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. If you have special requirements for sitting exams, please contact the team at email@example.com to discuss these - you will need to supply a medical certificate before any requirements can be put in place.
Awards are available to candidates who achieve outstanding marks in the exam. The Thorrowgood Scholarship is awarded to the person(s) who have achieved excellent results in all their exam modules and funds a professional development activity / industry-based study tour. The IRSE-Signet Award is awarded to the person who has gained the highest marks in one of modules B, C or D and funds the winner to attend an IRSE international convention / conference.
All subject to Education & Professional Development Committee agreement,
The Advanced Diploma is the the new name for the IRSE Professional Examination and 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 being awarded the IRSE Advanced Diploma in Railway Engineering
IRSE Council have agreed that some qualifications have the equivalence of passing the Advanced Diploma - please contact the Exam or Membership team for further details.
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 suitable for a wide group of people working on or around railway control and communications systems. For example junior signalling and telecoms engineers, project managers, project planners, rail operations personnel, software developers and managers of contractors and sub-contractors will benefit from the knowledge gained by studying for, and will be able to demonstrate a broad knowledge of railway control and communications systems engineering by passing this module.
For more details, please see the Certificate exam resources page.
Candidates will sit their exams remotely, so will need a computer, stable internet and a quiet location
Booking has now closed for the October 2023 exam - please see below for the dates in 2024
Candidates are reminded that they must be fully paid-up IRSE members to sit modules B, C and D. They are asked to apply to become a member in sufficient time for them not only to complete the application process but also to use the study material available for IRSE members only.
Exams are closed book and will be monitored by remote invigilation and anti-plagiarism software to detect any infringement to these rules
The syllabus for the Certificate (module A) has been updated for the October 2023 exam and beyond and the essential reading list updated
The Thorrowgood Scholarship is given to the candidate(s) who have excelled in the exams in the year, subject to a satisfactory interview. In some cases the examiners look back at modules taken in previous year(s) if the candidate has not sat modules B, C and D in that year. The scholarship winner receives funding of approximately £1,500 to undertake a professional development activity and/or an industry-based study tour.
The IRSE-Signet Award is given to the candidate who has achieved the highest mark in either module B, module C or module D in the year. The award winner receives funding to attend the IRSE International Convention or ASPECT conference.
Look at the IRSE Prizes and Awards page to read about the latest winners of these prestigious awards.
Candidates wishing to sit the Certificate (module A) have the choice of two dates in 2024 - Saturday 23 March 2024 (booking will open in January 2024) and Saturday 5 October 2024 (booking will open in May/June 2024). This will be open for IRSE members and non-members.
Candidates wishing to sit module(s) B, C and/or D will be able to do so on Saturday 5 October 2024 (booking will open in May/June 2024). These modules are available for IRSE members who have already passed one exam module.
Education & Professional Development Committee have confirmed that all exams in 2024 will be held remotely and will be closed book (no study materials available - monitored through remote invigilation and anti-plagiarism software)
Candidates who are not already IRSE members but are intending to sit module(s) B, C and/or D in October 2024 are encouraged to apply for IRSE membership as soon as possible so that they can make use of all the IRSE membership benefits, including access to all study materials for these modules.
It is important to apply to sit any of the modules of the exam only when you are fully prepared, so please take the time to read the syllabus and past / sample paper(s) of the module(s) you plan to sit to ensure your understanding of the requirements and depth of questions
Whilst the Certificate (module A) is at a fundamentals level, it does cover a wide syllabus and questions are set across all learning objectives
Note that study materials for modules B, C and D are only available for IRSE members, so please ensure that you have sufficient time to prepare once your membership application has been accepted
If you have more questions about the exam, please look at our frequently asked questions, which are updated regularly. If you have any additional questions, please contact the exam team at firstname.lastname@example.org