The program covers seven subjects at two levels. Candidates with a law, finance or governance background may be able to start at Level One (equivalent to the final year of an undergraduate university program). You complete your learning at Level Two (equivalent to a post graduate degree). Depending on your academic or professional background you may be eligible for some module exemptions.
Chartered status is the benchmark for excellence amongst corporate 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.
To become a chartered, you must complete a rigorous self-study program that covers the areas of governance, corporate finance, corporate law, corporate secretarial practice and strategy. The International Qualifying Program (IQP) is a broad-based professional qualification that provides you with the skills you need to confidently serve in a variety of leadership roles. Successfully completing the certification process opens the door to versatile and challenging career opportunities.
Achieving the internationally recognized certification enables you to work in leadership positions in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors or establish your own business offering professional services and independent advice.
Anyone with a degree or appropriate governance experience is eligible to apply, but the program rises to the equivalency of a postgraduate degree level in the final stages. Our candidates 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.
The program is divided into two levels.
Candidates with a law, finance or governance background may be able to start the program at level one which is equivalent to final year undergraduate level. You complete your learning at level 2, 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 candidates based on their relevant qualifications or experience.
There are five main routes into the qualifying program:
CGI of Canada carefully assesses 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.
The program is offered through self-study. You prepare for each exam yourself, using the facilities provided as part of your CGI of Canada candidate membership. These include:
Once you know your route through the qualifying program, you can register for the course, pay your initial fees and begin your studies.
Undertaking the CGI qualifying program is a big decision. It is important to consider how it will fit into your existing lifestyle and career.
The cost of qualifying
Costs can vary significantly from candidate to candidate. While everyone pays for the one-time administration fee, exam fees and CGI of Canada membership, a student’s route can make a significant difference to the investment required.
Below is a list of the various costs related to registering and taking the program:
The time investment is significant - Up to 200 hours of study are required per module in Level One and Level Two. The work is challenging, rising to the level of work required to complete a postgraduate degree.Other Considerations
Achieving Chartered status requires both knowledge and experience. By passing the qualifying program, you will become a Graduate member of CGI of Canada, allowing the use of the post-nominal GradICSA to signify your expertise.
The membership journey
Candidate membershipIs for all those studying the international qualifying program.
Affiliated membershipIs for those who have either achieved all four of the Level One modules in the international qualifying program. Affiliated members use the post-nominals CIS (Affiliated).
Graduate membershipIs for those who have completed the qualifying program and are working towards the experience required for Chartered membership. Graduates use the post-nominals GradICSA.
AssociateshipIs the first level of Chartered membership, for those who have achieved GradICSA 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 ACIS and the professional designation of Chartered Secretary.
FellowshipIs the highest level of Chartered member for those who have achieved GradICSA status and have eight years’ relevant work experience, three of which are in a senior position. Fellows use the post-nominals FCIS and the professional designation of Chartered Secretary or Chartered Governance Professional.
If you are ready, find your personal entry route and begin the CGI qualifying program. Register today.
Not sure where to go from here? Find your best entry route to the program click here or learn more about the Director Education program click here.
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