You can apply online at any time. Click Register then work through the questions to determine what your entry route is likely to be.
You pay a one-off student registration fee and then an annual student membership fee. Please refer to the website for the current fees.
The entry route is the point at which you enter the ICSA qualifying programme, including any exemptions we are able to grant you. Your entry route is determined by the qualifications you hold and your work experience.
There are six entry routes to the qualifying programme. Your entry route is based on the qualifications you hold and your work experience and ensures you enter the qualifying programme at the right level.
Please use our virtual assistant to determine your entry route and the exemptions you may be eligible for.
The six standard entry routes are:
Please refer to the full programme overview or use our virtual assistant to determine your entry route and the exemptions you may be eligible for.
Yes, depending on your entry route, if exemptions are awarded you will be required to pay the exemption fees.
It is ICSA policy to charge for exemptions to cover related administration costs. Your exemptions will not be recorded until the required fees have been paid in full.
You must submit certified copies of any relevant degree certificates or certificates for other academic qualifications relevant to your application. For example, if you have told us you hold a law degree, we need you to upload a certified copy of your degree certificate.
If you upload any degree certificates that are not for finance or law – for example you might check if we are prepared to offer exemptions for a Business Studies degree or an MBA – you must also submit a transcript of results.
If you apply as a qualified lawyer or accountant with less than 5 years’ relevant experience, you must submit confirmation of your current membership with the relevant professional body or Bar Council or the equivalent in your jurisdiction.
If you are a qualified lawyer or accountant with more than 5 years’ relevant experience, you can apply for the Fast Track Professional entry route. You must submit confirmation of your current membership with the relevant professional body or Bar Council or equivalent in your jurisdiction. Also, we will need a copy of your current CV which should provide us with sufficient information of your knowledge and experience in the areas of: governance, risk management, company secretarial duties, financial management and law.
A notary public, your HR manager or a person with professional status (e.g. doctor, lawyer, accountant, teacher etc.).
Yes, if they are not in English they should be:
Certified copies of both the original document and the translated document should be submitted to us.
This depends on your entry route and how many exemptions you have been granted. If you enter the qualifying programme with no exemptions, the fees you need to pay to register with ICSA are:
For students registering in 2019, the estimated cost would be £545 (or £358 in reduced rate fees).
If you enter the ICSA qualifying programme with exemptions, you would pay the above fees and the exemption fees for any modules for which you have been granted an exemption.
When you start preparing for an exam, you will also need to take the following costs into consideration:
You should check whether reduced rate fees would apply to you if you are studying outside the UK.
This will depend on a number of factors, including your entry route, whether you pay full or reduced rate fees, the number of times you need to attempt the exams and whether you take tuition for every module.
Students in the UK, Republic of Ireland and the Crown Dependencies pay the full rate fees. There are reduced rate fees for ICSA qualifying programme students who are living, registered with ICSA and sitting their exams in a number of countries. See the countries for which reduced rate applies.
Fast Track Professional students pay a one-off fee on confirmation of their entry route, which covers the initial registration fee, one year’s student membership, all exemption fees and an exam entry for each of the two modules.
Fast Track Professional students will still need to consider the additional costs of study texts and tuition.
We suggest that you start by choosing one module to study, so that you only take one exam at the first session. You will need to buy the ICSA study text book for the module you choose. The study texts are available either in hard copy or e-copy from the ICSA Bookshop.
If you reside outside the UK, you should consider purchasing an e-copy of the study text as the hard copy could take time to be delivered if you opt for standard delivery.
Yes, we strongly recommend you take tuition with one of ICSA’s tuition partners. Following a course will provide structure and framework to your study, plus you will have access to a tutor who will be able to help with questions and problems. You will also be able to get practice work marked and receive feedback.
Tuition fees start from around £300 and go up to £600. You should contact the tuition providers directly to confirm the costs.
Some of our tuition providers offer distance learning. These are listed under Global distance learning providers on our website and they appear at the top of the list.
We recommend around 200 study hours per module, which includes working with a tuition provider, working through the study material on your own, undertaking wider reading plus revising and preparing for the exam. If you are preparing for the Foundation Programme we recommend a total of 150 – 200 hours study.
Yes, you can be questioned on any aspect of the syllabus, so you do have to cover the whole text. However, you are not expected to have word-for-word recall of text pages. In the exams, the questions will ask you to relate what you know to realistic scenarios or to analyse and discuss issues. It is important that you learn in a way which relates knowledge to professional practice.
No, you don’t. It’s more important that you can demonstrate understanding of the principles involved in a case or a code reference. That said, there are some very common references for those working in governance / secretarial e.g. sections of the Companies Act referring to duties of directors, for which it can be good to show that you know the exact references.
No, these are closed book exams. To reflect this, we do not expect you to show perfect recall of the names of legal cases or sections of law or code.
Under the ‘Study Support’ section of your student portal, MyICSA, you can access resources such as past examination papers and answers, and a free e-book on how to study.
ICSA also provides study support webinars and module-specific webinars for students presented by examiners. You will receive an email with information on the date and time of any upcoming sessions and how you can book to attend.
If you are a registered student on the ICSA qualifying programme, you can enter to sit the exams online by logging on to your student portal, MyICSA, and clicking on ‘Manage my exams’.
ICSA exam sessions are held in June and November each year.
If you are sitting the Health Service Governance module, this can only be taken at the June session.
The exam entry deadlines are:
The examination timetable details the entry deadlines and dates of the exams.
We have a list of ICSA examination centres and if we do not have a centre in your area, you can apply to sit the exam at a special centre. You can download the special centre application form from the student portal, MyICSA, once you are a registered student.
You can enter to sit a maximum of 2 modules per session as explained in the student rules and regulations.
However, we advise that you read the module syllabus and understand what the module entails before making a decision on the number of exams you take per session.
As a suggestion, you could take one module at the start and see how that goes. If you pass and you feel you can handle the increased load, you can take a maximum of two exams at subsequent sessions.
You should let us know that you are unable to attend the exam and explain the reason why, whether this is before or after the exam. If you do not let us know, you will be marked ‘absent’ and this result will appear on your record.
If you let us know ahead of the exam entry deadline that you are unable to attend, we may be able to change your entry to the next exam session only. There is an administration charge for any such changes.
Once you have entered for an exam, you will receive confirmation of your entry by email. You can also view your current entry in the ‘Current Exam’ section in your student portal MyICSA.
If we need to make any specific arrangements with you, such as setting up a special examination centre, we will contact you directly.
Approximately four weeks prior to the exam date, you will receive an examination admission slip which gives you the date, time, and location of the exam. You need to print this and take it with you along with photo identification. You will not be permitted to enter the exams without this slip or photo ID.
The exam results for the June session are normally released in the first week of August and the results for the November session during the first week of February.
Please note the release dates we publish are always ‘estimated’ dates, but we do not normally need to change the dates.
Your exam results will be emailed to you on the result release date and you can also view your results on your student portal, MyICSA, under the ‘Manage my exams’ section.
You need to achieve an overall score of 50% to be awarded a pass. This means that you can fail one or more questions and still get a Pass grade if your total score is over 50%.
In the ‘Manage my exams’ section in your student portal, MyICSA, you can download the ‘Enquiries about exam results’ guidance, which sets out all your options.
Yes, we will send email reminders for all key dates, such as the exam entry deadline and exam result release date.
We will also let you know when you can register for study support events such as webinars.
The best way to get in touch is to use the Contact us form, which will direct your question to the right team at ICSA. If you enquiry is urgent, you can call us at +44 (0)20 7580 4741. Our office is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.00pm UK time.
Studying with a tuition partner is one of the best ways to do this, as you can meet other students who are preparing for the same subject as you. You can also join our student group on LinkedIn.
It is a good idea to find out if your local branch holds events and if students can attend. If you go along to events in your area, you can make contact with other ICSA members and possibly students too. If you are studying in the UK, you can make contact with the ICSA UK Student Forum.
Approximately four weeks after your final result is released, we will contact you to confirm your Graduate membership and you will be able to use the designation GradICSA.
You will also receive a certificate and information on how to upgrade your Graduate membership to Chartered status.
Yes, we hold this event once a year in the City of London. You will be invited to attend after you attain Graduate membership and when you progress to Associate and Fellow membership.
If you are studying outside the UK you can also check with your local ICSA branch to find out if there is a Graduation event in your area.
There are two levels of Chartered membership: Associate, denoted by the post-nominals ACIS, and Fellow, which uses the post-nominals FCIS.
To become an Associate requires six years’ relevant experience, which can be reduced to three years for any Graduate member with a degree or membership of another professional body at an equivalent level. Associate members can use the designation Chartered Secretary (and, from January 2021, Chartered Governance Professional).
To become a Fellow requires eight years’ work experience, three of which must be in a senior role. Fellows have been eligible to use the designation Chartered Secretary and/or Chartered Governance Professional since August 2018.