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News Archive 2014

Third version of AHEP ensures excellence in Engineering degree programmes

Published: 20/05/2014

The Engineering Council has today launched the third edition of the Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (AHEP) handbook. AHEP outlines the standard used by professional engineering institutions to assess engineering degree programmes for accredited degree status and by educational establishments to review their programmes in order to develop excellence in delivery and content.

Accreditation of an engineering programme provides an important mark of assurance that the degree meets the high standards set by the engineering profession and is, therefore, of benefit to potential students, universities and employers.

Graduates from an accredited degree programme are recognised as having achieved part or all of the underpinning knowledge for professional registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng), which they can apply for once they have developed further skills and competences in the workplace.

First published in 2004, AHEP has been developed, and subsequently reviewed on a five yearly basis, in consultation with the profession and employers, both in the UK and internationally.

The latest updated version does not introduce any significant changes to the required overall standard for the award of accredited degree status and remains rooted in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC).

Key changes, that have principally been designed to make the document even easier to use, include a re-ordering of the content and clarifying the differences between the accredited degree types.  The main body now comprises four discrete sets of learning outcomes, one for each type of degree, prefaced by a description of the type of degree and its graduates. Topics that have come to the fore since the previous review, such as ethics, risk and intellectual property have been strengthened. What were previously termed ‘general learning outcomes’, sometimes known as transferable skills, have mostly been incorporated into the technical engineering outcomes, particularly for engineering design, to confirm their importance in the development of employable graduates.

Rob Best, CEng FIChemE and Chair of the AHEP Review Steering Group said: “Based on responses to the consultations that we carried out, it was clear that the previous version of AHEP was strongly supported, so we avoided making unnecessary changes.  We are confident that universities and professional engineering institutions will welcome this, the third edition, and will find it easy to use as they develop the engineering degree programmes that will take us further into the 21st century.” 

There will be a two year transition period for any necessary changes to be made.  Taking account of the academic year, all accredited degrees taught from September 2016 should align with this revised version of AHEP.  Between May 2014 and September 2016 accrediting panels visiting universities will explore with engineering staff their progress towards this implementation. 

To view the new version of AHEP online please click here

Hard copies can be obtained from 

Degrees with accredited status are listed on the Engineering Council’s accredited courses database: