A graduate degree is a great way to expand your knowledge, and we appreciate that it’s an important part of professional development for systems engineers. Advanced degrees apply to the levels of INCOSE certification as follows:
ASEP – with neither experience nor a degree required for ASEP, advanced degrees do not give you a leg up except if they have helped increase your knowledge of systems engineering. There is no formal recognition or “credit” for advanced degrees when seeking ASEP, but taking graduate classes after earning ASEP can gain you Professional Development Units (PDUs) that help with your renewal.
CSEP – a qualifying degree impacts the work experience requirement for CSEP. The qualifying degree can be either an undergraduate or graduate degree. We require work experience for CSEP, but none of that work may be something for which you earned academic credit. Work experience need not be paid (e.g., it could include being a volunteer project lead for Engineers Without Borders), but your thesis or capstone project does not qualify. Work as a research assistant or teaching assistant typically do not qualify because of the duties assigned in those roles. Like ASEP, you can earn PDUs for graduate classes taken after you earn your certification.
ESEP – as for CSEP, a technical graduate degree can meet the “qualifying degree” requirement if your undergraduate degree does not. ESEP also requires leadership of technical projects and ongoing professional development, and in these categories we give explicit credit for graduate degrees. Details are on the individual application and instructions form. Graduate degrees alone are not enough to meet the leadership requirement but can be a piece of it.