Preparing for Graduation & the FE Exam

Preparation for graduation involves making sure that you have completed all your BS program requirements and filed to graduate no later than the application deadline.

Students in their second last semester before they graduate (ie. in fall for spring or summer graduation, or in spring for fall graduation):

  • are recommended to make an advising appointment with the Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs, Lisa Nolder (, to check that they will meet all degree requirements in their final semester.

Students in their final semester must:

  • file the intent-to-graduate form  and complete the GMU graduation survey on their account on Patriot Web; and
  • complete the graduation surveys for the Volgenau School and the CEIE Department available in the CEIE Department Office.

Preparing for the FE/EIT Exam

Students planning a career in engineering practice should write the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination administered by the National Council of Engineering Examiners and Surveyors (NCEES).  This is a necessary step toward attaining Engineer-in-Training (EIT) designation, which is required to advance to Professional Engineer (PE) registration. Many civil engineering employers will not hire engineers who have not attained EIT designation, and PE registration is essential for most civil engineers’ careers in practice.

The exam is designed for students in their final year of BS studies.  CEIE undergraduates may attempt the exam if they are within 12 months of graduation.  CEIE304 and CEIE404 are designed to familiarize students with FE exam style questions well before they attempt the real FE exam.

Graduate students interested in attempting the exam who did not graduate from an ABET accredited program should explore their options through the NCEES site here  and through the state in which they are seeking EIT designation.

Effective January 2014, students write the new FE exam which is different in content, format, and administration in the following respects:

  • The exam costs $175 for application and fees.
  • The FE exam is one six-hour exam of 110 questions.  The new specifications for the civil engineering exam are posted here.
  • The exam is a computer-based test (CBT) and administered at approved Pearson VUE testing centers on a test date scheduled for the student; for locations, visit here.
  • Registration is always open and does not involve the CEIE Department.  Applicants register through My NCEES account on the NCEES website.  NCEES approves applications and then emails instructions for logging in and for applicants to schedule their exam date and location.  Scheduling well in advance provides greater flexibility in selecting test dates.
  • NCEES offers four test windows annually in: January and February; April and May; July and August; and October and November.   Applicants may attempt the exam once per test window, and up to three times in a year.
  • There are seven different NCEES FE Exams. GMU CEIE students and graduates should choose and study for the FE Civil (PDF) exam described here.
  • After applicants pass the FE exam, they receive instructions from the Engineer-in-Training Designation Application through the Virginia Department of Occupational and Professional Regulations. The Engineer-in-Training designation is not issued until that application is completed and approved.

FE exam study materials are available from a number of sources including NCEES and ASCE.  The department does not offer FE exam practice review, however opportunities for local review sessions are announced in the ASCE-National Capital Section newsletter accessible here.

The FE Reference Manual may be downloaded for free or purchased by visiting here.  It is recommended you purchase the FE Reference Manual since this will be an identical version of the FE Reference Manual that is used on the computer station when you take the FE Exam.

In addition:

  • The FE exam calculator policy is provided here.
  • Applicants with disabilities are directed here. The GMU Office of Disability Services can provide verification of disabilities.
  • Frequently asked questions regarding the exam are posted here.

Obtaining Engineering in Training (EIT) Designation:

  • Complete the EIT Desingation Application.
  • Instructions on obtaining the Volgenau School of Engineering’s degree verification can be found here listed under the EIT Paperwork section.

After Graduation:  Job or Graduate School?

Graduation means transition, usually to a job or to graduate school.

  • If you want to start your career with a job, visit our Student Resources page for job announcements and advice on searching for jobs; email for the password to this section.  Volgenau School of Engineering Career Services are offered in the Engineering Building Room 2612 on Thursdays 9-3 pm by appointment and “walkins” are welcome 3- 5 pm.  Also visit the University Career Services site.
  • If you are considering specialized studies in civil engineering at the graduate level, visit the Prospective Students section for Graduate Studies in CEIE.  Admission to graduate study is competitive, and is based on a number of criteria including GPA, and letters of recommendation.  Students may be offered graduate research assistantships or graduate teaching assistantships which provide tuition assistance and a stipend; these are awarded competitively.  Students are advised to discuss graduate school with a faculty member whether the decision is to remain at GMU or to attend another university.
  • High achieving George Mason students in the B.S.-CIE program may apply for the accelerated B.S./M.S. in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering program if they wish to complete an M.S. in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering at GMU immediately after completion of their B.S.  Visit Accelerated B.S./M.S. in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering for further information.
  • Graduates will find that their B.S. in civil engineering can form a solid foundation for subsequent study in other fields, including architecture, law, business, economics, finance, and public policy and administration.