Wait, the FE is Required to Graduate?

By: Danielle Sheahan, Features Writer

The FE is the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination that the majority of campus undergraduate engineering students must take. By passing the FE exam you will become an EIT (engineer in training). A large portion of engineering companies would prefer their entry level engineers to be certified EITs, especially consulting firms. The purpose of the FE exam is to get you started on your path to become a PE (professional licensed engineer). The exam is organized and conducted by the NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying). This exam cost $225 which unfortunately is non-refundable, but if you are working on an engineering degree at Missouri S&T you are most likely required to take the FE exam to graduate. The only degrees that do not require the FE exam to graduate include aerospace engineering, ceramic engineering, and metallurgical engineering. Please note that aerospace engineering students are required to take and pass an exit assessment which is completely different than the FE exam. Depending on your engineering department you might have to take a specific discipline’s FE exam. Those include chemical, civil, electrical, computer, environmental, and mechanical engineering. If you are not one of those engineering disciplines you will most likely take the “other disciplines” FE, but sometimes you are able to take the generic “other disciplines” FE in certain scenarios (this would be up to an advisor or head of a department).

More about the actual exam, it lasts 6 hours with a 25 minute break in the middle. The generic “other disciplines” FE consists of mathematics, probability, and statistics, chemistry, instrumentation, and data acquisition, ethics and professional practice, safety and environment, engineering economics, statics, dynamics, strength of materials, materials science, fluid mechanics and dynamics of liquids, fluid mechanics and dynamics of gases, electricity, power and magnetism, and lastly, heat, mass and energy transfer. It seems like a long list of things you have to store up in your noggin but Missouri S&T has provided you with all the tools you might need to take the FE exam and even pass it.

The NCEES FE Reference Handbook is the only allowed item during the exam. This can be downloaded for free by registering to MyNCEES so that you can figure out where all the equations and charts are located in the handbook. It is recommended to use the digital version of the handbook when taking practice exams because the FE exam is a digitally proctored examination. If you are taking the exam on the Missouri S&T campus it will be held in the basement of Norwood.

Practice and study help for the FE exam is located on the NCEES website and their YouTube channel. If you are a part of the CArE department at Missouri S&T, there are practice books for the civil and environmental FE at the front office of Butler-Carlton Hall for a refundable $20 (cash only). Depending on which engineering department and their administration of the department, they might also provide practice material, it only takes one person to ask for help to find out.

It is recommended to study a minimum of 15 hours to pass the 110-question examination. It is also strongly encouraged to attempt to pass the FE because if you ever want to become a registered P.E., you must pass the FE first. It is exponentially easier to take and pass the FE the first time while you are still in school then later in life when you start to forget all the random equations that you will not use on a daily basis depending on your career niche.



Really quick recap –  

Engineering majors NOT REQUIRED to take FE to graduate: aerospace, ceramic and metallurgical engineering.

Further information can be found at: https://ncees.org/engineering/fe/