Chartered status is the benchmark for company secretaries and governance professionals. It shows that you have the knowledge, skills and experience to take on a job with significant and wide-ranging responsibilities. In larger organisations, this may be within the secretariat or governance team or as part of a professional services team. In medium and smaller organisations, this may be in the sole governance or company secretarial role.
Anyone is eligible to apply, but the programme rises to Level 7 (equivalent to postgraduate degree level) in the final stages. Our students include experienced professionals on the fast track, company secretaries using their experience, and individuals from law or finance transferring to governance roles.
The full programme can take up to five years to complete, although we offer alternative routes of entry for those with relevant education or professional experience. For example, a professional with 5+ years of relevant experience may achieve accreditation within one year via the Fast Track Professional entry.
On successful completion of the programme you will receive Grad status which is your first step on the road to achieving Chartered Status.
The programme is divided into two levels, Part One and Part Two.
Students with a law, finance or governance background may be able to start at Part One at
Level 6 (equivalent to final year undergraduate level). You complete your learning at Part Two at Level 7 (equivalent to postgraduate degree level), developing commercial understanding through the study of risk, strategy and board dynamics.
You can view the full syllabus here.
We offer alternative routes of entry for students based on their relevant qualifications or experience.
There are six main routes into the qualifying programme:
We carefully assess applications for all exemptions and successful applicants can significantly streamline their studies. Find your best route and full exemption details on our Entry Routes page.
Once you know your route through the qualifying programme, you can register for the course, pay your initial fees and begin your studies. We recommend the use of a registered tuition partner, though some students choose to self-study.
We work with a variety of tuition partners and we strongly recommend our students take tuition. They can be used on a module by module basis and offer options that include distance learning and face-to-face classes. In addition to higher student pass rates, the benefits include:
The cost of tuition is typically £350 – £600 per module depending on the tuition provider you choose and the services they offer.
You prepare for each exam yourself, using the facilities provided as part of your student membership of the Institute. These include:
Costs can vary significantly from student to student. While everyone pays for registration, exam fees and membership of the Institute, a student’s route and tuition choice can make a big difference to the investment required.
The following table provides a summary of typical costs, but while the full fees apply for students in the UK, EU and Crown Dependencies, those in many other countries pay reduced rates.
|Student membership||Annual fee – full year (1 Aug – 31 July)||£198||£140|
|Annual fee – half year (1 Feb – 31 July)||£99||£70|
|Module fees||Exam entry||£240||£163|
|Exemption or re-sit||£240||£163|
|Study texts||Per exam module||£45|
|Optional tuition||Per exam module, depending on provider||£350 – £600|
Find out more about our fees on our FAQ's page.
These are not small considerations, but you are not alone. Becoming a student member with the Institute gives you access to expert support and guidance along with a range of other benefits.
*Health Service Governance exam in June only.
Achieving Chartered status requires both knowledge and experience. By passing the qualifying programme, you will become a Graduate member of the Institute, allowing the use of the post-nominal GradCG to signify your expertise.
The full qualifying programme is divided into two sections, Part One and Part Two. You may be exempt from certain modules through our alternative routes of entry.
You can also purchase the recommended study texts in our book shop.
Part One is a Level 6 course (final year undergraduate level). Each module requires around 200 hours of study, and is assessed by a three-hour exam. The modules are:
The aim of this module is to provide advanced knowledge and key skills necessary for the company secretary or governance professional to act as chief adviser to the board and other stakeholders on best practice in corporate governance, and as the facilitator for systematic application across a wide range of organisations.
Health Service Governance (alternative option)
The aim of this module is to provide the knowledge and key skills necessary to act as
adviser to governing bodies across the NHS in England. The advice of the company
secretary/governance professional will include all aspects of the governance obligations of
NHS organisations in England, covering not only legal duties, but also management of
potential risks and applicable and recommended standards of best practice.
Company Compliance and Administration
The aim of this module is for students to develop their knowledge and skills to prepare for practice as a company secretary, ensuring that the company operates in accordance with good governance principles and the regulations of the jurisdiction in which it operates.
Interpreting Financial and Accounting Information
The aim of this module is to develop your knowledge of finance and accounting and the ability to use that knowledge to interpret financial and accounting information when providing advice to the board, or a similar decision-making body, in strategy development and/or decision-making.
The aim of this module is to provide a thorough grounding in, and knowledge and understanding of, the legal framework governing certain business organisations, with particular focus on the registered company. Where appropriate, the module will also cover relevant corporate governance topics, and the relationship between company law and corporate governance.
Part Two is a Level 7 course (postgraduate degree level). Each module requires around 200 hours of study, and is assessed by a three-hour exam. The modules are:
Development of Strategy
As the pace and volume of change in the environment affecting organisations in all sectors increases, company secretaries/governance professionals must seek to understand what is happening and play their part in determining the organisation’s response. All organisations are faced with the challenge of strategic direction either to grasp new opportunities or to overcome significant problems.
The aim of this module is to provide the elements, processes and techniques involved in the
development and implementation of organisational strategy.
The aim of this module is for students to develop and extend their understanding of the discipline of risk management, including how risk management links to compliance management and complements effective corporate governance in organisations.
The aim of this module is to provide the advanced knowledge, understanding and skills needed for the company secretary/governance professional to support boardroom performance by enabling both effective individual behaviours and group processes.
There are six main routes into the qualifying programme:
Students who are not eligible to start the programme at Part One will need to take the Foundation Programme to start their journey to GradCG. This is set at Level 4 (equivalent to first year undergraduate level). This route is open entry, meaning you don't need any prerequisites to begin the programme.
Students who have one or more of the following qualifications may be eligible to start directly on Part One of the qualifying programme:
Students with a law or finance degree may be eligible for Part One entry and a module exemption.
If you have a degree in law, you may be exempt from the Company Law module.
If you have a degree in finance, you may be exempt from the Finance module.
If you hold an MBA, you can start at Part One and can supply your transcript so we can assess you for any further exemptions.
Professionals working in law or finance (for less than five years) may be eligible for exemption from two qualifying programme modules.
If you are a lawyer working in a relevant role and a current member of one of the following professional bodies relevant to your jurisdiction, you may be exempt from the Company Law and Strategy modules:
If you are a qualified accountant working in a relevant role and a current member of one of the following professional bodies relevant to your jurisdiction, you may be exempt from the Finance and Strategy modules:
As a qualified lawyer or accountants with more than five years’ post-qualifying experience, you can become qualified in a year or less. Our Fast Track Professional route recognises your knowledge and experience and requires the completion of just two modules, Corporate Governance and Risk Management.
In order to be eligible for the Fast Track Professional Route you must have experience in the following areas:
For further information please review the Fast Track Guidelines.
You must be a current member of the following professional bodies relevant to your jurisdiction:
You must also be a current member of one of the following major accountancy bodies relevant to your jurisdiction:
The Chartered Governance Institute has a special arrangement with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries India (ICSI) and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Nigeria (ICSAN), where members of these Institutes can study the qualifying programme and be exempt from certain modules.
If you are a current Associate or Fellow of ICSI with a minimum of two years’ relevant experience/training, you may be exempt from up to four modules from the full qualifying programme. You would only be required to complete: Company Law, Corporate Governance and Risk Management.
For further information on the route, please visit our FAQ’s
If you are a current member of ICSAN and completed your final exam after November 2011, you may be exempt from five modules and would be required to complete: Corporate Governance and Risk Management.
You can apply online at any time. Click Register then work through the questions to determine what your entry route is likely to be.
As part of the registration process, you will be asked to read and accept the student rules and regulations and abide by the Institute's Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct.
The entry route is the point at which you enter the Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme, including any exemptions we are able to grant you. Your entry route is determined by the qualifications you hold and your work experience.
The six standard entry routes are:
Please refer to the full programme overview or use our virtual assistant to determine your entry route and the exemptions you may be eligible for.
Yes, depending on your entry route, if exemptions are awarded you will be required to pay the exemption fees.
It is Institute policy to charge for exemptions to cover related administration costs. Your exemptions will not be recorded until the required fees have been paid in full.
You must submit certified copies of any relevant degree certificates or certificates for other academic qualifications relevant to your application. For example, if you have told us you hold a law degree, we need you to upload a certified copy of your degree certificate.
If you upload any degree certificates that are not for finance or law – for example you might check if we are prepared to offer exemptions for a Business Studies degree or an MBA – you must also submit a transcript of results.
If you apply as a qualified lawyer or accountant with less than 5 years’ relevant experience, you must submit confirmation of your current membership with the relevant professional body or Bar Council or the equivalent in your jurisdiction.
If you are a qualified lawyer or accountant with more than 5 years’ relevant experience, you can apply for the Fast Track Professional entry route. You must submit confirmation of your current membership with the relevant professional body or Bar Council or equivalent in your jurisdiction. Also, we will need a copy of your current CV which should provide us with sufficient information of your knowledge and experience in the areas of: governance, risk management, company secretarial duties, financial management and law.
A notary public, your HR manager or a person with professional status (e.g. doctor, lawyer, accountant, teacher etc.).
Yes, if they are not in English they should be:
Certified copies of both the original document and the translated document should be submitted to us.
This will depend on a number of factors, including your entry route, whether you pay full or reduced rate fees, the number of times you need to attempt the exams and whether you take tuition for every module.
Students in the UK, Republic of Ireland and the Crown Dependencies pay the full rate fees. There are reduced rate fees for qualifying programme students who are living, registered with the Institute, and sitting their exams in a number of countries. See the countries for which reduced rate applies.
Fast Track Professional students pay a one-off fee on confirmation of their entry route, which covers the initial registration fee, one year’s student membership, all exemption fees and an exam entry for each of the two modules.
Fast Track Professional students will still need to consider the additional costs of study texts and tuition.
We suggest that you start by choosing one module to study, so that you only take one exam at the first session. You will need to buy the accompanying study text book for the module you choose. The study texts are available either in hard copy or e-copy from our book shop.
If you reside outside the UK, you should consider purchasing an e-copy of the study text as the hard copy could take time to be delivered if you opt for standard delivery.
Yes, we strongly recommend you take tuition with one of our tuition partners. Following a course will provide structure and framework to your study, plus you will have access to a tutor who will be able to help with questions and problems. You will also be able to get practice work marked and receive feedback.
Tuition fees start from around £300 and go up to £600. You should contact the tuition providers directly to confirm the costs.
Some of our tuition providers offer distance learning. These are listed under global distance learning providers on our website and they appear at the top of the list.
We recommend around 200 study hours per module, which includes working with a tuition provider, working through the study material on your own, undertaking wider reading plus revising and preparing for the exam.
Yes, you can be questioned on any aspect of the syllabus, so you do have to cover the whole text. However, you are not expected to have word-for-word recall of text pages. In the exams, the questions will ask you to relate what you know to realistic scenarios or to analyse and discuss issues. It is important that you learn in a way which relates knowledge to professional practice.
No, you don’t. It’s more important that you can demonstrate understanding of the principles involved in a case or a code reference. That said, there are some very common references for those working in governance / secretarial e.g. sections of the Companies Act referring to duties of directors, for which it can be good to show that you know the exact references.
No, these are closed book exams. To reflect this, we do not expect you to show perfect recall of the names of legal cases or sections of law or code.
In the 'My Learning' dashboard of MyCG you can access resources such as past examination papers and answers, and a free e-book on how to study.
The Institute also provides study support webinars and module-specific webinars for students presented by examiners. You will receive an email with information on the date and time of any upcoming sessions and how you can book to attend.
If you are a registered student on the Chartered Qualifying Programme, you can enter to sit the exams online by logging on to your student portal, MyCG, and clicking on ‘Enter for exams’.
Exam sessions are held in June and November each year.
If you are sitting the Health Service Governance module, this can only be taken at the June session.
The exam entry deadlines are in March and September. We will usually remind you when the dates are coming up.
Our exams are set online and you can sit them at home or in another location where you can be alone and have a good internet connection. Your examination session is invigilated remotely, via an examination portal and webcam.
You will need a computer which you can type on, with internet connection and a webcam. If you have a laptop, then the webcam is probably already built in but if you are using a PC you may need to attach this. You need a stable internet connection with speed of at least 6mbps. The online exam portal we use works with the Chrome browser. You will also need a phone or tablet device to use as another camera.
You can enter to sit a maximum of 2 modules per session as explained in the student rules and regulations.
However, we advise that you read the module syllabus and understand what the module entails before making a decision on the number of exams you take per session.
As a suggestion, you could take one module at the start and see how that goes. If you pass and you feel you can handle the increased load, you can take a maximum of two exams at subsequent sessions.
You should let us know that you are unable to attend the exam and explain the reason why, whether this is before or after the exam. If you do not let us know, you will be marked ‘absent’ and this result will appear on your record.
If you let us know ahead of the exam entry deadline that you are unable to attend, we may be able to change your entry to the next exam session only. There is an administration charge for any such changes.
Once you have entered for an exam, you will receive confirmation of your entry by email. You can also view your current entry in the ‘Exam entries’ section in your student portal MyCG.
If we need to make any specific arrangements with you, we will contact you directly.
The exam results for the June session are normally released in the first week of August and the results for the November session during the first week of February.
Please note the release dates we publish are always ‘estimated’ dates, but we do not normally need to change the dates.
Your exam results will be emailed to you on the result release date and you can also view your results on your student portal, MyCG, under the ‘Manage my exams’ section.
You need to achieve an overall score of 50% to be awarded a pass. This means that you can fail one or more questions and still get a Pass grade if your total score is over 50%.
In the ‘Manage my exams’ section in your student portal, MyCG, you can download the ‘Enquiries about exam results’ guidance, which sets out all your options.
Yes, we will send email reminders for all key dates, such as the exam entry deadline and exam result release date.
We will also let you know when you can register for study support events such as webinars. You should also visit MyCG regularly a important updates are also posted here.
The best way to get in touch is to use the Contact us form, which will direct your question to the right team at the Institute. If you enquiry is urgent, you can call us at +44 (0)20 7580 4741. Our office is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.00pm UK time.
Studying with a tuition partner is one of the best ways to do this, as you can meet other students who are preparing for the same subject as you. You can also join our student group on LinkedIn.
You should also make contact with your local branch as they may be able to put you in touch with other students within the branch network through their Student Champion. They may also run student specific events. Students are welcome to attend all branch events; these are a great way to meet expereinced governance professionals and to grow your own professional network. If you are based in the UK you may also wish to find out more about the UK Student Forum, which is a consultative body representing our UK student community. Details about your local branch events and the UK Student Forum can be found on our website.
Approximately four weeks after your final result is released, we will contact you to confirm your Graduate membership and on payment of the requisite upgrade fee you will be able to use the designation GradCG.
You will also receive a certificate and information on how to progress to Chartered membership.
Yes, we hold this event once a year in the City of London. You will be invited to attend after you attain Graduate membership and when you progress to Associate and Fellow membership.
If you are studying outside the UK you can also check with your local branch of the Institute to find out if there is a Graduation event in your area. Due to the current external climate Graduation ceremonies may be held virtually.
There are two levels of Chartered membership: Associate, denoted by the post-nominals ACG, and Fellow, which uses the post-nominals FCG.
To become an Associate requires six years’ relevant experience, which can be reduced to three years for any Graduate member who holds a recognised UK degree or equivalent. Associate members can use the designation Chartered Secretary and Chartered Governance Professional.
To become a Fellow requires eight years’ work experience at a senior level, this may be reduced to six if you hold a degree. Fellows are eligible to use the designation Chartered Secretary and/or Chartered Governance Professional.
The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland has a special arrangement with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries India (ICSI) where members of the ICSI can study the Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme and be exempt from certain modules. If you are a current Associate or Fellow of ICSI with a minimum of two years’ relevant experience/training, you may be exempt from up to four modules from the full Qualifying Programme. You would only be required to complete: Company Law, Corporate Governance and Risk Management.
To register as a student, with The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland, under the MOU scheme, you are required to complete the online endorsement procedure. Please follow the link for further information. The ICSI will then put forward your registration and on receipt we will contact you for payment and provide further guidance on how you can access your online student portal MyCG and enter for your examinations.
If you meet the criteria, you will be required to complete the following three non-exempted modules under the Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme (CGQP):
The membership year is fixed and runs from 1st August to 31st July. To register with the Institute, you are required to pay the following fees:
One off registration fee
Annual Subscription fee until 31st July (if you join between 1st August – 31st January)
Or half-year subscription fee until 31st July (if you join between 1st February and 1st July)
Exemption fee (4 x modules @£157.00 each)
Exam fees are additional to the above costs:
To complete the registration, the Institute requires an initial payment to be made of £840.00. If you join after 1st February this is reduced to £772.50. These fees cover the initial registration fee, the annual subscription fee (for membership up until the 31st July of the current membership year) and all exemption fees.
Once you are ready to enter for an examination, you will be required to pay the examination entry fees(s).
No, the study texts for each module of the Qualifying Programme can be purchased from our website.
Once you have completed your registration by paying the fees due, you will have access to MyCG which is our online student portal which contains study resources such as past exam papers. You can login here or register.
You can register for tuition with one of our registered tuition providers. There are study and payment options to suit your situation and budget, including distance learning, face-to-face classes and blended learning. These are third party providers which charge their own fees, a list of these providers can be found here.
The Qualifying Programme is up to 200 hours of study per module.
You can sit for a maximum of two exams per examination session, as explained in the Student Rules and Regulations. You must complete your Part one modules first before you are able to proceed to the Part two module. You must therefore complete the Company Law and Corporate Governance exams before you undertake the Risk management examination.
From November 2020 all our examinations will be conducted online. Details will be sent to all registered students and information will be available in your online portal MyCG
Please take a look at our Jobs Board which provides you with information about various job opportunities in the UK governance sector. We are not able to give career advice.
The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland is a qualifying and membership body for governance professionals. We therefore are unable to give advice, deal or support visa applications, including authorizing working visas.
Your student membership will be upgraded to either Associate or Fellow, depending in your grade of membership with ICSI. A member of the team will be in touch with you to progress your upgrade.
If you upgrade to Associate you can use the post nominals ACG; Fellows can use FCG. Both are chartered grades of membership so you will also be entitled to use the designations Chartered Secretary and/or Chartered Governance Professional.
There are many benefits of membership including professional recognition, illustrated through the post nominals and chartered designations. In addition, our members have access to a range of professional development opportunities, technical support and guidance and networking activities to ensure that skills and competencies are maintained to ensure our members stay at the forefront of a dynamic and growing profession.
Is for those who have either achieved all four Part One modules on the Chartered Governance Qualifying Progamme, or have passed one of our Certificate or Diploma qualifications. Affiliated members use the post-nominals CG (Affiliated).
Is for those who have completed the qualifying programme or postgraduate equivalent and are working towards the experience required for Chartered membership. Graduates use the post-nominals GradCG.
Is the first level of Chartered membership, for those who have achieved GradCG status and have six years’ relevant work experience (this can be reduced to three if you hold a degree). Associate members use the post-nominals ACG and the professional designation of Chartered Secretary or Chartered Governance Professional.
Is the highest level of Chartered member for those who have achieved GradCG status and have eight years’ relevant work experience, three of which are in a senior position. Fellows use the post-nominals FCG and the professional designation of Chartered Secretary or Chartered Governance Professional.
As the UK's leading authority on governance and company secretarial practice, we produce research and guidance on today's governance issues.Find more resources
Click through to our helpful tool to find what route is right for you.