Senior Member Program

Benefits of IEEE Senior Membership

  The professional recognition of your peers for technical and professional excellence.
  An attractive fine wood and bronze engraved Senior Member plaque to proudly display.
  Up to $25.00 gift certificate toward one new Society membership.
A letter of commendation to your employer on the achievement of Senior member grade (upon the request of the newly elected Senior Member.)
Announcement of elevation in Section/Society and/or local newsletters, newspapers and notices.
Eligibility to hold executive IEEE volunteer positions.
Can serve as Reference for Senior Member applicants.
Invited to be on the panel to review Senior Member applications.

Requirements for Senior Membership

IEEE Bylaw I-105.3 sets forth the criteria for elevation to Senior Member Grade, as follows:

"? 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."

IEEE-designated fields: These fields of endeavor are defined by the areas of technical interest included in the 37 technical Societies/Councils that are part of IEEE. A list of IEEE technical Societies/Councils may be found at .

Ten years of professional experience: The A&A Committee evaluating your application will count the years you have been in professional practice. Your educational experience is credited toward that time as follows:

  • 3 years for a baccalaureate degree in an IEEE-designated field
  • 4 years if you hold a baccalaureate and masters degree
  • 5 years if you hold a doctorate

Five years of significant performance: Many prospective applicants make the mistake of assuming that "significant performance" requires special awards, patents or other extremely sophisticated technical accomplishments; such is not the case. Substantial job responsibilities such as team leader, task supervisor, engineer in charge of a program or project, engineer or scientist performing research with some measure of success (papers), or faculty developing and teaching courses with research and publications, all are indications of significant performance well as the following:

  1. Substantial engineering, responsibility or achievement
  2. Publication of engineering or scientific papers, books or inventions
  3. Technical direction or management of important scientific or engineering work with evidence of accomplishment
  4. Recognized contributions to the welfare of the scientific or engineering profession
  5. Development or furtherance of important scientific or engineering courses in a program on the "Reference List of Educational Programs"
  6. Contributions equivalent to those of (A) to (E) above in areas such as technical editing, patent prosecution or patent law, provided these contributions serve to advance progress substantially in IEEE-designated fields.

The following are examples of significant performance that would serve to qualify an individual for elevation to Senior Member. In each case, we are assuming that three qualified references were provided:

Case 1. An applicant/nominee has a bachelor's degree and seven additional years of professional experience beyond graduation in an area encompassed by one of IEEE's technical Societies, which meets the requirement of ten years of professional experience. Significant performance can be demonstrated by describing substantial job responsibilities (e.g., team leader) for a period of at least five years. Result: All criteria are satisfied and the application is approved.

Case 2. Same as Case 1, except that the applicant/nominee worked in industry for one year following graduation with the bachelor's degree and then was a full-time graduate student for two years, obtaining a masters degree. The applicant demonstrates significant performance during another five years in industry. Result: Approved.

Case 3. An applicant/nominee has bachelor, masters, and doctoral degrees in an IEEE-designated field. Five years of significant performance in academia, industry, or government beyond the doctoral degree are demonstrated (e.g., a faculty member with five years beyond the doctorate and promotion to associate professor). Result: Approved.

Case 4. An applicant/nominee has no degree and has worked for many years in the electric industry as a technician. Ten years ago, he accepted an engineering level position and continued with it since that time. Included was a period of at least five years with demonstrated significant performance.
Result: Approved.

Case 5. An applicant/nominee retired some years ago and has not been active recently in the profession. Prior to retirement, the applicant/nominee had at least ten years of professional experience, including five years of significant performance. Result: Approved.


The applicant must also provide three references from IEEE members holding Senior Member, Fellow or Honorary Member grade. Your professional colleagues are your best source of these references. If you have difficulty in locating Senior Members or Fellows to serve as references, please contact your local Section or Chapter for assistance. For assistance in contacting your Section/Chapter Chair, email Denise Howard at

You are responsible for contacting these references. Each reference must send a brief note of recommendation directly to IEEE, preferably using the Senior Member Reference Form. If the applicant is being nominated by a Senior Member or Fellow, only two references need be submitted other than the nominator.

Submittal of a reference form does not by itself constitute a nomination. In order for a nomination to be processed as such, the nomination section of the application form has to be filled in, with or without a nominating entity. However, if you wish your Section or Society to receive a rebate of $10 for each successful nomination as part of the Nominate a Senior Member Initiative, the Section or Society's name must be provided.

How to Apply

The Senior Member application form is available in 3 formats.
Online version
Downloadable version
Electronic version
This form, in rich-text format, can be completed by the applicant and submitted electronically as an email attachment. If you are a Nominator, you can fill in your portion of the form and forward it to your nominee. The nominee can then complete the rest of the form and send it as an email attachment as instructed. To see how your Section or Society can earn financial rewards for nominating a member for Senior Member Grade, see Nominate A Senior Member Initiative.
  • To expedite the processing of your application, we suggest submitting your application online or sending the electronic version to .
  • Make sure that you have contacted three people to serve as your references and that they submit the reference forms in a timely manner.
  • For more specific instructions, see Guide to Applying.

What's in it for IEEE?

Many Executive Volunteer offices require that a member hold Senior Member grade.
Senior Members provide leadership on a volunteer basis.
The percent and number of IEEE Senior Members reflects on the competence and prestige of IEEE, its products and services.

Senior Membership in IEEE is key to Retention for the following reasons:

Senior Members have a retention rate of 98%.
A greater percentage of Senior Members belongs to more IEEE Societies than do other IEEE member grades.
Senior Members volunteer at a higher percentage rate than do other grades of IEEE members.

How can Sections and Societies help in this initiative?

Encourage qualified members to apply for Senior Member (SM) elevation.
Form local Senior Member nomination committees.
Use SAMIeee diskettes to identify potential SM candidates and assist applicants identify SM references.
List SM requirements in newsletters and on web pages.
Publicize your list of Senior Members and Fellows who can serve as references.
Conduct SM elevation events at least twice a year.
Explain the qualifications and have applicants complete applications at a special Senior Member Nomination/Elevation session.
Have Fellows and Senior Members on hand to meet applicants and for applicants to acquire the references needed.
Encourage newly elected Senior Members take an active role serving as references.
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