Membership in IEEE is open to individuals who by education or experience give evidence of competence in an IEEE designated field. The designated fields are: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, Law and Policy.
IEEE offers the following grades of membership: Student, Graduate Student, Associate, Member, Senior, and Fellow. The special categories of Life Member, GOLD Member, and Affiliate are also offered.
A Student Member must carry at least 50% of a normal full-time academic program as a registered undergraduate or graduate student in a regular course of study in IEEE-designated fields. The total cumulative period for a member to hold the Student Member grade and/or the Graduate Student Member grade is limited to 8 years.
Student Members, upon graduation or upon reaching the 8-year limit (whichever occurs first), with at least a baccalaureate or higher degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited institution in an IEEE-designated field will be transferred automatically to Member grade.
Student Members outside of the IEEE-designated fields, upon graduation or upon reaching the 8-year limit (whichever occurs first), will be transferred to Associate Member grade.
A Graduate Student Member must carry at least 50% of a normal full-time academic program as a registered graduate student in a regular course of study in IEEE- designated fields. The total cumulative period for a member to hold the Student Member grade and/or the Graduate Student Member grade is limited to 8 years.
Graduate Student Members, upon graduation or upon reaching the total cumulative 8-year limit as a Graduate Student Member (whichever occurs first), will be transferred automatically to Member grade.
Associate Member grade is designed for technical and non-technical individuals who do not meet the qualifications for Member grade, but who wish to benefit from membership and partnership in IEEE, and for those who are progressing, through continuing education and work experience, towards qualifications for Member grade.
Member grade is limited to those who have satisfied IEEE-specified educational requirements and/or who have demonstrated professional competence in IEEE-designated fields of interest. For admission or transfer to the grade of Member, a candidate may be either:
(a) An individual who has received a three-to-five year university-level or higher degree from an accredited institution or program and in an IEEE-designated field
(b) An individual who has received a three-to-five year university-level or higher degree from an accredited institution or program and who has at least three years of professional work experience engaged in teaching, creating, developing, practicing or managing in IEEE-designated fields; or
(c) An individual who, through at least six years of professional work experience, has demonstrated competence in teaching, creating, developing, practicing or managing within IEEE-designated fields.
The grade of Senior Member is the highest for which application may be made and requires experience reflecting professional maturity. For admission or transfer to the grade of Senior Member, a candidate shall be an engineer, scientist, educator, technical executive, or originator in IEEE-designated fields.
The candidate shall have been in professional practice for at least ten years and shall have shown significant performance over a period of at least five of those years, such performance including one or more of the following:
(a) Substantial responsibility or achievement in one or more of IEEE-designated fields; or
(b) Publication of papers, books, or inventions in one or more of IEEE-designated fields; or
(c) Technical direction or management of important work with evidence of accomplishment in one or more of IEEE-designated fields; or
(d) Recognized contributions to the welfare of the professions encompassed by one or more of the IEEE-designated fields; or
(e) Development or furtherance of important courses in one or more of the IEEE-designated fields at an institution in the REP list; or
(f) Contributions equivalent to those of (a) to (e) in areas related to IEEE-designated fields, provided these contributions serve to advance progress substantially in IEEE-designated fields.
The grade of Fellow recognizes unusual distinction in the profession and is conferred only by invitation of the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of IEEE’s designated fields of interest.
The year of election to the grade of Fellow is the year following affirmative action by the Board of Directors in conferring the grade of Fellow. The candidate shall hold Senior Member grade at the time the nomination is submitted. Normally, the candidate shall have been a member in any grade for a period of five years or more preceding January 1 of the year of election; however, the five-year membership requirement may be waived for a Fellow candidate who has been engaged in professional practice (as needed to qualify for Senior Member grade) in a geographical area where, in the judgment of the Board of Directors, it was difficult to become a member previously, as evidenced by the absence of a Section previously and the recent formation of a new Section to cover that geographical area. In such case, membership of five years or more in a recognized local electrical, electronics, or computer engineering society may substitute for the five-year IEEE membership requirement, when the nomination is submitted within four years after the formation of the new Section.
The designation Life Member is applicable only to a member who has reached the age of 65 years and who has been a member of IEEE (or one of its predecessor societies) for such a period that the sum of his/her age and his/her years of membership equals or exceeds 100 years. All members having the designation Life Member (or Member-for-Life in the predecessor societies) shall be designated as a Life Member in IEEE.
Any member who would have been qualified on or before 31 December 1963 to be a Member-for-Life of AIEE, under the rules of eligibility of AIEE, or to be a Life Member of IRE, under the rules of the IRE, shall be qualified to be a Life Member of IEEE. The Executive Director shall grant Life Membership status to any member who would qualify for Life Membership during the remainder of the transition period prior to 1998 under the previous IEEE Bylaw.
Basic dues and assessments are waived for those achieving Life Member status.
To inquire about Life Member qualifications send an e-mail to Member and Geographic Activities.
Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD)
In 1996, IEEE instituted efforts to explore how to improve the retention and better meet the needs of recently graduated Student members. The concept of developing a peer group evolved and was named GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade). The GOLD group is defined as post-student members who are within ten years of receiving their first professional degree.
The most important action for GOLD members was to promote the concept at the local level. In 1998, the IEEE approved the formation of non-technical groups called Affinity Groups. Affinity Groups are formed under the joint supervision of the local section and parent entity (GOLD, Women in Engineering, Consultants' Network). Since the inception of Affinity Groups, GOLD members have embraced this concept and formalized GOLD Affinity Groups worldwide. Many varied activities, both social and community minded, are planned and organized by this group to meet and interact with their peers.
To help with the organization of this GOLD community network, each IEEE Region has a designated Region GOLD Coordinator to communicate news and information, help with activity organization and assist GOLD members in their respective region. A majority of the IEEE GOLD Affinity Groups maintain a web presence on their region Web sites.
A Society Affiliate is a member of an IEEE Society. Society Affiliates are not IEEE members and are not entitled to any IEEE benefits or services that are reserved solely for IEEE members. All affiliate benefits and services come directly from the individual IEEE Society offering affiliation. For each society affiliated with, the applicant pays a separate annual affiliate fee plus that IEEE Society's annual membership dues. Affiliate applications are provided by individual IEEE Societies offering affiliation.
Current Society Affiliates may convert to full IEEE membership by filling out the Affiliate to Member conversion application form.