Note: I'm asking for an older relative with close to 30 years of relevant experience in electrical engineering. He has a bachelor's degree. We both live in Canada.

Due to how his employer's criterion work, having a master's degree would help greatly for getting a promotion. He has published 2 articles in IEEE and 3 patents. He also works closely with the R&D department and has developed a new technology (on which the papers were based).

Is it possible to use relevant experience and publications to get a master's degree? Possibly an accelerated program that would not take two years?

  • Many masters degrees only take one year
    – Dylan
    Jul 24, 2016 at 0:53
  • Does the employer's criteria not recognize peer-reviewed publications or patents at all? If it does, then they've already decided on the value of those contributions. If not, has it been suggested to the right parties?
    – Ben Voigt
    Jul 24, 2016 at 1:34
  • It does, but the masters is a plus.
    – JS Lavertu
    Jul 24, 2016 at 1:35
  • @JSLavertu: If the Master's degree is worth more than the papers and patents, then either (a) it IS more or (b) the criteria are somewhat arbitrary, and by presenting the right argument to the people judging them, it may be possible to get the level of credit corresponding to the equivalent degree instead of the total of values of the individual actions. Note that I'm not saying that the degree is more than what your friend has done, just that it's more than he has written evidence to show -- which also means that evidence won't be enough for a university to issue the degree.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jul 24, 2016 at 2:22

1 Answer 1


From an academic point of view, no. Work experience is not counted as a substitute for formal study in academia.

Academics consider the award of degrees for work experience to be fraudulent. Some employers will accept these degrees for promotion purposes.

  • 4
    On the other hand, the employers who recognize such degree-for-life-experience credentials would probably grant the promotion directly on the basis of the peer-reviewed articles and patents; a degree of that type adds no value.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jul 24, 2016 at 1:32

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