Individual Membership

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.

There are two types of individual membership:

  • accredited member
  • non-accredited member (student/affiliate)

There are three Accredited member grades:

Practitioner (PCIfA)

Our first level of accredited membership, open to those who have undertaken skilled tasks within the historic environment sector under the guidance of others, and have carried out responsible work under a level of supervision.

Associate (ACIfA)

Our second level of accredited membership, open to those who have carried out, delegated or brought to conclusion pieces of work within the historic environment sector, with some autonomy but without holding ultimate responsibility.

Member (MCIfA)

Our highest level of accredited membership, open to those with the greatest level of responsibility and competence within the historic environment sector with sole responsibility to initiate, negotiate, carry out and/or delegate, and bring to conclusion pieces of work. Members are in charge of organising and running large, complex projects from beginning to end, or in highly skilled, specialist work.

Students and those who do not yet meet the criteria may join as non-accredited members using the online application

Member benefits

Membership of CIfA gives you a competitive advantage by demonstrating that you adhere to the highest professional standards, and by providing opportunities for networking with other professional archaeologists and for developing your career or business.

CIfA influence policy and decision makers as the authoritative and effective voice for archaeologists. This raises the profile of archaeology and drives recognition of your professional status. We support members in their professional development aims through CPD, training and a 30% discount on our annual CIfA conference.

As an accredited member of the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas you can:

  • use post nominal (PCIfA, ACIfA or MCIfA) to demonstrate your level of competence
  • be listed in the CIfA annual Yearbook and Directory
  • vote at general meetings
  • stand for election to the Board of Directors or Advisory Council
  • be involved with our committees
  • receive the weekly Jobs Information Services and Training (JIST) and monthly ebulletin free of charge
  • receive our regular magazine, The Archaeologist

In addition to recognition of your commitment to the profession, CIfA membership comes with a number of extra membership benefits.

What members sign up to - Code of Conduct

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.

Student and Affiliate members are asked to support and work towards adhering to the Code of conduct.

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

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.

How to apply

Our Accredited Applicant's Guide gives detailed advice on completing the application, the documents you need to supply and fees. We strongly recommend you read the guide before applying. Links to the guides, forms and templates are listed at the bottom of this page. If you have any further queries please email membership [at]

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

Supporting information

If you are applying to become an accredited member you must submit a statement of competence using the template below, and relating to the competence matrix. You should include at least three examples of your work, please see the applicants’ guide, below, for details. Although evidence is not required at PCIfA grade we encourage applicants to submit any work they may have done.

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.


Individual applicants for accredited member grades must nominate two referees. Please contact them before you apply to make sure they are suitable and willing. One should be from your current or most recent employer. We strongly recommend applicants read the Accredited Applicant's Guide for selecting references carefully prior to completing their application.

When will I hear?

We will write to 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.

Applications received less than three weeks before a Validation committee meeting will be processed for the subsequent meeting.

Application deadlines for Validation committee meetings 2016

5 September for 4 October meeting

7 November for 6 December meeting

We will write to you with the committees decision as soon as possible after the meeting.

How to upgrade

For information on how to upgrade your level of membership, please see section 2.2 of the Applicants’ Guide and follow the guidelines as for new members. Please note there is now a £10 fee to upgrade. Please remember to submit a PDP and CPD log with your upgrade application.

How to re-join

For information on how to rejoin the Institute, please see section 2.3 of the Applicants’ Guide and fill out a re-joiners’ form (see below). You will need to submit an up to date CV and for ACIfA and MCIfA grades your bibliography/grey literature from the last two years and your up to date CPD/PDP log. There is no fee to rejoin, but once your application has been accepted, you will be asked to pay the subscription fee. The re-joiner process is not open to self-validated members who originally joined before 1986, who will need to reapply as above for new members.

Information for referees

Referees are requested to return references promptly, within three weeks of receiving the request from us, so that applications are not deferred to a later committee meeting. If you are unable to complete your reference within the time frame, please aim to do so before the next committee meeting (please see above for meeting dates). Late references are the most common reasons for applications being delayed or deferred.

The validation committee requests that referees use the template provided (see below). Please inform the applicant and the CIfA office if you do not consider yourself a suitable referee.

You can send in your reference by post to the address on our contact us page or email it to membership [at]

Further information

Please use the table below to download the relevant forms. If you have difficulty opening PDF documents you may need to update your adobe reader

Downloadable Documents

Guides (Pdf files)

Application/Rejoining forms (Word doc files)

Fees and Subscription Rates (Pdf files)

Guidance for Referees (Word doc file)

Membership regulations(Pdf files)

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]