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

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.

Exams are held twice a year

Subject to Education & Professional Development Committee agreement,

  • those wishing to sit the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A) can do so in March and October each year - the next date is Saturday 7 October 2023 - this is open to IRSE members and non-members
  • those wishing to sit between one and three of the Advanced Diploma modules (Module B, Module C and Module D) can do so in October each year - the next date is Saturday 7 October 2023 - this is only open to IRSE members who have passed an exam module previously and who are up-to-date with their subscription fees

No dates have yet been announced for 2024.

IRSE Advanced Diploma in Railway Control Engineering

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 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.


IRSE Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals

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, 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.



Exams in 2023 will be held remotely

Candidates will sit their exams remotely, so will need a computer, stable internet and a quiet location

The next exam day is Saturday 7 October

Candidates will be able to sit either the Certificate (module A) or between one and three of modules B, C and D.

Candidates wishing to sit modules B, C and/or D must be IRSE members

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.

All exams are closed book

Exams are closed book and will be monitored by remote invigilation and anti-plagiarism software to detect any infringement to these rules

When should you take the exam?

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

The costs for October 2023 exam modules have not been announced

We will announce costs for exam modules for October 2023 and March 2024 as soon as they have been agreed