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.
CIfA's official language is English.

Please see below for how to apply online, and below this are details about re-joining and NVQ Fasttrack.

To apply from Germany please see the Deutschland Group webpage for details

There are two types of individual membership: professionally accredited member and non-accredited member (student/affiliate). Students and Affiliates can apply using the online application.

There are three Professionally accredited member grades - Practitioner (PCIfA), Associate (ACIfA) and Member (MCIfA).
If you are applying for Practitioner (PCIfA) and need some extra guidance please have a look at our Pathways documents, which have hints and tips for applying and other resources.

Common questions and answers

Professional accreditation benefits and the Code of Conduct

There are many benefits of membership and professional accreditation.

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.

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

How to apply - new applicants only

Please use the online form or attach the relevant documents. Please ensure you have read the Application guide for professional accreditation before you apply.

How to apply - Upgrading applicants only

Our Application guide for professional accreditation gives detailed advice on completing the application, the documents you need to supply and fees. 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 and is not the annual subscription fee.

Application documents to include - Upgrading

If you are applying to upgrade your current accreditation grade you must submit the following:

  1. An Application form for professional accreditation with two referees, one must be from your current employer.
    Referees - 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) and provide them with the link to the specialist matrices if you have referred to one .

  2. A completed statement of competence template relating to the competence matrix (see below). CVs and job descriptions are accepted as additional supporting evidence but you must include a Statement of competence using the template.

  3. At least three examples of your work at ACIfA and five at MCIfA, 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 from PCIfA or ACIfA - a PDP and CPD record from the last two years. Professionally Accredited members of CIfA (Practitioners, Associates and Members) have to undertake at least 50 hours of CPD over a two year period. For more information about CPD click here. If you are a Student or Affiliate member please provide what you can.

Please note the Validation committee would prefer digital copies of your work sent via a CD or a file sharing service like Google Docs, Dropbox or We Transfer.

Competence matrices

Click here to view the pdf versions of the competence matrix and specialist matrices for some areas developed by our Special Interest Groups.
Please note All applications will be assessed against the main competence matrix in the guide with the specialist matrix as an advisory document only.


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 be reinstated at the grade you left at.

Please note if 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 us with your certificate for this specific qualification acts as a ‘fast-track’ to our Practitioner (PCIfA) professionally accredited grade.
You must submit the application form, application fee and a copy of your certificate to membership [at]
For information on how to enrol for the Qualification, click here

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.
Once we have received two references your application will be reviewed at the next committee meeting.
We will email you with the committees decision as soon as possible after the meeting day.

Applications received after the application deadlines will be processed for the subsequent meeting. Please note Meetings are particularly busy so this may mean your application is delayed due to time constraints but we will inform you of this.

Practitioner (PCIfA) ONLY: These will be assessed when both references are received so you can apply at any time.

Application deadlines for Validation committee meetings 2018

14 May for 5 June meeting

2 July for 24 July meeting

13 August for 4 September meeting

1 October for 23 October meeting

12 November for 4 December meeting

Membership regulations

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

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Power Steele Building, Wessex Hall
Whiteknights Road, Earley,
Reading RG6 6DE

0118 966 2841
admin [at]