Member (MCIfA)

Member-level archaeologists examine plans in an office.

Member (MCIfA) accreditation is open to those who:

  • have substantial knowledge within an area of historic environment practice or specialism
  • have substantial responsibility for own work in a variety of situations
  • have significant accountability for others and/or allocate resources, where applicable
  • have dealt with and/or carried out complex work and decision-making in a broad range of complex, technical or professional activities or in highly skilled, specialist work
  • perceive the importance of their role and the work they undertake within the team and within the historic environment sector as a whole
  • demonstrate professional judgement and ethical behaviour across a wide variety of complex situations, supporting and encouraging others to do the same
  • promote the values of the Institute to work in the public interest with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders
  • agree to be bound by CIfA's ethical Code of conduct
  • wish to reflect their knowledge and skills through professional accreditation

How to apply

To apply at MCIfA, you will need to provide two appropriate references, prepare a statement of competence about your employed or voluntary work and how your current role demonstrates the criteria in the competence matrix for technical and ethical competence (see below), and provide examples of work to support your statement. You can also include qualifications and a list of projects/publications/grey literature, but these are not required if you do not have any.

You will also need to use your statement to prepare for and undertake a professional review interview (see below). Please note if applications are incomplete or haven't been completed in accordance with the guidance they are likely to be rolled over to the next deadline date and interview window.

Please read the information in the sections below carefully before applying. If you are unsure if you are ready to apply for MCIfA, please see Professional pathways to sign up to our useful bulletins or refer to the FAQ page.

Please membership [at] (get in touch) if you have any questions. 

All applications are treated as confidential in line with CIfA’s Data Protection Policy.


To prepare for your application, please refer to the useful links below and information in the other sections to ensure you are familiar with the application process. You might need to familiarise yourself with the work of CIfA, our Standards and Code of conduct  to show that you understand and work in accordance with them.

Your statement will form the basis of the professional review interview so please include specific examples you can talk about, this assists the panel members in formulating their questions. If you are a new applicant, we recommend using the statement template, which is a Word document you can come back to, as you cannot save the online form.

Please use the links below to help you with your application and understanding ethical competence.

Application useful links

  • Recorded guidance (YouTube) taking you through the application process (10.08 mins)
  • Performance criteria (MCIfA) - detailed guidance and examples you should include can be found here
  • Professional pathways -  unsure if you are ready to apply for MCIfA? Please sign up to our bulletins with hints and tips to apply (members only) or membership [at] (get in touch)

Ethics useful links

Deadlines to submit applications​

Please note if applications are incomplete or haven't been completed in accordance with the guidance they are likely to be rolled over to the next deadline date and interview window. 

  • Apply anytime from 5 May 2024 to 5 August 2024 for professional review interviews two-week window from 9 September to 20 September 2024 for 29 October committee meeting - please note this is on a first come basis due to capacity of the volunteers who undertake the interviews.
  • Apply anytime from 27 November to 27 January 2025 for professional review interviews two-week window from 10 March to 21 March 2025 for 6 May committee meeting - please note this is on a first come basis due to capacity of the volunteers who undertake the interviews.

Applicants need to demonstrate that they understand and work in accordance with the Standards and Code of conduct. For MCIfA you will need to include this in your statement and this will form the basis of your professional review interview, giving more detailed information here will assist you and the panel members. 

This means you may need to undertake some training in ethical competence before you apply to be able to demonstrate the perception of professional context part of the competence matrix (see preparing for your application above). If you are unsure if you are ready to apply for MCIfA, please membership [at] (get in touch).

The professional review will involve a discussion of up to 45 minutes with a panel of two accredited professionals, we will inform you who they are in case of any conflict of interest. Please ensure you are available in the interview window as panel membes are voluntary and we can only change these in exceptional circumstances, please let us know in advance if possible. 

The panel will assess ethical competence against the competence matrix using specific open- and scenario-based questions to draw out the information required with your statement as the basis for discussion. Please note they are not assessing right or wrong but the ethical approach to your work. You will be able to have your statement, the CIfA Code of conduct and any other reference documents you need to hand. 

CIfA will be providing training sessions in how to prepare for a professional review, these will be advertised to applicants directly.

Reasonable Adjustments - CIfA has implemented an access and fair assessment policy and has adopted the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s Reasonable Adjustment Matrix ( Please inform the Membership Manager (lianne.birney [at] as soon as possible if you require reasonable adjustments. Please note there will be a form to complete, and you will need to submit evidence in support.

Interview preparation useful links

What to include

Personal details

Please provide your name, job title, post nominals where relevant, and contact details in the online form.


In order to help the Validation Committee understand more about your professionalism, your understanding of the CIfA Code of conduct and your determination and ability to comply with it, we ask for two references to support your application.

You can provide referees' contact details in the online application form. We will contact referees on receipt of your application or you can upload pre-written references to the online form, which will speed up the process. Referees should complete the CIfA reference template.

MCIfA applicants should

  • use their current or most recent employer. If you are in the senior role, you can choose someone who works alongside you and can comment on your work. If you are self-employed this can be a senior colleague from another company you have worked with, but should not be a client.
  • provide a second referee who is able to comment on your work from a quality assurance perspective. They should be external to your employer (and previous employers) working in an independent capacity - e.g. a specialist, a curator, local authority/planning archaeologist, a funding body such as HLF or a large body such as Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland or Cadw. They should not be related to you or a client as this is considered a conflict of interest.


  • do not have to be CIfA accredited. However, individual members and those working for Registered Organisations are preferable since it helps if they understand our work and accreditations.
  • must be familiar with your role and the work you are using as evidence in your statement. They should be able to comment on the quality of your current work and your professionalism. 
  • are given two weeks to return their reference. Missing or late references are the most common reason for delays to application - please contact your referees in advance to ensure that they can provide you with a reference within two weeks of submitting your application.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the references are returned in time, although CIfA will contact referees for missing references and inform you as soon as possible if your application is awaiting responses from referees.

The Validation committee reserves the right to request additional references, if required, to reach a decision about your application. This is usually in cases where a reference is not current or does not include enough information to assist the committee in reaching a decision.

MCIfA applicants must provide a statement outlining their employed or voluntary roles and say how their current role demonstrates the four areas of the competence matrix, see below. It is the most important part of your application as it informs the Validation committee about how your skills and experience demonstrate the criteria and helps them reach a decision.

You can use the Statement of competence template to upload or write directly into the boxes in the online form. Please note that draft new applications online cannot be saved and returned to.

Please note if applications are incomplete or haven't been completed in accordance with the guidance they are likely to be rolled over to the next deadline date and interview window. 

For further information on how the competence categories apply in different areas of practice, please see our supporting specialist competence matrices. These can be used alongside the main competence matrix to see how your work fits into the criteria and help write your statement of competence.

Employed or voluntary roles

Please give detailed information about your role and responsibilities for your current and most recent roles over the last two years. Use each heading of the competence matrix (below) as a guide. You should cover how you demonstrate the four areas - knowledge, autonomy, coping with complexity and perception of professional context - giving specific examples. You may find it easier to give an example of a few projects you have done from beginning to end.

Detailed guidance and examples of what you should include can be found in the performance criteria (MCIfA) (weblink)

For any roles you’ve undertaken longer than two years ago, please give a brief description of the responsibilities held, including any career breaks where relevant.

We also suggest you highlight within the statement the examples of work (see section below) you are providing to support your application.

If you have taken a career break, work part-time or have a portfolio career and can meet the evidence requirements to demonstrate competence in the four areas of the matrix, you are eligble to apply.

You can approach your statement of competence in different ways

  1. use the four areas of the competence matrix as headings, write something for each and describe a specific example of where you did this
  2. write it like a job application, describing your main responsibilities and how these fit into the four areas of the competence matrix using specific examples
  3. write about a few specific pieces of work or projects in detail

Competence matrix for Member (MCIfA)



Coping with complexity

Perception of professional context

Substantial working and background knowledge relevant to area(s) of historic environment practice. Demonstrates a depth of understanding of sector and competence within a broad range of historic environment practices. Understands, contextualises and applies professional standards to own work and, where appropriate, that of others

Substantial autonomy, takes full responsibility for own work. Where applicable, will also have significant personal accountability for others and/or the allocation of resources, in a wide variety of contexts

Deals with complex situations holistically, demonstrates confident decision-making in a broad range of complex, technical or professional activities

High level of understanding of overall ‘picture’, sees alternative approaches and how they might be tackled

Demonstrates professional judgement and ethical behaviour across a wide variety of complex situations, supporting and encouraging others to do the same. Can anticipate, recognise, and resolve potential conflicts of interest. Promotes the values of the Institute to work in the public interest with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders


Qualifications (where relevant)

Please list any relevant qualifications, including title, University and date of completion and a brief outline of the areas covered. If you work in academia, please provide a more detailed outline. Please upload a copy of your certificates, where relevant.

If you do not hold any qualifications, you are still eligible to apply.

Additional relevant information

Please include any additional information that may be useful for the Validation committee to take into consideration when assessing your application. A job description or CV can be uploaded to the online form but you must include a statement of competence (above).

If your experience has been gained outside the UK please include some background information about how the profession operates in that country and how your role fits within the profession.

List of projects/publications/grey literature

Please list any relevant projects, publications or grey literature from your work in the last 2 years in the statement template or online form. Where work is co-authored or the authors not defined, please indicate which part(s) you were responsible for. You can also highlight those you are including as your examples of work.

If you do not have any publications, you are still eligible to apply.

MCIfA applicants should provide a minimum of five examples of work , ideally the best, most complex examples and those that will support your current role and what you say in your statement to help demonstrate the criteria. Where you have mentioned specific examples in your statement, please include those.

These should be recent examples preferably from within the last two years and be authored by you. This is not limited to reports or finalised/published work, but can be many different types (see list below). 

You can upload up to five examples to the online application form (less than 6MB in size). For larger files, please use a file sharing service such as WeTransfer and share this with membership [at] All material will be treated as confidential under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), only shared with the Validation committee and deleted after the application process is complete.

If you do not produce examples of work in your current role, please explain why you have not been able to provide any in your Statement.

Suggestions for suitable examples of work include, but are not limited to:

  • grey literature
  • project briefs and specifications
  • draft and pre-publication documents
  • HER audits
  • environmental assessments
  • condition surveys, management plans
  • portfolios of graphics-based work
  • survey data
  • finds/environmental strategies or reports
  • post-excavation assessments
  • project designs or funding applications
  • outlines of archaeological or other relevant courses which you have taught
  • fieldwork reports (geophysics, landscape survey, building/survey recording, excavation, evaluation, characterisation)
  • examples of edited work
  • published works or journals
  • presentations you have compiled and delivered, videos of toolbox talks and site meetings that you lead on, where appropriate
  • Forensic reports or statements; please ensure that you redact any identifying information even if permission has been given
  • displays created and the research behind it
  • emails giving advice to clients or members of the public
  • emails liaising with colleagues or specialists about a project

If you are unsure what to provide, please get in touch at membership [at]

For all upgrade applications we require a Professional Deveopment Plan (PDP) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) log from the last two years that can either be uploaded to the form or tick the box to say you have an online log with us through the CIfA website.

You can provide your companies' templates or you can use the CIfA templates found here.

If you are currently a Student or Affiliate member, or have had a recent career break, please provide what you can.

New MCIfA application fee is £60. Upgrade to MCIfA application fee is £30 (from 1 April 2024).

Application fees are payable via ClearAccept (we cannot take American Express) or by invoice and can be paid by the applicant or their employer (please check before applying).

Please note this is a non-refundable payment for the administration and assessment of your application and not the annual subscription fees.

Before submitting your application you will be asked to declare that the information you have provided is correct at the time of applying and if you have been subject to a professional conduct investigation.

If you pay through ClearAccept (replaced PayPal) you will not receive confirmation of your submission, we will contact you within a week to confirm.

If you have any problems when paying please select invoice in order to submit your application and email membership [at]

Applicants are encouraged to use the Statement of competence template (Word) template to apply.

Referees will be sent a CIfA reference template (Word) to complete.

Statement examples

These are statements from MCIfA applicants who have sucessfully applied.

MCIfA statement example_Project Manager

Further guidance

Specialist competence matrices  - to assist seeing how your role might fit into the main matrix above if you work in a specialist area, you do not need to demonstrate all of these.

Application process timeline - what to expect after you have submitted your application

Apply now

Please make sure you have read the guidance above before you apply. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to membership [at] (get in touch). 

Member (MCIfA) - apply now