2020 IRSE Professional Exam changes

The IRSE Professional Examination is changing from 2020 onwards

IRSE Council has given the go-ahead for the first changes to the structure of the IRSE Professional Examination in 25 years.  The changes are intended to simplify the module structure, to introduce modern assessment techniques and to encourage a much wider population of railway professionals to learn about control and communications principles and practices whilst maintaining the high status of the exam.

Two qualifications will be available, a “certificate in railway control engineering fundamentals” and “advanced diploma in railway control engineering” (also remains as the full IRSE professional exam).

Passes in existing modules will be valid for the new exam indefinitely.  Please check the online tool to see which new module(s) you will have to sit to pass the full IRSE professional exam,

Awards will remain available to candidates who achieve outstanding marks in the exam.

The changes are detailed below, with frequently asked questions available:

New stand-alone “fundamentals of railway control engineering” qualification (Module A)

From October 2020, a new qualification will be available “fundamentals of railway control engineering” which covers all aspects of railway control engineering at a foundation level which will be a stand-alone qualification.  This makes it suitable for a much wider group of people working on or around railway control and communications systems (for example junior signalling and telecoms engineers, project managers and planners, software developers and mangers of contractors and sub-contractors).

This will be examined using a computer-based assessment in exam centres across the world.  Initially candidates will be able to sit Module A once a year in October.  If there is sufficient demand, then this will be increased to at least twice a year.

Module A will also be the mandatory pre-qualifier for all wishing to sit the full IRSE professional exam.  In the future this may remove the need for sponsorship by senior engineers and managers.

The syllabus is in the document library below and example questions will be available soon.

Successful completion of Module A will lead to the new qualification "certificate in railway control engineering fundamentals" being awarded.

New mandatory advanced modules in safety and systems, principles and applications (Modules B to D)

The syllabus of the professional exam is being split into three mandatory advanced modules available from October 2021.  You will need to have passed Module A (or module(s) from the current exam) before you can sit Modules B to D.

  • Module B: Railway safety and systems engineering
  • Module C: Principles of railway control and communication systems
  • Module D: Applications of railway control and communication systems

The syllabus for each module is in the document library below and example questions will be available soon.

Successful completion of all four modules will lead to the IRSE professional examination and new qualification "advanced diploma in railway engineering" being awarded.