Asee peer logo

The Case for a Master's Degree for Civil Engineering Licensure

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession - and ASCE

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mark William Killgore American Society of Civil Engineers Orcid 16x16

visit author page


Mark Killgore has worked as Director, Raise the Bar for the American Society of Civil Engineers since 2011 focusing on the future educational prerequisites for professional licensure.

He spent over 30 years as a consulting engineer and project owner in the hydro and water resources sector. He also served as adjunct faculty at Seattle University where he taught water resources engineering and fluid mechanics. He is currently a research fellow in water, energy and environmental policy at the University of Texas at Austin He is a published author and has written numerous papers on water resources and professional topics.

Mark completed his Masters of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Washington. He holds a specialty certification from the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers and is a licensed Professional Engineer (civil) in the State of Washington.

visit author page


Eric Lee Flicker PE Pennoni Associates Inc.

visit author page

Eric L. Flicker, P.E.

Mr. Flicker currently serves as a part-time Senior Consultant with Pennoni Associates Inc. For 10 years prior, he was the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, responsible for Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology and Facilities. In his Senior Consultant role, he is assigned special projects, including mergers and acquisitions and operations improvements. He also serves as Chair of the firm’s ESOP Trustees.

He is a registered professional civil engineer with extensive background in developing municipal infrastructure projects, and has strong experience in project management and technical staff management for multi-disciplined projects. His BS in Civil Engineering and MBA were both conferred by Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA.

He has been a loyal supporter and leader in the engineering community. In addition to his extensive service to the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) family, as past national Chairman, and in Pennsylvania, he has been President of the Hazardous Waste Action Coalition (of ACEC); a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) , where he has served on the Raise the Bar Committee; President of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers; Founding Chairman of the Pennsylvania Design Association Center; and is a Past President of the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia. His is currently serving as President of the Philadelphia Engineering Foundation.

In 2006, Mr. Flicker was named the Delaware Valley Engineer of the Year, as well as Civil Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers- Philadelphia Section.

He is also active in the community. He is a Past President of the Board of Habitat for Humanity- the Affiliates in the Delaware Valley and currently serves on the Board of the Chester County affiliate. He is also a Board Member of the Philadelphia Education Fund/ Philadelphia Scholars and the Public Citizens for Children and Youth (of southeastern Pennsylvania).

visit author page


Bradley Aldrich P.E. Aldrich + Elliott, PC Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Bradley F. Aldrich, P.E., F.NSPE, F.ASCE is President of Aldrich + Elliott, PC an environmental engineering firm and also serves as vice-chair of the Board of Professional Regulation for Engineers in Vermont. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Vermont. Over his thirty-five year career, Mr. Aldrich has held project management and leadership positions with a national general contractor and several engineering firms before forming Aldrich + Elliott twenty years ago. He has served with distinction in the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) where he held the position of national President in 2008-2009. He is a registered professional engineer in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts and is a fellow member of both NSPE and ASCE.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Abstract For nearly fifty years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has advocated for an additional year of post-baccalaureate engineering education for civil engineers who pursue licensure as professional engineers (PEs). In 1968, ASCE, in coordination with the newly formed American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) authored Goals of Engineering Education , funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The report concluded:

“The increasing complexity of the technological needs of the future… [require] the extension of the basic engineering education to include at least one year of graduate level study.”

In 2004, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) weighed in on the subject as well. The Engineer of 2020: Vision of Engineering in the New Century concluded:

“We should reconstitute engineering curricula and related engineering programs to prepare today’s engineers for the careers of the future.”

In their publication Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century NAE reinforced their earlier conclusions with this statement:

“It is evident that the exploding body of science and engineering knowledge cannot be accommodated within the context of the traditional four-year baccalaureate degree.”

Subsequently, there has been substantial work by ASCE and other professional and technical engineering societies defining their bodies of knowledge and some have gone as far as identifying the need and rationale for more rigorous engineering requirements for professional licensure. Some of this work is described later in this paper. These studies have tended to focus on both the academic and experiential learning deemed necessary for a professional engineer to be competent to practice. Most of this work has not directly addressed the “business case” for a higher educational standard. The intent of this paper is to do just that. It will address the following questions head-on:

 Does society benefit from higher educational standards?  Does the licensee benefit from higher educational standards?  Does the employer benefit from higher educational standards?


This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s program for the CE Division of ASEE in 2016. It should be considered for inclusion in the session “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE” that Tom Lenox is organizing and moderating.

Killgore, M. W., & Flicker, E. L., & Aldrich, B. (2016, June), The Case for a Master's Degree for Civil Engineering Licensure Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26102

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: © 2016 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