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Preparing Minority Engineering Students To Pass The Fundamentals Of Engineering Examination

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Foster Excellence

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.999.1 - 13.999.8

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Paper Authors


Goang-Shin Liaw Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Goang-Shin Liaw is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Alabama A&M University located in Huntsville, Alabama. He is currently a NASA Administratos Fellow, Cohort 10. He has served as Chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering for more than sixteen (16) years and as Interim Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology from 1990 to 1992.

Dr. Liaw has been heavily involved in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for many years. He has planned, directed, and executed more than ten research projects at Alabama A&M University with contract values in excess of two million dollars. His current research interest is to apply nanotechnology in water and air purification systems.

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Pabitra Saha Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Pabitra K. Saha is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Alabama A&M University (AAMU) in Huntsville, AL. He has more than 30 years of combined experience in teaching, research and industry. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in structural engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and B.E. from University of Calcutta. Areas of his research interest include computational solid mechanics, higher order p-version finite element modeling, thermo-mechanical modeling, ground-lining interaction etc. He has been instrumental in the development of the civil engineering laboratories at AAMU using the NSF and Title III grants.

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James Foreman Alabama A&M University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Preparing Minority Engineering Students to Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination


The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination is the first of two (2) examinations engineers must pass in order to be certified as a Professional Engineer. Once they pass the FE exam, they are classified as an intern, also known as an Engineering Intern (EI) or an Engineer- in-Training (EIT). This exam is offered twice yearly, in April and October, by the National Council of Examiners of Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and it has jurisdictions in each state.

Our engineering program is an ABET accredited program. One of our educational objectives is to produce graduates who are competent enough to pass the FE exam, leading to professional registration. To be able to assess this objective, the program requires students to take the FE exam prior to graduation, preferably after all relevant technical courses have been taken and while the information they have studied is still fresh in their minds. In reality, some students attend the FE exam without any preparation, taking the exam just to satisfy the requirement and lacking the determination to pass the exam since the program does not require the student to do so.

To correct this misconception among the students and to stimulate their awareness of the importance of engineering licensure in their profession, the faculty of the department has been undertaking a series of actions that could help students prepare for the FE exam and could improve the pass rate of the FE exam in the future. In this paper, the authors would like to share their experiences and outline the processes that could help minority engineering students pass the FE exam.

1. Fundamentals of Engineering Examination Background

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination is the first of two (2) examinations engineers must pass in order to be licensed as a Professional Engineer. The FE exam is often viewed as a measure of minimum competency to enter the profession. This exam is offered in April and October every year by the National Council of Examiners of Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and the licensure board for engineers in each state.

Those who pass the exam are designated Engineers In Training (EIT) or given an equivalent designation, such as Engineer Intern (EI), by their state's licensure board for engineers, and are partway through the certification process. After completing an apprenticeship (the length of which is set by state law and based on the type of degree received) an EIT or EI may qualify to take the Professional Engineer (PE) exam. Licensure is awarded upon successful completion of the PE exam. The standard time of apprenticeship under a Professional Engineer for graduates of an ABET accredited engineering program is four (4) years of work experience.

Liaw, G., & Saha, P., & Foreman, J. (2008, June), Preparing Minority Engineering Students To Pass The Fundamentals Of Engineering Examination Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015