IRSE Professional Exam
  1. Licensing
  2. Membership & Registration
  3. Qualifications & Careers
  4. Publications & Resources
  5. Get Involved
  6. News
  1. Licensing
  2. Membership & Registration
  3. Qualifications & Careers
  4. Publications & Resources
  5. Get Involved
  6. News

The IRSE Professional Exam

Passing the Advanced Diploma in Railway Control Engineering (IRSE Professional Exam) provides one of the main routes to corporate membership of the Institution and can provide additional qualifications for professional registration

It is designed to test candidates' knowledge of railway signal and telecommunications principles and practices and is modular in nature, allowing students to answer questions that are relevant to their particular subject specialism and experience. An additional qualification is also available, called Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals.

The exam regulations ensure that all candidates are given the same opportunities and that the examinations are conducted in a fair manner, we advise that you read these regulations before applying to take the exam.

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

2022 exams dates:

Education & Professional Development Committee have agreed that:

  • Saturday 26 March 2022: Exam day for those wishing to sit Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A) only
  • Saturday 1 October 2022: Exam day for all candidates wishing to sit either the Certificate (Module A) (members and non-members) or up to three of the Advanced Diploma modules (Module B, Module C and Module D) (members who have passed a module previously and who are up-to-date with their subscription fees) BOOKING HAS NOW CLOSED

2023 exams dates:

Education & Professional Development Committee have not announced these yet. It is expected that:

  • A Saturday in March 2023: Exam day for those wishing to sit Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A) only
  • A Saturday early in October 2023: Exam day for all candidates, who will be able to book either the Certificate (Module A) (members and non-members) or up to three of the Advanced Diploma modules (Module B, Module C and Module D) (members who have passed a module previously and who are up-to-date with their subscription fees) 

The Advanced Diploma

The Advanced Diploma consists of four mandatory modules as listed below. Passing all four modules (or an agreed combination with previously available modules, see irse.info/exam) will lead you to be awarded the Advanced Diploma in Railway Control Engineering.

For more details, please see each modules' exam resources page (hyperlinks above and left hand menu). There is no time limit for completing the Advanced Diploma and passes in previously available modules will always count towards it.

Council have agreed that a distinction or higher in the Central Queensland University Graduate diploma in railway signalling or a pass in the University of Birmingham Railway Safety and Control Systems (RSCS) MSc is the equivalence of the IRSE exam (Advanced Diploma).  Please read the process for establishing equivalence document if you are an educational organisation seeking to demonstrate equivalence.

The Certificate

The Certificate covers all aspects of railway control engineering at a foundation level. This is a stand-alone qualification in addition to being a mandatory pre-qualifier for all wishing to take the Advanced Diploma (unless have passes in previously available modules).

The Certificate is be suitable for a much wider group of people working on or around railway control and communications systems than the Advanced Diploma. Junior signalling and telecoms engineers, project managers, project planners, software developers and managers of contractors and sub-contractors will demonstrate a broad knowledge of railway control and communications systems engineering by passing this module.  For more details, please see the module A exam resources page.

Practical details for the 2022 exams

For those wishing to sit modules in October 2022:

For those wishing to sit their Advanced Diploma modules (Modules B, C and D) and are not IRSE members, please complete your application form and email it into membership@irse.org. Please note we cannot guarantee that your membership application will be processed and agreed before the cut-off date for exam bookings, and that study materials for the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D) are only available to members.

Booking closed on 31 July 2022 to ensure that candidates are committed to preparing for their module(s), practice papers can be set up online and examiners know how many papers to prepare for

Exam day for all modules is Saturday 1 October 2022

All candidates are reminded that the IRSE exams are closed book examinations, with remote proctoring (invigilation) and anti-plagiarism software in place to detect any infringement to these rules.

Where do I go to sit the exam?

  • There will be no exam centres in 2022, with all exam candidates sitting the exam at a suitable location for them. Candidates will need a computer or laptop  with a webcam and a reliable internet connection which can access the exam website and software. Candidates will be given access to practice sessions to ensure that this works for them

What pre-requisites are there?

  • For candidates sitting the Certificate only, there are no pre-requisites.  Members and non-members are encouraged to sit this module
  • For candidates sitting one or more module as part of their journey to achieving the Advanced Diploma, they must be:
    • A member of the IRSE with their subscription fully paid and no other outstanding debts to the IRSE
    • Have already passed at least one exam module

How many modules can I sit?

  • In October 2022, you can sit between one and three modules, either the Certificate (Module A) or between one or three of the Advanced Diploma modules (Modules B, C and D)

How much is the exam?

  • Prices for the October 2022 exams have been set at £115 per module, with no reductions available

When should I take the exam?

  • It is important to apply to sit any module(s) of the exam only when you are prepared so please take the time to read the information for candidates and other documents on this page
  • Please note that study materials for the Advanced Diploma modules (Modules B, C and D) are only available for members, so do ensure you have sufficient time to prepare once your membership application has been accepted.