The Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme (formerly CSQS) is the benchmark qualification for governance professionals. It builds a unique breadth of technical skills that equip you for a varied career at board level and validates your knowledge with an internationally respected accreditation.
Governance Professionals and Chartered Secretaries hold a range of jobs such as Corporate Counsel, Company Secretary, or Head of Governance, Risk and Compliance. What unites them is knowledge of legal and regulatory requirements, understanding of corporate strategy and structures, and the skills to support and advise, enabling directors and the board to make the right decisions.
Qualifying with ICSA gives you technical know-how, critical skills and validation of your professional knowledge. There are many routes through the qualifying programme according to your needs and background. Discover which is for you.
The ICSA Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme
The ICSA Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme is a postgraduate-level award that qualifies professionals in company secretarial practice, governance and strategic management. It is recognised across sectors and industries and offers access to a network of like-minded individuals and ongoing development opportunities through membership of ICSA: The Governance Institute.
Whether you are a recent graduate finding your way or an established lawyer seeking to build on your experience and broaden your horizon, our qualifying programme gives you access to a fascinating and rewarding career in governance.
Many people find themselves studying the ICSA qualifying programme when swapping to a governance role mid-career, often from a legal or accountancy background. Those already in governance roles will develop the technical skills which help them in their daily work and identify opportunities for career progression.
'I felt CSQS could provide me with the foundations for a challenging and varied career… I like the fact there is a broad range of expertise within the qualification, which gives scope for sustained career experience.'
Laura Ganderton (BSC Hons.) Company Secretary, The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham.
ICSA Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme
Modules: Part ONEStudents can choose one of the following modules:
Modules: Part TWO
Exam informationEach subject consists of a final three hour written exam, plus 15 minutes reading time. The pass mark for each exam is 50%.
|CSQS and ICSA qualifying programme exam timetable|
|Morning – 9.15am start||Afternoon – 1.30pm start|
|Tuesday||Financial Reporting and Analysis||Financial Decision Making|
|Wednesday||Applied Business Law||Corporate Secretarial Practice|
|Thursday||Corporate Governance/ Health Service Governance||Strategy in Practice|
|Friday||Corporate Law||Chartered Secretaries Case Study|
How do I study?
The ICSA qualifying programme is highly technical and set at a high level, so students are advised to commit approximately 150-200 hours of study for each module. Consistent learning practices are strongly recommended and incorporating a study plan allows for comfortable student progression.
Tuition or self-study options are available to all qualifying programme students, and students who register for tuition are more successful in achieving their goals on the course.
ICSA qualifying programme students who study with a tuition provider have a higher chance of passing the exams. This is the recommended study route for the qualifying programme, providing an additional support network for students.
As well as higher pass rates, benefits include:
Ability to submit practice papers for continued feedback and guidance
Attending sessions with facilitators to help set the pace of study
Fast, practical answers to any queries throughout the course
Regular contact with an expert tutor
Be sure to also register with ICSA to confirm which modules you need to take and to enter for your exams.
Self-study is also an option, where you prepare for the exam yourself.
We offer dedicated student facilities, designed to support you while you study with us:
Access to past past papers and suggested answers are available via MyICSA, the secure area of our website especially for ICSA students and members
Access to moduule-specific webinars and recordings, presented by the examiner
A comprehensive study skills eBook
Study support webinars in areas such as planning your study and exam techniques
Achieving Chartered status
Once you have passed all the modules required, you will become a Graduate member of ICSA and will be able to use the post-nominal GradICSA, signifying your technical and analytical knowledge. This post nominal is internationally recognised.
You can apply for chartered status once you have completed six years of appropriate professional experience or three years if you also have a degree. This experience can be gained while you are studying the qualifying programme. When you become an Associate of ICSA you are then a Chartered Secretary and can use the post-nominal ACIS.