Professional Qualifying Examinations (PQE)
The Professional Qualifying Examinations (PQE) form the pinnacle of the ICS qualification. Completion of these exams is an illustration of one's developed knowledge and understanding of the commercial shipping industry. It comprises 7 exams which you can do over 5 years. Many people however complete in a much shorter time, and are often also eligible for exemptions to some exams based on industry experience and prior qualifications. Exemptions don't apply to the Diplomas, so if you are eligible for a few, it may make sense to start your journey with PQE.
Embarking on PQE will mean you need to sit a minimum of two exams in your first year (one of which must be Shipping Business), and can pick and choose how many to take thereafter from the syllabus. Once you have completed your PQEs you will be eligible to apply for membership with the Institute.
The Foundation Diploma is ideal for people with little industry experience, but who would like to gain practical knowledge and a sound qualification. It involves taking the Introduction to Shipping paper plus one other subject from the list of Optional Papers of the ICS syllabus.
The Foundation Diploma is a standalone qualification in its own right, but because it can count towards your membership examinations it's also a great way to ease into study and gives you an overall view of the business.
The Advanced Diploma has been designed as a stepping stone into full professional qualification and suits those who have some industry knowledge. Like the Foundation Diploma, the Advanced Diploma is a recognised and respected qualification. It involves taking the ICS benchmark paper Shipping Business plus one other subject from the list of Optional Papers of the ICS syllabus.