Withdrawal of professional examinations

The Royal Statistical Society has decided to withdraw from offering its own professional examinations after the May 2017 session. This decision has been made to allow the Society to focus its resources on setting and maintaining professional standards in statistics and allied disciplines, in the UK and Internationally.

Frequently asked questions

Why has the RSS decided to stop offering examinations after 2017?

As part of a strategic review of our professional affairs work, we conducted a review of our examination operations. After an in-depth benchmarking study of how the RSS compares to other providers of statistical qualifications, it was found that although our qualifications are appreciated by a number of candidates as a way to further their professional development, their uptake has been relatively low, and the paper-based assessment method is out of step with current best practice. Informed by a survey of examination candidates, the review also found there is serious demand for structured learning support for our examinations, which we currently do not provide.

The Society’s Council considered the benefits of having our own qualifications in place against the investment needed to be able to continue with the current system (including the provision of learning support). After a careful discussion, it decided that on balance it would be preferable to move to a different model to implement our educational standards and benchmarks. It therefore decided to withdraw from offering our professional examinations after the May 2017 session, ensuring solid transition arrangements are in place for existing candidates, and for our existing partners who work with us in the current system.

Will I still be able to sit examinations in 2016 and 2017?

Yes. Candidates will be able to register for and sit our examinations as normal, up to and including to the May 2017 session and to complete an RSS qualification. We would urge candidates to plan to complete their studies towards a qualification by May 2017.

What happens if I don’t fully complete my qualification by May 2017?

For those candidates who are part-way through a qualification after the May 2017 examinations, we will undertake to provide individual guidance on transitional routes to a qualification via one of our accredited partner institutions.

Will the qualifications I already hold still be recognised?

Although the RSS will no longer offer examinations after 2017, we will focus our resources on setting and maintaining professional standards in Statistics and allied disciplines, in the UK and Internationally. The professional examinations will still be recognised against any new standards that are introduced. The Society will begin developing extended accreditation mechanisms to build partnerships with existing providers of statistical qualifications, both in the UK and internationally. This will give us the opportunity to reach a much wider field of future students who will be able to be confident their statistical qualification is fit for purpose, and recognised by an eminent and trusted professional body.

Those who successfully complete the Graduate Diploma will continue to be automatically eligible for Graduate Statistician status (and fulfil the qualification requirements for CStat status) after May 2017.