Individual Membership

We welcome applications from people who are involved in the study and care of the historic environment, including those in employment and the voluntary sector, regardless of academic background. Please see below for how to apply.

There are two types of individual membership: professionally accredited member and non-accredited member (student/affiliate). Students and those who do not yet meet the criteria may join as non-accredited members using the online application.

There are three Professionally accredited member grades - Practitioner (PCIfA), Associate (ACIfA) and Member (MCIfA).
Click here for more details

Common questions and answers

Professional accreditation, membership benefits and the Code of Conduct

There are many benefits of membership and professional accreditation and these can be found on the Member services webpage

Professionally accredited members sign up to our Code of conduct and standards and guidance that emphasise the duty to adhere to the professional and ethical standards.

Professionally Accredited members of CIfA (Practitioners, Associates and Members) have to undertake at least 50 hours of CPD over a two year period. Your CPD is based on a Personal Development Plan (PDP) (Word doc file) and a CPD log (Word doc file). For more information about CPD click here.

For a showcase of some of our members and the roles they have, please see past issues of The Archaeologist

How to apply

Our Application guide for professional accreditation gives detailed advice on completing the application, the documents you need to supply and fees. We strongly recommend you read the guide before applying. If you have any further queries please email membership [at]

You can find all subscription and application fee information here: The application fee applies to new applicants, upgrading members and NVQ fast track, but not those re-joining.

Application documents to include

If you are applying to become a professionally accredited member you must submit the following:

  1. An Application form for professional accreditation with two referees, one must be from your current employer.
    Please contact referees before you apply to make sure they are suitable and willing. If you wish to provide references with your application please ask them to complete the Reference Template (for accredited grade applicant referees)

  2. A completed statement of competence relating to the competence matrix, using the template

  3. At least three examples of your work, please see the Application guide for professional accreditation. Although evidence is not required at PCIfA grade we encourage applicants to submit any work they may have done.

  4. For upgrading members a PDP and CPD record from the last two years.

Please note the Validation committee will accept hard copies or digital copies of your work emailed to membership [at] We are happy to receive larger documents digitally on CD or via a file sharing service.

Competence matrices

Click here to view the pdf versions of the competence matrix and specialist matrices.

We have recently introduced specialist competence matrices, which have been compiled by our special interest groups and are tailored to specific areas. These are to assist applicants and the Validation committee to see where you demonstrate the grade. Please note All applications will be assessed against the main competence matrix (P6 Applicant’s Guide) with the specialist matrix as an advisory document only.

When will I hear?

We will email you to confirm that we have received your application and ask you for any additional information we think you need to supply at that point, on the committee's behalf.

Applications received less than three weeks before a Validation committee meeting will be processed for the subsequent meeting. Please note Summer meetings are particularly busy so this may mean your application is delayed due to time constraints.

Application deadlines for Validation committee meetings 2017

15 May for 6 June meeting

3 July for 25 July meeting

21 August for 12 September meeting

9 October for 31 October meeting

20 November for 12 December meeting

We will email you with the committees decision as soon as possible after the meeting day.


If you are already a member of CIfA you can apply to upgrade to a higher level. The process is very similar to an accredited application, please refer to the Application Guide and follow the guidelines as for new members. Please note there is now a £10 fee to upgrade. Please remember if you are already an accredited member you must also include an up to date Continuing Professional Development (CPD) log and Professional Development Plan (PDP) from at least the last two years. (It is a requirement of accredited membership to undertake at least 50 hours of CPD over two years). If you are a Student or Affiliate member please provide what you can.


If you have previously been an accredited member but your membership lapsed you can re-apply to this grade by completing a CIfA Rejoiners Application Form (doc). You will need to supply an up to date CV, CPD log and PDP, along with any new qualification certificates and a list of publications or other work (for ACIfA and MCIfA). There is no application fee to rejoin, but once your application has been accepted, you will be asked to pay the subscription fee.
Provided that you were previously validated by the Institute after 1986 and that the length of time since your membership lapsed does not require more detailed scrutiny, you can automatically be reinstated at the grade you left at.

Please note you would like to reapply at a higher grade you can re-join first and then upgrade or you can apply as a new member as per the application process above. The only difference is the application fee is less to upgrade and there is no fee to rejoin.

NVQ qualification

The NVQ in Archaeological Practice is a level three qualification that demonstrates on-the-job learning and competence following the National Occupational Standards (NOS). Providing your certificate for this specific qualification acts as a ‘fast-track’ to our Practitioner (PCIfA) professionally accredited grade.
You must submit the application form, including two referees and a copy of your certificate.
For information on how to enrol for the Qualification, please see

Membership regulations(PDF)

The Membership regulation provide guidance on the procedures of the Validation committee and membership appeals process (section 12)

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Miller Building, University of Reading
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AB

0118 378 6446
admin [at]