External study centres offer and teach CIPD qualifications. The CIPD approves these qualifications.  

Use our CIPD Centre Finder to find the right study centre for you.

What’s the difference between a study centre and the CIPD?

They're both committed to helping you achieve your qualification. But they have different roles to play in the qualification process. 

What the CIPD does:  What your study centre does: 
The CIPD is the awarding organisation for your qualification. We set the syllabus for each qualification. We decide the number of units and their content. We set the learning outcomes and assessment criteria.  Study centres assess your suitability for the qualification and any prior learning. They manage your course enrolment and set course fees. They also register the qualification you're studying with the CIPD. 
The CIPD sets the assessments for the core units for all qualifications. We also provide study centres with the assessments for the specialist and optional units for the Associate and Advanced Diplomas.   Study centres deliver the teaching, learning content and the unit assessments. They'll help you to prepare for your assessments. 
 The CIPD samples and verifies your study   centre's marking. We make sure it's in line   with our standards - a process called   'moderation'. Once the results are   moderated, we’ll issue your final result for   each unit. And at the end of the course the   CIPD issues your qualification certificate.  The study centre marks your assessments and sends your marks to the CIPD for analysis. Sometimes they'll also send your assessments for further checking. 

They'll offer support and feedback on the content of your assessments.  

We provide CIPD Membership. When studying a CIPD qualification, you’ll also need to become a CIPD Member. We can support you with any membership queries.  

Student membership gives you access to a range of benefits to help your studies and your work. Being a CIPD member also commits you to ongoing CPD and working within the profession’s Code of Conduct. 

Your study centre will explain how CIPD membership fits with your studies. They'll also tell you which member benefits can help during your qualification. 


Your study centre deals with day-to-day course enquiries. They also provide support, information, and guidance. They can help with any issues you may have with your studies. 

What to expect from your study centre 

Your study centre should: 

  • Make reasonably sure that this is the right qualification at the right level for you. 

  • Clearly outline all costs and payments (including the cost of CIPD membership). 

  • Ensure you are aware of the duration of your studies and how to access resources. 

  • Tell you about important deadlines, including those to submit assessments for marking. 

  • Provide constructive and useful feedback on your assessments and answer any queries. 

  • Tell you what their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are for dealing with queries and marking your work and keep to those SLAs. 

How does the moderation process work?

When completing a CIPD qualification, the CIPD will moderate a sample of your study centre’s marking for each unit. We do this to ensure they are fair, valid, and reliable. 

It's important that you're in active CIPD membership for the duration of your studies. This is so your study centre can send your results to us to be considered for moderation. You also need to confirm that your study centre has registered you with the CIPD on the correct qualification on your CIPD account. You’ll receive a confirmation email once your study centre registers you, with instructions to follow.

Study centres initially mark learners’ unit assessments. They then submit the relevant unit result to the CIPD at the start of the moderation window.

Core Unit Assessments 

New assessments for all Core Units are released in June each year. They remain active for 12 months, expiring at the end of June the following year. 

  • Do I have a whole year to submit my Core Unit Assignment? No – your study centre will set the deadline for your Core unit assignment. This will be before the Core Unit Assessment expiry date. The deadline will dictate the timeframe you have to complete the assignment.   

Check with your study centre when your deadline to submit will be. They can also advise when the Core Unit Assessment expiry date is. 

  • What happens if I am unable to submit my assignment by the expiry date? We recommend you plan your studying. This is to ensure you can complete your assignment to meet your study centre’s deadline and the Core Unit Assessment expiry. If you miss the expiry date, you will need to complete the next Core Unit Assessment, released every June.

What happens once all assignments are submitted?  

After your study centre has submitted all your results to us at the end of your course, the CIPD completes the necessary checks and uses the results to confirm successful completion of your course.

Following moderation, we’ll confirm your results with your study centre and within the next four weeks we'll provide you with a PDF copy of your qualification certificate via email and dispatch a hardcopy of your certificate. Please see timeline below for further details.

It's important that you keep your contact details up to date. Check that your name, postal and email addresses are up to date, to ensure prompt receipt of your certificate. You can do this by checking your details held on your profile on the CIPD website.

Click here to view a larger version of the timeline.

This is a detailed textual representation of the timeline and process involved in receiving a CIPD qualification certificate once you submit your final assessment: 1.	Assessment Deadline stage: You initially submit your final assessment to your study centre by the assessment deadline set by them. Your study centre then marks and quality assures your assessment within their marking timelines. 2.	Results Submission Stage: When the moderation window opens, your study centre will submit your results to the CIPD, before the result submission deadline. 3.	Week 1 to 3: During this period, the CIPD will moderate assessments from a sample of learners that the CIPD requests from your study centre. 4.	Week 4 and 5:  In these weeks, the CIPD reviews study centre results. 5.	Week 6: This week the CIPD approves the results. The moderation window then closes. 6.	Week 7: During this week, the CIPD releases the results to your study centre. 7.	Week 8 to 12: Within this timeframe, you will receive a PDF of your CIPD qualification certificate via email. Within 5 days of the email notification, a hard copy will be posted to you directly. If based outside the UK, your certificate will be sent to your study centre to distribute to you. Then, if applicable, the CIPD will upgrade your membership to Foundation or Associate level. Your membership certificate will be posted to you directly, even if you are based outside the UK. Note: Week 1 starts once the CIPD result submission deadline passes, for the moderation window that your results are submitted within. You can check this date with your study centre.

What should you do if you experience issues with your study centre? 

We understand how important your qualification is to you. If you experience any issues with your study centre reach out to them first. Follow their complaints procedure first to try to resolve the issue. 

If you’ve not reached a solution at the end of the complaints procedure, and if you feel you’ve exhausted all options with your study centre, you can escalate your complaint to the CIPD. Follow the complaints process detailed in our complaints policy. You’ll find this on our qualification policies page. Where we deem it appropriate to get involved, we will investigate the issue. We’ll liaise with you and your study centre to find a suitable solution

Qualification policies

Access the CIPD policies relating to qualifications including, appeals, complaints, credit transfer and exemptions, word count and more.

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