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 IRSE Exam


The IRSE professional examination provides one of the main routes to corporate membership of the Institution. It is designed to test candidates' knowledge of railway signal and telecommunications principles and practices and is modular in nature, to permit students to sit modules that are relevant to their particular subject specialism and experience. The examination is held in a number of centres around the world, generally on the first Saturday in October.  Applicants must already be members of the Institution and all applications to sit the examination must be made by 30 June of that year.

Before applying, you must gain endorsement from a Sponsor (an IRSE Fellow or Member) who is familiar with your abilities and experience, and considers you capable of passing your selected Exam modules.  If you are taking modules of the Exam this year, you must first read the 2018 Exam Application Guidance document which will give you and your Sponsor clear instructions.  Once you have received written authority from the IRSE, you may complete the Online Application Form.  Under no circumstances will applications be accepted without appropriate endorsement.  If you have not registered to gain access to the members’ area already, click on the appropriate tab at the top of the home page and follow the simple instructions.  Link to application form.

There are seven exam modules (see below) and to gain the full IRSE Exam, it is necessary to achieve a Pass in four of them. Module 1 is compulsory and you choose a further three modules to suit your experience and specialism.

Module 1: Safety of Railway Signalling and Communications
Module 2: Signalling the layout
Module 3: Signalling principles
Module 4: Communications principles
Module 5: Signalling & Control Equipment, Applications Engineering
Module 6: Communications Equipment, Applications Engineering
Module 7: Systems, Management & Engineering

The exam syllabus provides a description of the topics covered in each of the modules and indicates the breadth and the depth of knowledge required.  Exam candidates have access to exam support resources, available through the members’ area of the website.

The candidate with the highest marks in any one year, will be considered for the Thorrowgood Scholarship Award.  This provides a cash sum to be used to further an individual’s interest in railway signalling and telecommunications and through an organised technical visit to a railway administration and/or a supplier.  For further details see LINK TO

When should I take the exam?
It is important to apply to sit modules of the Exam when you are fully prepared so please take the time to read the important guidance document in the right-hand column.

 IRSE exam dates