Institution of Structural Engineers > Membership > Examinations > Specialist Diploma in Fire Engineering

Specialist Diploma in Fire Engineering

The Specialist Diploma is a technical qualification that recognises your competence in fire engineering to an advanced standard. It demonstrates to employers that your high level of competence has been independently verified.

The diploma carries the authority and credibility of an internationally recognised professional engineering institution with a reputation for high standards and rigorous examinations.

Entry is available to members and non-members with no requirement for prior assessment of qualifications or experience. It is not associated with other routes to Institution membership.


Upcoming Exam

  • Monday 04 July 2019 - 9:30am
  • 3.5 hours long
  • Worldwide
  • £240
Entry for the exam will be opening 29 April 2019 with registration closing 13 June 2019.


A sample question will be made available in the next month.



1. What qualifications do I need to sit the Specialist Diploma?

There is no requirement to have a specific qualification to sit the Specialist Diplomas. They are open to both members and non-members of the Institution. Anyone with several years of experience in either Offshore Engineering or Seismic Design Engineering can sit a Specialist Diploma examination.

2. What is the format of the Specialist Diploma examination?

The examination asks the candidate to provide a design appraisal with appropriate sketches, indicating two distinct and viable solutions for the proposed structure. Candidates will be asked to recommend the best solution and give a reason for their choice. Additionally, in the case of the Offshore Diploma, the candidate will be required to prepare sufficient design calculations to establish the form and size of all the principal structural elements. The Seismic Diploma candidates will be asked to consider the load and to carry out design checks on key members of their proposed scheme.

3. What is the duration of the Specialist Diploma examination?

The Specialist Diploma examination is 3.5 hours long. It starts at 9.30am and finishes at 1pm. 15 minutes of reading time will be allowed from 9.15am.

4. Is the Specialist Diploma examination open book?

Yes, you can take written/printed materials into the exam room with you. You will also be allowed to take a calculator into the exam room, but you will not be permitted to take any other electronic devices with you. This includes any device capable of sending or receiving messages, such as a smart watch.

5. When will I receive the result of my Specialist Diploma examination?

Examination results will be released in the third week of April. Candidates will be contacted nearer the time to advise them of the results release date. The results will be released online via My Account, and formal notification will then be posted to you.

6. What qualification will I have if I achieve a pass in the Diploma?

A certificate with the Institution’s seal will be provided to those who pass either Diploma. The Diploma will carry the authority and credibility of an internationally recognised professional engineering institution with a reputation for high standards and rigorous examinations.

7. Does passing the Specialist Diploma replace any part of the Chartered Membership application process?

There is no connection with the Specialist Diploma and any part of the Chartered Membership process. Anyone who successfully completes a Specialist Diploma will need to follow the full interview and exam process to become either an Associate-Member or a Chartered Member.

8. Will I receive feedback if I fail the examination?

Examiner feedback can be provided on request once the results have been published.

9. Can I re-take the diploma if I fail this time?

Candidates are welcome to make another attempt at the Diploma if they are unsuccessful. The Diploma examinations are held once a year on the same date as the Institution’s Chartered Membership examination.

10. Why is the Institution doing this?

These are areas of structural engineering where there is often a demand for validation of skills, and where the chartered exam does not provide a specialist certification. The exam has been developed to both meet this need and encourage development of skills in these areas.

11. Will the seismic exam help me to achieve licencing recognition in my country/region?

The exam test skills in conceptual design and competence in designing safe structures. It is not testing knowledge of specific regulations, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Where such knowledge is tested in the jurisdiction, this exam does not replace that. However, passing this exam will signify to employers and others your competence in design.

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