Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) vs Master of Engineering (MEng): What’s the Difference? 

What is the difference between a BEng and an MEng? Does it matter which one you choose? Learn all you need to know about the two qualifications here.

Updated 18 Sep 2020

Bachelor of Engineering vs Master of Engineering - Feature-Image

Engineering refers to the use of science and mathematics to design and build the structures, machines, systems and processes around us. In order to work in this vast and versatile field, you will need to obtain a Degree in Engineering as your basic qualification.

Typically, there are two types of engineering qualifications offered in Malaysia — a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) and a Master of Engineering (MEng). But what’s the difference? And which should you choose?

The answer is complex because, in Malaysia, we have our own local universities as well as university branch campuses from the UK and Australia, all of which practise different standards. As such, in this article, we will be breaking down the differences between BEng and MEng based on these 3 countries.

A summary of BEng vs MEng

  Malaysia UK Australia
Level of Study BEng Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
MEng Postgraduate degree An enhanced bachelor’s degree Postgraduate degree
Duration BEng 4 years (undergraduate) 3 years (undergraduate) 4 years (undergraduate)
MEng 1 - 2 years (postgraduate) 4 years (undergraduate) 1 year (postgraduate)
Recognition BEng Meets the requirements for Chartered Engineer as long as its 4-year programme Does not meet requirements for Chartered Engineer Meets the requirements for Chartered Engineer as long as its 4-year programme
MEng Meets the requirements for Chartered Engineer and may be used for topping up if you have a non-recognised degree Meets the requirements for Chartered Engineer Meets the requirements for Chartered Engineer and may be used for topping up if you have a non-recognised degree

#1. Level of study: BEng vs MEng

BEng vs MEng-Level of study

A Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) and a Master of Engineering (MEng) is different depending on which university is issuing the qualification.

If the qualification is from a Malaysian university or Australian university (e.g. Monash University Malaysia, Curtin University Malaysia), a BEng is at the undergraduate level. You will require STPM, A Levels, Foundation or equivalent to pursue this programme. The MEng, on the other hand, is a postgraduate qualification, where its entry requirement is often a relevant engineering degree.

This is different from engineering qualifications that are issued by UK universities (e.g. University of Nottingham Malaysia, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia). In Malaysia, the MEng is considered as an enhanced bachelor’s degree of engineering. It has a longer duration of 4 years and has more advanced modules compared to the 3-year UK BEng. In most UK universities, the first two years of BEng and MEng are the same and you can switch from BEng to MEng as long as you have the required academic grades.

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)

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Dual-award degree – one from De Montfort University, UK, and one from APU

#2. Duration: How long is a BEng and an MEng?

BEng vs MEng-Duration

In both Malaysian and Australian universities, a BEng is 4 years long and incorporates all the necessary academic modules that are required for you to register as a Chartered Engineer.

The BEng from UK universities, however, is shorter with a duration of 3 years, with the MEng being 4 years long. The additional 1-year study duration in the MEng programme allows you to study more advanced modules, providing you with a higher qualification.

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#3. Recognition: Which is recognised for Chartered Engineer status?

BEng vs MEng-Recognitions

By far the most crucial difference between a BEng and an MEng is its recognition for Chartered Engineer status.

In Malaysia, the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) only recognises 4-year engineering programmes. That means that if you take a 4-year BEng from either a Malaysian or Australian university, you will satisfy the minimum academic requirements to be a graduate engineer, upon which you can register as a Chartered Engineer after gaining the relevant work experience and passing the Professional Assessment Examination.

On the other hand, a 3-year BEng from a UK university is not recognised for Chartered Engineer status by BEM. To gain recognition for your 3-year BEng programme, you will need to top up with an MEng or MSc in Engineering.

Important Note: After 31 December 2023, graduates of 3-year degrees will no longer be able to register as Graduate Engineers with BEM, even after taking a top-up programme.

So, should you choose a BEng or MEng?

BEng vs MEng-BEng or MEng

The answer lies in what your career objectives are.

If you are planning to pursue a career in engineering and have your sights set on being a Chartered Engineer, then you must take a qualification that is recognised by the Board of Engineers Malaysia. This means that you need to:

  • Pursue an MEng from a UK university that’s 4 years long; or
  • Take the standard BEng from a Malaysian or Australian university that’s 4 years long

However, if you have no plans of becoming a Chartered Engineer, then you may want to opt for the 3-year BEng from a UK university due to its shorter duration.

So there you have it. We hope this guide has helped you understand the difference between BEng and MEng. Ultimately, your choice should depend on what your career aspirations are in the future. All the best!

Did you know that the engineering profession spans across a host of different fields? Here are the top engineering specialisations you need to know.

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    Loh Sue May

    Loh Sue May

    Editor and writer. When I'm not busy putting words onto pages, I'm messing with spreadsheets and playing air guitar.