through the Graduate School. The admissions staff there can answer questions regarding the application process, requirements, and special programs. You may apply to graduate school when you have junior class standing (60 earned credit hours).
- The ME-EM department does offer an accelerated Master’s program which allows Michigan Tech undergraduate students to count up to 6 acceptable credits towards both the BS and MS degrees (double-counting). Student must have a 3.00 minimum cumulative GPA to qualify and declare their interest in this program when applying to grad school. The application to the accelerated masters program must be submitted prior to undergraduate graduation. Inquire with the graduate school about which undergraduate credits may be acceptable to use for the MS degree. Students may only pursue the accelerated BS/MS if they remain enrolled at Michigan Tech. A student may not have a gap between graduation with the BS and starting the MS degree (a break over summer is fine however). Students may be able to take advantage of the accelerated masters program even if both degrees are not in the same department (e.g. a BSME student might pursue an MS in biomedical engineering or an MBA). Inquires about programs and which credits may be acceptable to use for the MS degree should be directed to the Graduate School.
- Students who have room in their schedules for extra courses in their last 1 or 2 semesters of undergraduate work may also consider applying surplus undergraduate credits towards an advanced degree via the Senior Rule. These credits must be surplus to bachelor’s degree/minor requirements and will be placed onto a separate, graduate-level transcript. These credits will then only count towards the advanced degree (not double counted with the BS). Inquire with the graduate school about which credits may be acceptable to use for the MS degree and work with an undergraduate academic advisor to ensure the credits are not necessary for completion of the BSME. Also, students should consult with Financial Aid if the placement of credits into the graduate level via senior rule will drive their undergraduate credits below 12 total for any semester. Less than 12 undergraduate credits in a semester, even if it is your last undergraduate semester before graduation, can cause a loss of financial aid in some situations.
- Michigan Tech also now offers many options for 9-credit graduate certificates (some may require more than 9 credits) that may be pursued after BS degree completion. More info can be found here. Many of these certificates can be completed online. Some examples of ME-EM certificates are Aerodynamics, Automotive Systems and Controls, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Control Systems, Dynamic Systems, Hybrid Electric Drive Vehicle Engineering, Quality Engineering, Safety and Security of Autonomous Cyber-Physical Systems, and Vehicle Dynamics.
If you are thinking of graduate school/post-graduate education at another institution, you must contact graduate admissions there to get details on how to apply, required testing (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc), program requirements, accelerated programs, use of senior rule credits, etc.
One of the easiest ways to improve your GPA is by repeating courses. Especially, if you have any grades that are less than ‘C’ (‘CD’, ‘D’, or ‘F’), you should repeat them as soon as possible (the next semester, summer, etc).
- If you fail a required BSME course, you will have to repeat and pass the class to meet the degree requirement.
- Even if it is an elective course that is not required specifically, a repeat of a poor grade is probably warranted as well.
- All current Michigan Tech grades are included in GPA calculations regardless of course status as a degree required course or not.
- Students may repeat a course no more than two times (3 total attempts allowed). Sign-offs from your academic advisor, Financial Aid, and the Dean of Students office are required to repeat a course a 2nd and final time (3rd attempt). You may download the 3rd attempt form here. This process is mostly a formal acknowledgement from the student that the 3rd attempt is the final attempt and a failing grade in a required course will necessitate a major change. It is also in place to make sure the student is well-advised about how to best facilitate success in the final course attempt.
- Students may repeat any previous grade. This is a recent change made after the Spring 2021 semester.
- The most recent grade is used in your GPA calculation even if it is lower than the previous grade (including failure after a previous passing grade, resulting in loss of credit).
- Course attempts are repeats only if the exact same or equivalent course number is completed (example of equivalent course numbers: MA 1160 and MA 1161).
- See an academic advisor if you believe you need a similar repeat (only applicable if a course is/was no longer offered after a grade in a course is earned, i.e. student did not have an opportunity to repeat).
- You may transfer credit from another institution to replace a grade in a course as long as the requirements outlined in FAQ #5 are met. However, earned transfer credits are not included in any GPA calculations. Transfer repeats can impact your GPAs if the transfer replaces a previous Michigan Tech grade. Removal of poor grades from these calculations may cause GPAs to improve once transfer credits are entered. Please note once again, the Michigan Tech grade is completely removed from the GPA calculation by the transfer, but the earned grade from the transferring institution will not be used to calculate Michigan Tech GPAs. Transfer repeats only can remove prior grades if the transfer credit is evaluated equivalent to the exact same course number at Michigan Tech that was originally completed (or an equivalent course like the Calculus I example above).
- Prerequisite courses must be passed in order to continue to next course. In most cases is is not advisable to move ahead in a course sequence if you have not earned a ‘C’ or better in a pre-req course, even though you may have passed the course.
- Concurrent pre-req courses may be taken at the same time.
- Minimum GPAs are established that must be met in order to maintain good academic standing: University cumulative GPA ≥ 2.00 and cumulative departmental GPA ≥ 2.00 (MEEM courses, based on at least 16 credits) and current semester GPA ≥ 2.00.
- The minimum ≥ 2.00 cumulative and departmental GPAs are also required for graduation
- Repeating courses may impact financial aid. Please visit the Student Financial Services Center to discuss specific situations.
Please download the Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Enterprise Guidelines.
If you are completing an ROTC academic plan, please review the below information before submitting to an academic advisor for review. Please feel free to contact an academic advisor with questions or to discuss.
How to complete ROTC academic planning forms from a degree requirements perspective.
If you plan to take less than 12 credits in the semester in which you will graduate, you should consult with Financial Aid about being a part-time student in that final semester. Generally speaking, most student need to be full-time status (12+ credits) each semester while pursuing an undergraduate degree. There are certainly exceptions to that statement though. For most students, if it is your last semester, part-time status is OK, but you may need to have at least half-time status (6-11.5 credits) to receive aid, be eligible for loans, etc. Financial Aid can answer your questions on this in regard to your individual specifics.
Also, students should consult with Financial Aid if the placement of credits into the graduate level via senior rule will drive their undergraduate credits below 12.