Registering as an ICSA student member

How do I apply to be a student member on the ICSA qualifying programme?

You can apply online at any time. Click Register then work through the questions to determine what your entry route is likely to be.

As part of the registration process, you will be asked to read and accept the student rules and regulations and abide by ICSA’s Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct.

What fee do I pay to register as a student?

You pay a one-off student registration fee and then an annual student membership fee. Please refer to the website for the current fees.

What is my ‘entry route’?

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.

How do I find out what my entry route and exemptions are likely to be? 

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.

What are the main entry routes?

The six standard entry routes are:

  • The Foundation Programme entry – the open access route to the full qualifying programme.
  • Part One entry – for students who hold certain business-related qualifications, or graduates of any degree programme with 5 or more years of governance or secretarial related experience.
  • Related Degree entry – for students who hold a law or finance degree, but are not lawyers or accountants.
  • Professional entry – for qualified lawyers or accountants with 0 – 5 years’ experience.
  • Fast Track Professional entry – for qualified lawyers or accountants with more than 5 years’ experience.
  • MOU route – for those who are members of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries India and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Nigeria.

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.

Do students pay an exemption fee, and why?

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.

When registering as a student, what documents do I need to upload to get my exemptions and entry route confirmed?

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.

Who can certify documents such as academic or professional certificates and transcripts of results?

A notary public, your HR manager or a person with professional status (e.g. doctor, lawyer, accountant, teacher etc.).

Do the certificates need to be in English?

Yes, if they are not in English they should be:

  • translated by someone fluent in both languages, who is not related to the student
  • certified as an accurate translation of the original by the translator

Certified copies of both the original document and the translated document should be submitted to us.

Fees

How much will it cost me to register and get started as an ICSA qualifying programme student?

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:

  • Registration – this is a one-off fee to register as an ICSA student member.
  • Subscription – you pay this when you register, and then you have to pay annually to maintain your student membership.
  • Exam fees – you pay this fee each time you sit an exam.

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:

  • Study text – you need to buy the study text for the module you choose to study first.
  • Tuition – you do not pay this fee to ICSA, but if you take tuition there will be a fee to the ICSA tuition partner.

You should check whether reduced rate fees would apply to you if you are studying outside the UK. 

How much will it cost to complete the ICSA qualifying programme?

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.

Are there any discounts on the fees?

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.

What is the fee for Fast Track Professional?

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.

Preparing for the exams

What do I need in order to start studying?

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.

Can I get tuition for the qualifying programme?

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.

How much does tuition cost?

Tuition fees start from around £300 and go up to £600. You should contact the tuition providers directly to confirm the costs.

What can I do if there is no tuition provider in my area?

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.

How long does it take to prepare for an exam?

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.

Do I have to learn the entire study text?

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.

Do I have to remember sections of codes or the correct names of legal cases?

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.

Are we provided with copies of statutes or any other references in the exam?

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.

What study support is available from ICSA?

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.

Entering for exams

How do I enter for the exams?

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’.

When do the exam sessions take place and when are the entry deadlines?

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:

Exam Sessions

Deadline

November

23 September

June

23 March

The examination timetable details the entry deadlines and dates of the exams.

Where in my country can I sit 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.

How many modules can I take per exam session?

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.

What happens if I enter for an exam and I’m not able to take it?

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.

What information will I receive from ICSA after I enter for an exam?

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.

What do I need to take to the exam centre?

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.

Exam results

When does ICSA release the exam results?

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.

How do I receive my results?

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.

What is the threshold for a pass?

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%.

How can I find out more about my exam result?

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.

Communication with ICSA and enquiries

Will I get reminders and alerts about important dates?

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.

How can I get in touch if I have any questions?

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.

How can I make contact with other ICSA students?

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.

Completing the qualifying programme

What happens when I pass my final exam?

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.

Is there a Graduation Ceremony?

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.

How do I become a Chartered Member or Chartered Governance Professional?

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.

Contact us

For enquiries regarding student membership and studying with ICSA please contact the Membership team or read the FAQ's:

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