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What Happens to My ASCE Application?



What Happens To My ASCE Application?

By The Membership Applications Review Committee (MARC)

The following comments were prepared to explain the ASCE process for reviewing applications for the various grades of membership and transfers between grades. The criteria and rules are relatively straightforward and are presented in the ASCE Official Register, which also lists the members of MARC and the Membership Committee that MARC serves. Complications in the process arise because of the volume of applications handled (about 13,000 a year), which come from about 135 countries having different laws and rules on the requirements for a college education and professional practice as an engineer. Although language and world communication complexities still exist, the expanding use of the Internet has helped to speed communications and resolve issues faster.

Applications to ASCE, whether by surface mail or e-mail, are directed to the ASCE Membership Department, where all applications are read in detail. About 90 percent of the received applications meet the requirements for the applied-for grade and are routinely approved. Often an ASCE staff person will contact the applicant, mostly by phone or e-mail, to obtain missing information, such as copy of education degrees, P.E. license, a reference, etc.

Applications that pose interpretive problems or have responsible charge or reference requirements are forwarded to the MARC for resolution. MARC meets monthly to consider these applications. One or more of the MARC members, who are Professional Engineers and ASCE members (all F.ASCE), analyze the application and make appropriate recommendations to the committee for a vote. Some sample recommendations have been:


  • Have staff request clarifications from the applicant
  • (For a new application) Deny the request for membership grade, but offer a lower grade until appropriate experience (or time in grade) is gained
  • Forward the application to the Membership Committee with an applicant's request for a waiver of specific requirement when appropriate
  • Forward the application to the Membership Committee with a recommendation of denial.

The Membership Committee (MC) is composed of ASCE members/P.E.s and typically meets twice a year to consider ASCE membership issues, as well as the controversial applications forwarded from the MARC. In most cases the MC approves the recommendations forwarded by MARC, but they are particularly vigilant about the applications for the Fellow grade and the high standards required for that grade. In the event an applicant for the Fellow grade is unable to meet the requirements set forth, a waiver of that requirement may be requested. The applicant must specifically state the reason for the waiver request in writing. The application and waiver request will be forwarded to the Membership Committee for a final decision. The MC believes a "Fellow should be a licensed Professional Engineer," particularly in the United States. However, information about the licensing requirements of the applicant's place of residence will be considered if the applicant is not registered in the United States.

We on MARC encourage you to maintain your awareness of your professional development. Be aware of the requirements for each grade of ASCE membership and make timely application for each advanced membership grade as you become eligible for it. We see numerous applications in which applicants have spent decades in the Associate Member (AM) grade before advancing to the Member grade while paying the same dues.

Membership in ASCE means professional recognition of you by your peers. Recognition and membership must be earned. The staff, MARC and MC will continue to review each application so that the value of your membership will not be diminished in the coming years. ASCE membership also means associating with your colleagues. The new criteria governing the submission of applications for the Fellow grade requires the applicant to obtain endorsements from their local chapter officers or at least five other members (Member grade or higher) of ASCE.

Good luck in your professional future. If you need ASCE staff help, contact the Applications Coordinators at: ASCE, 1801 Alexander Drive, Reston, VA 20191-4400; E-mail:; phone: (800) 548-ASCE (2723).

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