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Senior Membership FAQ

Often, the main hurdle for applying for IEEE Senior Membership is that the Member does not know three IEEE Senior Members for references.  Check out the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions about IEEE Senior Membership.


  • IEEE Senior Member Application, Nomination, and Reference Form:  This is the Senior Member application portal.  You must login with your IEEE username/password in order to access the portal.
  • IEEE Senior Members in the Dayton Section:  Look through the list of all Dayton Section Members to find a Senior Member reference that you know.  (need to login)
    • This is a SUPER HELPFUL (but hard to find) link!
    • Sort the list to find a Senior Member.  Sort the list alphabetically by last name if you know the name of someone who may be a Senior Member.  To sort the list by Member grade, click on the “Member Grade” link in the table header until Student Members show up at the top of the list, then Senior Members start on (about) the 4th page.
    • You do not have to limit your references to just Dayton Section “Senior Members”.  “Senior Member”, “Fellow”, “Life Senior”, and “Life Fellow” members from any IEEE section qualify as a reference.  However, the link above is the most requested list.
    • To contact a member, click on their name.  On “Member Profile” page, click on the “Send Message” link to the right of their name, and send a short note asking if they would kindly be a reference for your Sr. Member application.
  • IEEE site:  Senior Member FAQ
  • IEEE Senior Member Page Index Page
  • IEEE Senior Member Eligibility Requirements
  • Review Panel Dates and Locations
    • Applications should be submitted and completed (with three references) two weeks prior to the next review panel for consideration.
  • Status of Senior Member Applications
    • This list is updated every Friday.  Applications submitted throughout the week will show up on the Friday list.
  • Newly Elevated Senior Members


NOMINATORS/APPLICANTS: DO NOT CLICK SUBMIT until all necessary referrals are 'Complete'.

In the application, do not click submit until the necessary referrals (one nomination and 2 referrals, or 3 referrals) have changed from “Notified” to “Complete”.  If you click submit before your references have completed their referral, AND one of them is unable to complete the referral, you will not be able to add another reference to your application.  IEEE does have the ability to unlock the application, but it is a difficult process and best to avoid.


IEEE Site: Senior Member FAQ

IEEE does have an IEEE Senior Member FAQ that answers:

The Dayton Section is providing this Senior Member FAQ to answer questions that are specific to the Dayton Section members or to answer questions that are not addressed on the IEEE Senior Member FAQ.


The Application Process
  • You have been nominated?  Great!  Get started!
    • You already have one of three references!
  • Not nominated?  Not a problem.  You can self-nominate.
    • Or you can kindly ask a Senior Member to nominate you.
  • Fill out the Senior Member Application and upload your resume.
    • But don’t click “Submit”!
  • Find Senior Member References or ask for help from your local Section officers or Membership Development Chair.
    • See IEEE SENIOR MEMBER LINKS at the top of this page for more information.
    • Include your references’ IEEE number in the Reference tab of the application.
  • Wait for the references to complete their referral and then click “Submit” in your application.
    • On the Reference tab of the application, the status of the references who have finished their referral will change from “Pending” or “Notified” to “Complete”.
  • Track your application status in the Senior Member Application Status Report.
    • Applications that are still in Draft status and have not been submitted will not show up in this list. 
    • Applications that have been submitted and are still waiting for referrals will be in the second section, “Submitted and Pending Referrals”. 
    • Applications that have been submitted with completed referrals will be in the last section, “Submitted and Pending Reviews”.
  • Review upcoming Review Panel Dates and Locations to find the next opportunity when your application may be reviewed.
    • Applications must be submitted 10 days prior to a review, or will be deferred to a later review.
    • Sometimes there are too many application to review at a single panel and some applications will need to be reviewed at a later panel. 
  • Track your application status in your Senior Member Application and review the list of Newly Elevated Senior Members.
    • It could take up to two weeks following a review, but these will be the first indicators that you have been elevated. 
    • For new Senior Members, the status of the applications will change from “Submitted and Pending Review”, to “Approved”.
  • Receive your Sr. Member package in the mail:  plaque, letters, etc.
    • It will take a few more weeks for your package to show up in the mail.


New Senior Members

Now that you’re a Senior Member, you may think you’re done.  But here are some great follow-up activities to leverage your new Senior Member status.

  • Request that IEEE send a Senior Member Employer Notification letter to your employer.
    • This does not happen automatically; you must request that the letter be sent.  It’s a great way to notify your employer.
  • Display your plaque.
    • Be proud of what you have accomplished!
  • Nominate a Member for Sr. Membership in the same Senior Member Application site where you applied.
    • The best time to learn how to be a Senior Member reference is right after you become Senior Member when the process is still fresh in your mind. 
    • Remember, when nominating, don’t click Submit and be sure to identify the “Dayton Section” as the “Nominating Entity” in the first tab. 
    • Review the NOMINATOR FAQ below for more information.
  • Recruit new Members with your New Senior Member coupons that come in your Sr. Member package.
    • These coupons are good only in the year that you are elevated to Senior Member and they offer the newly recruited members a significant savings. 
  • Review the IEEE Member-Get-a-Member (MGM) Program and Invite a Friend to Join IEEE!
    • Learn how to save money while helping others join and benefit from IEEE. 


For the DoD-affiliated Workforce Members

With Wright-Patterson AFB close to Dayton, the IEEE Dayton Section has a lot of military, DoD civilian government, and DoD contractor members. Here is some advice on the application and the resume that is directed to the DoD-affiliated members:

  • The review panel is an international panel and typically civilian. Leave out anything that is considered sensitive, any reference to clearances, and any unnecessary classification markings.
  • Military acronyms need to be spelled out for the benefit of the reviewer.
  • Quantify military terms such as wing and squadron in terms that a non-military person could understand.
  • Military-specific job titles are not self-explanatory and may require a brief description and list of duties and responsibilities.


Senior Member qualifications are broad

It is important to understand the broad scope of Senior Member qualification.  The following guidance comes from the IEEE page on Requirements for Senior Member Grade.

“The Applicant doesn’t really do ‘engineering’.” 

The Senior Member applicant must be an engineer, scientist, educator, technical executive, or originator who contributes to advance progress in IEEE-designated fields or contributes to the welfare of the scientific or engineering profession.

IEEE Designated Fields include:

  • Engineering
  • Computer Sciences and Information Technology
  • Physical Sciences
  • Biological and Medical Sciences: such as a bioengineer
  • Mathematics
  • Technical Communication: such as technical editor
  • Education: such as instructor
  • Management: such as human resource
  • Law and Policy: such as patent lawyer

“The Applicant doesn’t do engineering ‘anymore’.”

Life and Retired members are eligible for Senior Member Grade. Significant performance that would serve to qualify an individual for elevation to Senior Member need not have occurred in the years immediately prior to the application.

“The Applicant has not had 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, but this 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.  See the IEEE page on Requirements for Senior Member Grade – Five Years of Significant Performance for examples of significant Performance


What to do if a Reference feels that the Applicant/Nominee does not meet Eligibility Requirements for Senior Membership

First, review the above item:  “Senior Member qualifications are broad.”  Be sure that you understand the broad scope of the Senior Member qualification.

If, in your opinion as a Senior Member reference, the applicant does not meet the “IEEE Senior Member Eligibility Requirements” (see Links above), then this would be a good opportunity for you, the Reference/Nominator, to discuss where improvements could be made.

  • Perhaps the applicant needs to more fully document their achievements on their resume in terms that clearly quantify the significance of the accomplishment.
  • Perhaps the applicant needs additional training to broaden their expertise or update their skill set.
  • Perhaps you feel that the applicant requires addition time/experience to achieve the performance level of a Senior Member.

If, for whatever reason, you believe that the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements, gently provide recommendations for what you feel that they can do in their career to meet the requirements.  Do not forget the IEEE career resources for training and mentoring.  And finally, consider becoming a mentor in the IEEE Mentor program.

SENIOR MEMBERSHIP: Why Members should apply? / Why Members do not apply?

Why Members should apply for Senior Membership

  • Recognition: Senior Members have the endorsement of peers for technical and professional excellence.
  • Leadership Eligibility: Senior members are eligible to hold executive IEEE volunteer positions.
  • Refer Senior Member Candidates: Senior members can nominate or serve as a reference for Senior member applicants.
  • Senior Member Review Panel: Senior members may sit on panels to review Senior member applications.
  • Other Benefits: Plaque; $25 coupon to join a new IEEE Society; Letter of Commendation; Announcements in local news media; $25 referral coupons for new IEEE members; Does not increase membership fee.


Why Members do not apply for Senior Membership

  • Don’t know three Senior Members, or are unaware that they know Senior Members for references.
  • Thought it would take too long to apply for Senior Membership.
  • Don’t know that they qualify for Senior Membership (IEEE Senior Member Eligibility Requirements).
  • Thought it would increase their membership fees



Do I need to be nominated by a Senior Member?

  • No.  IEEE Members can self-nominate for Senior Membership without a nomination.  However, a nomination by an IEEE Senior Member is considered one of the three Senior Member references needed to complete the application!  New IEEE Members may already qualify for Senior Membership.


How does a nomination differ from a self-nomination?

  • Self-Nomination: Any IEEE Member can apply for Senior Membership without a nomination. This is called “self-nomination”. If you are self-nominating you will need three references to each write a referral for your application package.
  • Nomination: An IEEE Senior Member or IEEE Fellow can nominate another IEEE member for Senior Membership. If you are nominated by a Senior Member, then that nomination will count as one of the three referrals, and you will need just two written referrals.
  • Surprise Nomination: Senior Members and Fellows can nominate someone for Senior Membership without their knowledge. There is a check box at the top of the first tab to indicate a surprise nomination. In this case, the nominator has the burden of completing the application, including obtaining a resume with sufficient detail to meet the application standards. This has been done, but it can be challenging.


Have I been nominated?

  • Don’t know if you have been nominated?  If you have been nominated, then you will see your application when you login to the “IEEE Senior Member Application, Nomination, and Referral” (see Links above).  There is a “View/Edit Application” link to the right of your name.


I was nominated.  So now what?

  • What does the nominator do for me?  You and your nominator both have access to fill out your application.  But you should consider your nominator to be your mentor or facilitator for the application process.  Your nominator and your local IEEE section leadership can help you find additional Senior Member references (you will need at least two references if nominated and three if self-nominated) to review your resume, and if possible, provide a referral for you application.
  • What do I have to do?  Complete the application.  You are the applicant, and you are the most knowledgeable person to complete the application. So it is best if you complete the application instead of leaving it to your nominator. This means that all fields in your application package can be completed by you, including uploading your resume if it has not been done by your nominator.  Be sure to check “Yes” on the Reference tab of your application if you would like your references to have read access to your application.  This will make it easier for your references to complete the referral by reminding them of the work that you have done so that they can cite it in their referral.  Additionally, it makes it easier to share the information instead of handing a hardcopy or emailing a soft copy.
  • Do I have to make changes to my information?  Your nominator and Senior Member references may recommend changes to your resume or the fields in your application.  Their advice is based on their experience as an IEEE Senior Member having gone through this process and possibly mentoring/facilitating others through the process.  Their desire is to see you reach Senior Membership grade and any recommendations for changes are made with the best of intentions.  But ultimately it is your application.



About Dates On Your Application

Dates are very important and the review panel will look at start and end/graduation dates for each position and degree, not just the year. They make sure that everything makes sense and that degrees do not stack on top of each other.  If they do overlap, a good, clear explanation is needed in the resume.


Application Info tab

  • Nominators:  Be sure to list “Dayton Section” as the nominating entity.
  • The top part of this tab will pre-populate once you put in your IEEE number.
  • Professional Experience:  List positions, include start date and end date for each position, organization name, organization address, list of duties and responsibilities.  Blank lines will be removed, so use “==========” to separate positions if it makes it more readable.
  • Significant Performance:  List at least five years of significant performance in terms of accomplishments.  Dates do not need to be consecutive but they must add up to a minimum of five years.  List start date and end dates.  Quantify accomplishments; include metrics that help the reader understand the significance of the achievement.  Was it better? faster? cheaper?

Education tab

  • Provide graduation date AND a start date for each degree.
  • If you have a bachelor degree and a PhD, but not master degree, you will not be able to include your PhD on the education tab because the system will require a master degree prior to entering a PhD.  In this case, enter “N/A” for education and include your education at the top of the Professional Experience field on the Application Info tab.  Include all information required for each degree on the Education tab, including start date and graduation date.

Present Occupation tab

  • Complete address of your current employer and not the organizations where you are performing the work.

References tab

  • You can list up to four references.  You will need their IEEE number and the easiest way to get their number is to ask them if they would be a reference.  If so, then ask for their IEEE number.
  • Your references will be notified by email as soon as you enter their IEEE number.  If you are nominated then the application will take the first two referrals that are completed.  If you self-nominate, then the application will take the first three referrals that are completed.
  • The status of the reference will change from Notified (email has been sent), to Pending (waiting for a reply), to Complete (referral has been submitted).
  • Be sure to check “Yes” if you would like your references to have read access to your application.  This will make it easier for your references to complete the referral by reminding them of the work that you have done so that they can cite it in their referral.

Attachments tab

  • A resume is a mandatory document.  Other documents can be submitted but typically are not necessary if the resume and application have sufficient detail.

Submit tab

  • Once you have the required numbers of referrals for your application, and all of the required fields of the application have been completed, then you should submit your application for review.



  • IEEE site:  Senior Member FAQ:  Applicant Questions:  Check this link if you do not see the answer to you question here.
  • Can I apply for Senior Membership as a Student Member?  Student Members can apply for Senior Membership if they meet all of the Senior Member Eligibility Requirements.  Often Student Members who have had five or more years of professional experience meet the Eligibility Requirements when they include their academic degrees into the 10 years of professional experience:  BS gives you 3 yrs of credit towards the 10 yrs of employment; MS gives 4 yrs of credit; PhD gives 5 yrs of credit.  However, once you are awarded Senior Membership status, you will be required to pay the full Member fee and no longer qualify for the Student Member rate.
  • My degrees include a bachelor degree and a five year PhD; thus I do not have a masters degree.  However, the Education tab requires a masters degree to be input before I can input my PhD.  How do I complete the Education tab of the application?  See “THE APPLICATION” section on this page for instructions on how to document your education.
  • Do I have to make changes to my information based on the feedback from my references?  Your nominator and Senior Member references may recommend changes to your resume or the fields in your application.  Their advice is based on their experience as an IEEE Senior Member having gone through this process and possibly mentoring/facilitating others through the process.  Their desire is to see you reach Senior Membership grade and any recommendations for changes are made with the best of intentions.  But ultimately it is your application.
  • My application was deferred.  How soon can I reapply?  The feedback from the review committee may include some details regarding the requirements that they believe to be missing from your application to fulfill the Senior Member Eligibility Requirements.  The feedback is individualized for each application and may include recommendations to strengthen the application and for a date to reapply.


NOMINATOR FAQ (What does a Senior Member need to know to nominate?)

  • IEEE site:  Senior Member FAQ:  Nominator Questions:  Check this link if you do not see the answer to you question here.
  • Verify Qualifications:  Talk with the applicant to verify that they meet the “IEEE Senior Member Eligibility Requirements” (see Links above).  If you feel that the applicant is not eligible, then see “What to do if the Applicant/Nominee does not meet Eligibility Requirements” above on this page.
  • Nominate:  To nominate someone, you will need to know their IEEE Membership Number.  When you enter their number on the Application Info tab, the rest of the personal information will pre-populate.
    • WARNING:  Do not click SUBMIT.  This should be done after the application is complete, with referrals also complete.
    • IMPORTANT:  Be sure to list “Dayton Section” as the Nominating Entity on the right side, above the Professional Experience section.
  • Mentor the Nominee:  Your involvement in this process could end here.  However, as a Senior Member and the nominator, you should mentor/facilitate your nominee in the process of completing the application.  There is plenty of information on this page.  Become familiar with the Senior Member Application Process (above on this page) and point the nominee to this page for answers to questions.  If the nominee’s resume or application requires additional supporting content, gently provide recommendations for changes.
  • Instruct the Applicant to Complete the Application:  The next step is to instruct the nominee (aka applicant), to complete the application.  Most nominees will not know where to find the IEEE Senior Member Application, Nomination, and Reference Form.  The link can be found at the top of this page.
  • Facilitate the Application Process:  Be sure that your nominee has been matched with at least two references for their application if they do not already know Senior Members who will provide a referral.  You can review the list of IEEE Senior Members in the Dayton Section together (link at top). At a minimum, an email introduction is appropriate.  These references should be willing to meet the applicant and, if they feel it is appropriate, provide a referral in a timely manner.
  • Encourage the Applicant:  Encourage the applicant to complete the application and then submit.  You can track the progress of the application in the IEEE Senior Member Application, Nomination, and Reference Form.
  • Congratulate the Applicant:  Once they receive their Senior Member notification, they are now officially an IEEE Senior Member.  Encourage this new Senior Member to recruit new members with the coupons they receive and encourage them to find other IEEE Members who are deserving of Senior Membership.


REFERENCE FAQ (What does a Senior Member have to do to be a reference?)

Senior Members are able to provide a referral for IEEE Members who are applying or have been nominated for Senior Membership AND who have met the “IEEE Senior Member Eligibility Requirements” (see Links above and see “What to do if the Applicant/Nominee does not meet Eligibility Requirements” above on this page).  When a person is listed as a reference, they will receive an email with a link to a form to fill out about the candidate.

References do not have to wait for the email notification. Once a Senior Member has been listed as a reference, they may go into the IEEE Senior Member site and complete the reference form. The IEEE “Senior Member Application, Nomination, and Reference Form” site is accessible with an IEEE username / password (see Links above).  The request for reference will appear under the heading “My Referrals”.  The applicant or nominator may also have checked the box to permit references to view the application, including attachments such as the resume.

Save your referral.  It is recommended that a Reference save the text for the “Significant Performance” section of the referral before final submission (for instance, save to hard drive, email to self, etc.).  Occasionally a reference will be asked to recreate their referral in the event that there was a problem with the application.  Most people do not want to recreate their written work.  Be advised, it is best to save your referral until the applicant has been promoted to Senior Member.

EXAMPLE REFERRAL:  A reference has seven fields to fill out. Below is a notional referral which is based on an actual referral.

Member #:           98765432

Member Name:   Jane Doe

Do you know the candidate professionally? Yes | No

How many years have you known the candidate? 1 yr

What is your professional relationship to the candidate? (Co-worker, Supervisor, Team Lead)

How did you become familiar with the professional background of the candidate? Talking with Jane as an IEEE local member the last 6 months and reviewing her detailed CV.

How many years has the candidate been in professional practice? 12 yrs

Please indicate whether you consider the candidate to be: (select one) Well Qualified | Qualified | Marginally Qualified | Not Qualified

Significant Performance: In your words, explain how the candidate has significantly performed his/her professional duties for at least 5 years; providing dates will help the review panelists (examples include project impact, patents, etc.)

Ms. Jane Doe has 5+ years (2000-2005) of professional experience in software development, system administration and web development. She has had 7 years of sustained significant performance as a technical program manager (2005-present). In this capacity Jane was responsible for establishing technical requirements, analyzing alternatives, selecting approach(es) to pursue, managing the execution of those approaches (resource allocation, budgeting, scheduling), and technology demonstration in the form of a prototype. In this time period Jane led 9 technology development programs from inception to prototype development resulting in 2 patents, three innovative products for small businesses, and one new technology research investment of over $2M over 2 yrs.

Ms. Doe and I work in the same large organization, and although I have not worked directly with her, I am aware of the types of programs she has managed. The quality and scope of the programs she has managed is ample evidence of sustained significant performance.


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