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Here to Help: How to upgrade your membership

In response to the recent IBMS members’ survey, membership manager Sandra Shevlin answers your queries about how to upgrade.

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Our membership grades are designed to support you at every stage of your career, and to advance and develop your expertise in biomedical science.

Whether you are a student, a support staff worker, newly registered, or somebody heading towards the peak of the profession, your membership grade is built to provide you with the tools to succeed in the current phase of your career.

To fully benefit from our services, you are advised to upgrade whenever able. This ensures that you are using the correct postnominal letters in your professional correspondence – thus reflecting the full extent of your experience and knowledge – and that you have access to all the relevant qualifications and roles that come with your grade.

Upgrading is an easy process – complete the IBMS 2019 membership application form (available at and send it to with upgrade ticked and copies of your relevant qualifications attached (if not previously submitted).

Below is an outline of what you need in place before submitting for an upgrade:


Anyone studying a biomedical science related degree can join as an eStudent. Once you graduate and gain a UK honours degree, you are eligible to upgrade to Licentiate.


An Associate must be working in biomedical science and hold a qualification ranging from Level 2 (GCSE, City and Guild Level 2) to an ordinary (non-honours) degree UK NARIC-confirmed undergraduate qualification that is not equivalent to a UK Honours degree. In order to upgrade, an Associate must have completed a UK honours degree in a biomedical science related subject.


A Licentiate must hold a UK honours (or UK NARIC-assessed as honours equivalent) degree in a biomedical science related subject. In order to upgrade to Member, a Licentiate must have completed an IBMS Specialist Diploma or Diploma of Specialist Practice (or an equivalent level professional qualification, such as CPSM/IBMS discipline specific log book, STP, BBTS Specialist Certificate, BISHI Diploma).

Licentiates can also upgrade to Member if they have a biomedical science related M-level academic qualification (e.g. MSc, MPhil, MBA), or a UK NARIC-confirmed M-level, equivalent along with two years’ relevant professional experience.


To upgrade to Fellow, a Member must have one of the following:     

  • IBMS Higher Specialist Diploma, Diploma of Higher Specialist Practice,
  • IBMS Diploma in Expert Practice in Non-Gynaecological Cytology as well as an IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma in Non-Gynaecological Cytology     
  • IBMS Diploma in Expert Practice in Histological Dissection as well as an IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma in Specimen Dissection     
  • An equivalent level professional qualification (e.g. HSST, FHEA)     
  • A biomedical science-related D-level academic qualification (e.g. PhD), or UK NARIC confirmed equivalent, and five years’ professional experience in an area related to biomedical science.

In January 2018, we also introduced the Experiential Route to Fellowship. This route is for individuals who are working in an advanced scientific or senior managerial role (at least NHS band 7) in the field of biomedical science with at least six years’ post-registration experience. Admittance to the grade of Fellow via the Fellowship Experiential Route involves a more comprehensive application process. In order to find out more, please visit the “Join” section of, click “Fellow” on the sub-menu and then “Experiential Route to Fellowship”. This will give you access to the application and guidance notes.

For information on IBMS membership upgrades or the criteria for admittance into the various grades of membership, please do not hesitate to contact our membership team at

Image credit | iStock

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