History of the Diploma

HISTORYThe gold standard of the rating valuation profession for over a century.

The Diploma dates back to 1919 when the Council of the Surveyors Institution, the then name for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, recorded in its annual report:

“On the suggestion of the Rating Surveyors Association it has been decided to establish a Special Diploma in Rating in addition to those already in existence and the Council hope that an increasing number of members will present themselves for Forestry, Sanitary Science, Rating and Land Surveying Examinations and these Diplomas may become more and more recognised as indicating a high standard of professional knowledge of the respective subjects. The Rating Surveyors Association have kindly offered a prize of Ten Guineas in this subject.”


A year later in 1920 came the first examination and of the 16 qualified surveyors who presented themselves, 9 were allowed to sit and only 3 passed!

Increasingly surveyors found it difficult to allocate the time for a whole week of examinations to say nothing of the week or more concentrated revision before the examination.  In November 2012 the RICS signed a protocol setting out the duties of the RICS and Diploma Section in relation to a new style of Rating Diploma.

Rather than being very much self-directed learning followed by traditional examinations the format has become a continuous learning process with regular written assignments testing knowledge and ability throughout the course rather than at the end.

Delivery of the course uses the open source ‘Moodle’ program for course materials, communication and submission of assignments and provides not just the feel, but the reality of a modern, dynamic, practical and academic course delivered at a high level.

The aim of the Diploma is, as it has always been, to enable individual surveyors to be recognised as having a high standard of professional rating knowledge.  Originally it was conceived very much as being for well-established practitioners to demonstrate their mastery but, whilst many recent candidates have been in their fifties and treated the opportunity very much as originally envisaged, increasingly the course is for the younger surveyor wishing to really ‘get into rating valuation.’   It is substantially an advanced learning course for men and women in rating who wish to advance their knowledge and expertise; are Chartered Surveyors; have an adequate length and weight of practical experience in rating; and not less than five years practical experience in valuing a wide range of property for rating purposes including three years post qualification experience.

As early as 1924 the holders of the Diploma formed themselves, as required, into a ‘Section’ of the RICS, in effect a committee of the RICS (‘Holders of Special Diplomas form Sections acting as committees for the purpose of advising the Council upon matters coming within their respective provinces.’) complete with chairman and secretary, a tradition that has carried on ever since.

Having added a Northern Ireland syllabus in the early 2000s and most recently a Republic of Ireland syllabus we cannot help but wonder whether there may be a need for an advanced rating course and the Diploma in other countries in the ‘Rating family.’

Candidates are sought each year with a closing date of 30th June.